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Windows 11: What you need to know about Microsoft’s release of its new operating system

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Windows 11: What you need to know about Microsoft’s release of its new operating system

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Microsoft has begun the Windows 11 rollout, a process that will continue into 2022 for owners of PCs, tablets and devices.

The free upgrade of its operating system will first become available to newer computers and devices, followed by those currently running Windows 10, the company has said. Microsoft expects all eligible devices will have access to the free Windows 11 upgrade by mid-2022.

To see if your Windows 10 PC is compatible with the update, download the PC Health Check App on the Windows site. You can also check to see if the upgrade is ready for your device (Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update) and select Check for Updates. If the upgrade is ready, you will get an option to download and install.

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Factors such as “hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device and other factors that impact the upgrade experience,” will affect when computers and devices get the upgrade, said Aaron Woodman, general manager for Windows Marketing, in an August 2021 post about the software rollout.

Windows 11, which was introduced in June, delivers a sleeker look compared to  previous versions. New features include support for Android apps, more detailed widgets, an update to layouts for snapping applications to the screen and a revamped Microsoft Store.

New and redesigned features – such as Narrator, Magnifier, Closed Captions and Windows Speech Recognition – are meant to increase accessibility for those with disabilities.

Several notebook and tablet makers such as Acer, Asus, Dell, Samsung and Lenovo have been expected to have new Windows 11-eligible devices for sale at the operating software’s launch.

Windows earned a 73% share of the global notebook PC market with 49.8 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2021, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. In comparison, Google Chrome had about 18%, and MacOS (8.4%.)

“Windows continues to be integral to how more than a billion people connect, learn, play and work,” said John Cable, vice president, program management, Windows Servicing and Delivery, in an online post Monday. The post also offers more information about the Windows 11 rollout and how to know when your device might get the update.

Good news for those who want to stick with Windows 10: Microsoft plans to support it through Oct. 14, 2025.

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Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

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Windows 11: What you need to know about Microsoft’s release of its new operating system