Microsoft announces Windows 11 release for the holidays, and beta builds releasing next week

Windows 11 announcement
(Image credit: Microsoft)

After a leaky couple of weeks, Microsoft has finally announced Windows 11 at pre-show media warm up for the 'What's Next for Windows' event. The new version of its Windows operating system is promising a huge overhaul of its UI, as well as a bunch of under-the-hood enhancements to make all our lives more worthwhile. That's what a good OS does, right?

Microsoft says that Windows 11 will be released by the holidays at the end of this year, but there will be beta access for Windows Insiders to various builds ahead of the final release starting next week.

Of course an early build of Windows 11 has already leaked, and that means many enthusiasts have already been sneakily getting to grips with the intricacies of the new OS via nefarious, unsanctioned means. But Frank Shaw of Microsoft has discounted "that incomplete build some people were playing with last week" as not the real deal for Windows 11. 

UI changes aside, one of the most interesting parts of Windows 11, especially for us nerdy PC gamers, is that its hardware scheduler is rumoured to have been tuned for Intel's new Alder Lake range of processors also launching this year. We're hoping that Windows 11 will be available—with the inevitable bugs ironed out—by the time Alder Lake gets released, or it could be a struggle for Intel's new chips.

What is the Windows 11 release date?

Microsoft has announced that Windows 11 is going to be available to download by the holidays this year, with beta builds starting to go out to Windows Insiders in the week commencing June 28, 2021.

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.