Windows 11 is here. Sort of.
In a blog post published today, Microsoft says the roll-out of Windows 11 starts today as a “free upgrade on eligible Windows 10 PCs and on new PCs pre-installed with Windows 11.” But that doesn’t mean you’ll see an update notification land in Windows Update today. In fact, you may not see it for many, many months.
With Windows 11, Microsoft is taking a “phased approach,” which means the update will be a very slow roll-out. That’s different from companies like Apple, which releases software updates for everyone at once, but Microsoft mentions that this is to ensure the best possible experience for everyone.
The company is using various technologies to help to decide when to target Windows 11 for your PC. That includes hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of the device, and “other factors that impact the upgrade experience.”
So, when will your PC get the update? Well, Microsoft hasn’t provided much in the ways of details. We know that the update will be focused on coming to Surface devices and newer PCs first, but there’s no indication about how fast that will happen.
At the very latest, Microsoft has stated that it’s officially expecting all eligible PCs to receive the update by mid-2022. If you’re on an older (compatible) PC, that means you may be waiting for another six or so months.
The strategy of a slow roll-out isn’t new for Microsoft, though, following the pattern of how Windows 10 updates were available to PCs.
If you’re eager to try Windows 11, and Windows Update isn’t showing it, then you can always force the upgrade and enroll your PC to the Beta channel of the Windows Insider program to get it. But keep in mind that this comes with bugs and other issues and it isn’t being recommended by Microsoft.
Lastly, you can also update manually using the Installation Assistant and the Media Creation tool. This method doesn’t run a hardware check, so Microsoft stresses that you only update eligible PCs that meet the hardware requirements. Compatibility can be checked on your own using the PC Health Check app, which cross-checks your CPUS against Microsoft’s approved list and determine if your PC has a TPM 2.0 chip or supports secure boot.