Windows 11 Launches On October 5th Amidst Turmoil
Microsoft's operating system to be offered to eligible PCs as an upgrade or pre-installed on new ones, questions remain
And so, despite all the confusion and controversy regarding Windows 11 during the last three days, the countdown now begins: Microsoft announced that its new operating system for PCs will be available to consumers on Tuesday, October 5th. The rollout will include new PCs with Windows 11 pre-installed as well as the upgrade files through Windows Update for existing PCs, provided that those meet Microsoft’s system requirements.
According to the company, “the free upgrade to Windows 11 will be phased and measured with a focus on quality. New eligible devices will be offered the upgrade first and then it 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”. Microsoft expects all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11 by mid-2022. Consumers using PCs that meet these system requirements can request the free upgrade manually via Settings > Windows Update > Check for Updates at any point. The company will be making its revamped PC Health Check app available to consumers not sure whether their PC is eligible for the Windows 11 upgrade or not in September.
As expected, Microsoft really, really wants people to buy new PCs for Windows 11, so in the same announcement the company namedropped the following devices as examples of computers getting its new operating system on launch day: Acer Swift 5, Acer Swift X, Asus Zenbook Flip 13 OLED, Asus Zenbook 14, Alienware X15, Alienware X17, Dell XPS 13, HP Spectre x360 14, HP Envy x360 15, Lenovo Yoga 7, Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro, Samsung Galaxy Book Pro, Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360, as well as Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 4. They are all laptops or hybrid laptops/tablets, but desktop PC builders will surely have systems ready for launch day too.
Almost all of the new features that Windows 11 offers will be ready on October 5th, including the rebuilt Microsoft Store for apps, the refreshed user interface and the advanced gaming-focused functions such as DirectX 12 Ultimate, Direct Storage and AutoHDR. There’s one notable feature that will not be available at launch: the ability to run Android apps on the desktop via the Amazon Appstore for Windows 11. A preview of this feature will be offered to Windows Insiders “over the coming months”.
Consumers not ready or interested in migrating to Windows 11 are able to stay on Windows 10, which Microsoft will continue to support with security updates through October 14, 2025 (there’s even a new feature update for it coming by the end of the year).
Windows 11 has had a pretty rough ride since its unveiling on June 24th. There’s been a lot of negative feedback regarding the operating system’s hardware requirements — which render most PCs older than four years ineligible for upgrading from Windows 10 — from the get-go. The Americans failed to answer the inevitable questions in a satisfactory manner, confused everyone when they noted that owners of upgraded Windows 10 PCs only have a 10-day window to decide whether they like Windows 11 or would like to roll back to the previous OS, while openly threatened consumers who upgrade from Windows 10 “on unsupported hardware” (i.e. PCs not based on CPUs included in its “whitelist”) that they may not provide system and security updates to their PCs at all.
For an operating system that does not offer all that much in terms of actual new functionality, Windows 11 seems to be not exactly accommodating. Only fair to ask nothing less than perfection of it, then, or it will rightly be branded as a failure. Whether Microsoft makes good on its threat of not providing Windows 11 updates to PCs it allows to upgrade from Windows 10 or not is anybody’s guess at this point. Whether the company already botched the launch of a decent upgrade to the most widely used operating system in the world right now is not in question. It definitely did. What this means in the long term we’ll just have to wait and see.