Microsoft to kick off Windows 11 launch on October 5

Windows 11 will start rolling out to mainstream users on October 5, but minus the expected ability to obtain Android apps from the Store.

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Credit: ZDNet

Microsoft will kick-start its Windows 11 rollout to mainstream users on October 5. On that day, Windows 11 will begin rolling out to eligible Windows 10 PCs and be for sale on a handful of PCs that will come preloaded with Windows 11; officials said today, August 31.

There will be one feature that Microsoft originally touted as part of the Windows 11 experience that won't be available at launch: The ability to get Android apps via the Microsoft Store. Microsoft officials said today that they would have a preview of this capability ready for preview by Windows Insiders "over the coming months." Microsoft is working with Amazon and Intel on this and has been developing an Android subsystem for Windows to make it happen.

Microsoft officials are planning a phased rollout of Windows 11 between October 5 and mid-2022. Microsoft will make the operating system available to new devices first. The company plans to use "intelligence models that consider hardware eligibility, reliability, metrics, age of the device and other factors" to roll it out to additional in-market PCs.

Microsoft plans to use Windows Update to notify Windows 10 users when their devices are eligible to move to Windows 11. Users also will be able to "seek" manually the upgrade for eligible devices by going to Settings > Windows Update > Check for Updates.

As Microsoft officials said last week, the company is testing a revamped PC Health Check app and will make it available to all users soon so they can check to see if their PCs meet Microsoft's requirements for the upgrade. Users with PCs deemed by Microsoft to be ineligible will have an option to upgrade their own PCs, with the understanding they will be in an officially "unsupported state." This means, confusingly, that they may or may not get security and driver updates, according to Microsoft.

Individuals or businesses who aren't ready or interested in going to Windows 11 will be able to stay on Windows 10, which Microsoft will continue to support through October 14, 2025. (There's a new Windows 10 release coming this fall, as well, which will be a very minor update known as Windows 10 21H2. Microsoft officials haven't said whether there will be a Windows 10 22H1, H2, etc.)

I've asked if there will be a blocking tool, as usual, for users who don't want Windows 11 "offered" to them and their user base. Maybe one won't be needed. The company told me: "Microsoft is putting that choice in the hands of its customers. When a customer with an eligible Windows 10 device is notified through Window Update, they can decide if they want to upgrade to Windows 11 or stay on Windows 10."

As to why Microsoft is going with October 5 as its Windows 11 release date, my guess is it's hoping to give PC makers hoping for new Windows 11 PC purchases, a Columbus Holiday sale boost and a long runway into the holiday 2021 season. Microsoft's blog post lists a bunch of PCs that they're touting as Windows 11-ready. None of these are unannounced devices; they're all in the market already.