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Windows 11 release date, features and latest news

Windows 11 wallpaper superimposed with Windows 11 logo
(Image credit: ADeltaX/Microsoft)

Microsoft is set to unveil the next version of Windows on June 24, which could be called Windows 11. The software giant has stated in the past that Windows 10 would be "the last version" of the world's most ubiquitous operating system, but there's lots of hints that the company has changed its mind.

Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay posted a teaser for the event on Twitter that hints at the number 11 in the animation, and Microsoft recently posted an 11-minute video on YouTube that teases a new Windows 11 startup sound. 

It's also possible that Microsoft could dub the next Windows Sun Valley. The HTML meta description of the Windows application management website recently read “learn about managing applications in Windows 10 and Windows Sun Valley” before Microsoft removed that reference.

Regardless of the name, here's everything you need to know about could be coming with Windows 11. 

Windows 11 release date

Microsoft has not given an exact release date for Windows 11, but does have a livestream planned for June 24 at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT. To get a sense of when it might come out, let's take a look back at Windows 10.

Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 on September 30, 2014. It followed it up by an early technical preview that Microsoft enthusiasts could sign up for. But it wasn't until July 29, 2015 that Microsoft officially launched Windows 10 to the public. That was a good ten months after its official unveiling. 

If Windows 10 can be used as any measure, then Windows 11 would launch in April of next year. But we seriously doubt it will take Microsoft that long. The upcoming version of Windows is expected to be more of a robust refresh than a complete overhaul. That means the skeleton of Sun Valley is Windows 10. And with the structures already in place, then we expect this next version of Windows to land sometime this year. Maybe Microsoft will take a card from Apple and launch it 5-6 months after the unveiling.

Windows 11 features

Windows 11 leak

A leaked Windows 11 build reveals a streamlined interface that's more evolution than revolution (Image credit: The Verge)

Based on leaks, it seems that Windows 11 wont differ too much from Windows 10. It's still the same layout we've all grown accustomed to, but with a fresher coat of paint. A leaked image from last year, for example, suggests Microsoft may add a battery usage graph to the Windows Settings app to help laptop and tablet users stay on top of their charge.

A leaked Windows 11 build, while unfinished and of dubious origin, has given us even more insight into what to expect from the next version of Windows. There are lots of good reasons why you shouldn't install the leaked version of Windows 11 — it's a risk that's unnecessary, given we'll likely see the official release in a matter of weeks. 

Plus, we've already taken a look, and can tell you that if the leaked version is legit, we're looking at a future for Windows that includes a centered Start menu, a new Widgets menu right on the taskbar, and a subtle UI overhaul that will bring rounded corners and new icons to the venerable Windows design. As mild as these changes seem, they've already provoked a Windows 11 backlash among fans.

Windows 11 interface widgets

Windows 11 interface widgets, as seen in a leaked dev build (Image credit: The Verge)

In addition to the return of Widgets (a callback to Windows Vista)  we expect Windows to get subtle usability upgrades like improved window snapping. This is great news for users with ultrawide displays that could use more options when snapping different apps across their screen. 

It also seems that Windows 11 will try and meld some Windows 10X design — a now defunct version of Windows 10 meant to compete against Chrome OS — into Windows 11, including the centered Start Menu.

Windows 10X

This early preview of Windows 10X shows the same centered Start Menu and File Explorer UI we now see in leaked builds of Windows 11 (Image credit: Microsoft)

“Instead of bringing a product called Windows 10X to market in 2021 like we originally intended, we are leveraging learnings from our journey thus far and accelerating the integration of key foundational 10X technology into other parts of Windows and products at the company,” said John Cable, head of Windows servicing and delivery in a blog post.

Windows 10X included new app container technology, improved voice typing and a better touch keyboard. 

Windows 11 leak

Get ready for a more centered, well-rounded Windows (Image credit: Baidu)

As mentioned above, the latest leaks also point to a visual overhaul that will see the hard edges of UI elements like windows and the Start Menu made round. We may also see a new, more rounded UI for voice input, a well as a new "gesture layer" that will let you use gestures on the touchscreen just like you can on the touchpad.

Windows 11 price

We expect Microsoft to follow a similar pricing strategy with Windows 10. Back then, anyone who owned a PC with either Windows 7 or 8 would receive a free upgrade to Windows 10.  For PC builders, they would need to buy the operating system separately for $100. Although, it's now become relatively easy to buy keys from other key distribution websites at discounted prices. 

It seemed that Microsoft realized the power of Windows was ubiquity. Getting everyone to jump to the new OS was critical for how it conducted its larger business strategy. Essentially, the more people on Windows 10 — and not on 7 or 8 — the better. It's why we believe Microsoft will make the jump from Windows 10 to 11 as seamless as possible.

  • Elias Ohm
    The Windows 10X as 11 update for consumers is a hoax, they stick at windows 7 or 8 max...
    But for consumers this mitigating migration is still in progress and we came far, close to end them, so that each XiaOmi RedMi NotE 8, 9 and higher get Android 11 update with MIUI >12.0.X...
  • Zamroni
    I'll stay with windows 8.1 on my haswell laptop until January 2023.
    Windows 10 gimmick features don't worth speed and reliability of 8.1.
  • Colif
    if its not a free upgrade from win 10 to 11, i would want to know the advantages are over 10 before i paid for it.

    If MS are still calling it 10, maybe the press should as well? Or is a quiet press time and you wanted to create some buzz over nothing.

    this feels like another attempt to get something out of win 10 X.