Technology

Microsoft’s big new Windows 11 update is out now — here’s how to get it


Windows 11

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Microsoft‘s big new Windows 11 update is now available as a free upgrade for computers that support it. I’ll show you how to check if it works with your PC, and how to download Windows 11 if your computer meets the requirements.

The release is a milestone for Microsoft, the world’s second most valuable public company, which derives 14% of revenue from Windows even as it becomes a leading cloud infrastructure provider. Microsoft has maintained a dominant position in the PC operating systems for decades but hadn’t released a new version since 2015 when Windows 10 first launched. Windows 11 might help Microsoft sustain revenue growth from computer makers like Dell, HP and Lenovo that license its software. 

Windows 11 boasts several enhancements. Microsoft redesigned the Start menu, placing the Start button in the center of the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, so people can save time trying to reach it. There are new touch gestures to control Windows and new buttons for easily arranging app windows. Eventually, Android apps will be available through Amazon’s Appstore. And Microsoft will come out with a single feature update each year instead of two.

How it’s rolling out

How to get Windows 11

Microsoft’s PC Health Check tool will tell you if your computer is supported.

First, make sure your computer meets Microsoft’s Windows 11 requirements using the PC Health Check app. While it’s possible to do the upgrade, it isn’t recommended you install Windows 11 if your computer isn’t supported right now. But, if you get the all-clear from the PC Health Check app, do this next:

  • Go to Microsoft’s Windows 11 website.
  • Click “Download Now” to get the Windows 11 Installation Assistant.
  • Open the file that was downloaded.
  • Tap “Accept and install” when you see the license agreement terms.

Your computer will begin downloading the files, and you’ll see a screen that looks like this:

The Windows 11 Installation Assistant will install Windows 11 for you, just wait and let it do its thing. The timing will vary on how fast your computer and internet connection are, but plan for an hour or more. You can still use your computer while Windows 11 installs in the background. Just keep an eye on the installer, which recommends you save your work frequently. Your computer will restart 30 minutes after it hits 100%.

When it’s done, you’ll see the new Windows 11 home screen. That’s it! You’ll find it’s pretty familiar, except the Start button is in the middle of the screen with the rest of your taskbar apps.

How to go back to Windows 10

You can go back to Windows 10 if you install Windows 11 and decide you don’t like it, but Microsoft will only let you revert during the first 10 days after you upgrade. Just do this:

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap System.
  • Choose Recovery.
  • Select Go Back.

What about the future of Windows 10?

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