Windows 11 release date possibly revealed early by Intel

Windows 11 Start Menu - Full menu
(Image credit: Microsoft)

We know Windows 11 is coming, but Microsoft has been decidedly coy about confirming an exact release date. But it seems like an Intel leak might have narrowed that release window down.

Windows Latest (opens in new tab) uncovered some Intel drivers (opens in new tab) called “Windows 11 -64 - October 2021 Update - version 21H2”.  Which is rather more specific than the general “later in 2021” Microsoft has been telling everyone. 

The driver name has been uncovered in release notes for Intel’s latest GPU driver. While it doesn’t give us an exact date, the clear reference to Windows 11 in October 2021 suggests that could be the month Microsoft’s next OS starts rolling out.

It also helps that Microsoft has a habit of naming Windows updates based on when they arrive. 21H2 means that the update is planned for the second half of 2021, which we obviously already knew about, while ‘October’ is pretty self-explanatory.

There have already been some rumors that Windows 11 would arrive in October. Or October 20, if you want to be really specific, a date that Microsoft’s announcement presentation hinted at. Walmart’s website also mentioned a “free upgrade to Windows October 2021 on some of its laptop listings.

Of course, Windows 11’s release is likely to be in stages, and not everyone will be able to update to the software on day one. Microsoft has already confirmed (opens in new tab) that the operating system will be “delivered over several months”, and that the rollout of Windows 10 upgrades won’t begin until early 2022.

In other words, Windows 11 may be looking to release in October, but you will have to wait before you can get hold of it for yourself. Assuming you don’t buy a Windows 11 laptop with the OS already installed, that is.

Of course. if you’re too impatient to wait for the stable release to roll out to you, you can always install the Windows 11 beta. That’s available right now, assuming your PC has compatible hardware. If that appeals, be sure to check out our guide on how to install the Windows 11 Insider preview.

Tom Pritchard
Automotive Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.