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Microsoft: Windows 11 Arrives Oct. 5 As A Free Upgrade

Along with the upgrade for eligible PCs, Windows 11 will also debut on new devices starting that day, Microsoft said.

Microsoft announced Tuesday that upgrades to Windows 11 for eligible PCs will begin to become available Oct. 5, ahead of the timeframe that the company had previously given for the operating system.

On that day, Windows 11 will be available as a free upgrade for eligible Windows 10 PCs, Microsoft said. The eligibility criteria includes meeting several hardware requirements, including having a TPM 2.0 security chip and a processor from Intel’s eighth-generation and newer (with just a few exceptions), or AMD’s Zen 2 series and up.

[Related: Microsoft’s 5 Biggest Windows 11 Updates]

The hardware requirements are expected to limit Windows 11 to PCs released in just the past few years, making a significant number of PCs unable to install the new operating system.

On Oct. 5, PC makers will also begin offering new Windows 11 PCs for sale, Microsoft said.

For Windows 11 upgrades, Microsoft said in a blog post that the upgrades “will be phased and measured with a focus on quality.”

“Following the tremendous learnings from Windows 10, we want to make sure we’re providing you with the best possible experience. That means new eligible devices will be offered the upgrade first,” Microsoft said in the post.

From there, Windows 11 upgrades will “roll out over time to in-market devices based on intelligence models that consider hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device and other factors that impact the upgrade experience,” the company said.

Microsoft anticipates that “all eligible devices” will be provided with the chance to get the free Windows 11 upgrade by mid-2022.

Microsoft had initially said that Windows 11 would be generally available during the 2021 holiday season, then later said that the upgrade to Windows 11 wouldn’t be offered until 2022.

In its post, Microsoft pointed to PCs from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP Inc., Lenovo and Samsung that will be available with Windows 11—as well as Microsoft’s own Surface Laptop 4.

In a recent interview with CRN, Lenovo North America President Vlad Rozanovich said that the CPU compatibility requirements for Windows 11 appear to reflect security protections included in newer CPUs against side-channel vulnerabilities such as Spectre and Meltdown. “Those are things that the CPU guys have gotten their arms around” in the recent generations of processors, Rozanovich said.

Solution providers previously told CRN that Windows 11 is poised to improve hybrid work productivity and security while also fixing one of the major headaches for businesses associated with Windows 10. Windows 11 will only see one major feature update per year, in contrast to the twice-a-year feature updates for Windows 10.

Major updates in Windows 11 will include a direct integration of the Teams collaboration app into the operating system, stronger security requirements—including the requirement for TPM 2.0—and enhancements for hybrid work including snap layouts for easier organization of windows.

Microsoft has said that Windows 10 will be supported until Oct. 14, 2025.

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