Microsoft soon plans to discuss its “next-generation” of Windows, with the company expected to unveil the most significant overhaul to the operating system in over a decade on June 24. The next iteration, expected to sport “Windows 11” branding, will bring a system-wide visual refresh. Expected features include a reworked Start menu, new sounds, updated icons, and more ushering in a new identity for the platform.
Windows 11 stems from recent efforts to reinvigorate the OS, following a string of internal experiments to deviate from the widely popular Windows 10. Microsoft is yet to confirm its plans, but with extensive leaks in the leadup to the reveal, it’s only a matter of time.
Windows 11 is real and out in the wild
Windows 11 is expected to bring huge changes to the look and feel of the platform, tying back to our past reporting on a user experience overhaul internally codenamed Windows “Sun Valley.” The company plans to revise various core components of the Windows experience, including a fresh style for its Start menu, Taskbar, and overall identity. It also brings traits first demonstrated in Windows 10X, a new version of the OS that Microsoft announced in 2019, now on ice to focus efforts on the full version of Windows. It’s an exhaustive reimagining, better positioning the platform alongside competitors in the personal computing space.
Microsoft has been steadily establishing the groundwork for Windows 11, with both Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and CPO Panos Panay teasing the “next generation” to come. The company has since announced a June 24 event to discuss what’s next for Windows, posting cryptic teasers with references to a new iteration.
But Windows 11 has been prematurely confirmed, with an internal build of the next version of Windows recently surfacing online. The leak confirms new branding, coupled with a glimpse at planned changes and features ahead of the reveal.
How to download Windows 11
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But you don’t have long to wait — Microsoft is expected to announce the next version of Windows on June 24 at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT through a live-streamed event open to the public. We expect Microsoft to launch a pre-release version of Windows 11, designed for public testing, first to Windows Insiders. This will be the first official version of Windows 11, likely go live on the day, or shortly after the event. It is also not clear which PCs will get Windows 11 for early testing or if Microsoft will let any PC join.
Windows 11 is expected to release to the public this October, available as a free upgrade to all Windows 10 devices, similar to other past Windows updates. Those who wish to stick with Windows 10 will be able to do so, while a second branch of Windows 10 is likely to support enterprises unwilling to upgrade to the new version immediately. We also expected Windows 11 to be available for standalone purchase, as with all past versions of Microsoft operating systems.
We’ll update this guide with more steps on how to download Windows 11 once available for testing to Windows Insiders, likely to be detailed on June 24, 2021.