Windows 11 launches on October 5

Windows 11 displayed on a laptop, with a multi-coloured background
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has announced the official Windows 11 release date, with October 5 being the fateful Tuesday in question. The announcement was delivered via the Windows Blog today, stating that this is when the free upgrade to Windows 11 will begin rolling out to eligible Windows 10 PCs.

It's not going to be an instant thing, however, as Microsoft's phased rollout means that it is only expecting "all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11 by mid-2022."

This October 5 date is also when new PCs will start being sold which come pre-loaded with Microsoft's brand new OS. Calling this "the first version of a new ear of Windows" the company has also detailed 11 highlights for the new operating system.

The main point for us PC gamers is Microsoft's assertion that "Windows 11 delivers the best Windows ever for gaming." It might be a rather hyperbolic statement given that there are only really three things Windows 11 brings for gamers on top of Window 10: AutoHDR, DirectStorage, and heavy integration of Games Pass.

Outside of that you're looking at a new user interface design overhaul, which I've got to admit, having used the preview release of Win11 for the last few months, still makes me think it's looking more and more like a Linux distro that's trying to look like a Windows OS.

I don't know, but it feels mildly jarring, though not altogether an unpleasant change.

There is one other important thing for us PC gamers, which Microsoft doesn't actually make any reference to in its latest post, and that's the fact that Windows 11 is the operating system that promises to make the most of Intel's hybrid Alder Lake generation of CPUs launching later this year.

Presumably now that will be after October 5.

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The scheduling of work across the threads of Alder Lake's hybrid big and little cores is going to be key to how this new generation of processors performs compared to the mighty multi-tasking AMD Ryzen CPUs. And the heavy optimisation work has apparently been carried out with Windows 11 in mind, which means we might not get the same speed out of the 12th Gen Intel chips on Windows 10 as we will on the newer OS.

But we'll know all about Windows 11's standard performance on October 5, when we can start locking and loading the operating system on our rigs. If they're compatible, that is...

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.