Microsoft to release new Windows 11 operating system on October 5

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The rollout will represent the first major Windows update in six years

The last time Microsoft issued a major upgrade to its Windows operating system was six years ago. A lot has changed since then, and on October 5, the company will roll out a brand new Windows 11. The company says the new offering will be a "new Windows experience, bring you closer to the people and things you love."

If its preview video is any indication of what users can expect, Microsoft might be finally giving Apple a run for its money. On the surface, Windows 11 is very Apple-like -- sleek and modern. Internally, it has the ability to go toe-to-toe with Apple by giving users the ability to move applications across a range of devices and in the most contemporary of ways from touch to pen to voice.

Game on

Where Microsoft can possibly hurt Apple is in the growing and lucrative gaming segment. Leveraging Xbox, the company says that Windows 11 will take gaming to “a whole new level”  with the kind of graphic power that rivals reality. Microsoft hopes to tap into gamers with Xbox Game Pass, giving them access to 100+ games.

On an earnings call earlier this year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed that Xbox Live has more than 100 million people actively using Xbox every month. If Microsoft can convince a portion of those to buy a new Windows 11 machine, the estimated $8 billion Microsoft is expected to earn annually by 2025 should be a piece of cake.

What Windows users need to know

At the top of Windows users’ need-to-know list is the following: 

When: The free upgrade to Windows 11 starts on Oct. 5. The release will be phased in, meaning that new eligible devices will be offered the upgrade first. After that, the upgrade will then roll out over time to “in-market devices based on intelligence models that consider hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device and other factors that impact the upgrade experience.” In other words, newer devices will probably get the updates before older ones. 

Consumers who want to buy a new computer so they can get a jump on Windows 11 have several options. For one, they can buy a new computer that has Windows 10 and wait just a few weeks for the automatic Windows 11 update to come out. Alternatively, they can wait until October and purchase a device that comes preinstalled with Windows 11. 

The companies that Microsoft is partnering with on those OEM models include Dell, Acer, Samsung, Asus, and Lenovo, 

How will you find out: Microsoft will be sending out notices to its users, but consumers can also check to see if Windows 11 is ready for their device by going to the Windows Update tab in their settings and selecting "Check for Updates."

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