Microsoft reveals Windows 11 release date – but not every PC can run it

Undated image issued by Microsoft of the new Windows 11 logo. Microsoft has officially unveiled the next version of Windows, hailing its new, simpler design as helping bring users
Windows 11 will be made available on October 5 as a free download for existing Windows users (Credits: PA)

Microsoft has announced the date it will begin rolling out the latest version of its Windows operating system.

Windows 11 will become available on October 5 as a free download to existing Windows users.

However, not all of the features of the new OS will be immediately available and not every machine will be capable of running the upgrade.

One of the most anticipated features is the ability to run Android smartphone apps, but Microsoft says that won’t be ready on October 5.

‘We look forward to continuing our journey to bring Android apps to Windows 11 and the Microsoft Store through our collaboration with Amazon and Intel; this will start with a preview for Windows Insiders over the coming months,’ the company said in a blog post.

Windows 11 has been given a complete redesign compared to previous generations with new app icons, more translucent windows and a simpler Start menu – now moved to the centre of the screen.

However, Microsoft has also revealed that spec requirements for the new OS and not all computers will be able to upgrade.

Here’s how to check if your computer is up to the task.

New specifications

Undated image issued by Microsoft of the new Windows 11 widgets screen. Microsoft has officially unveiled the next version of Windows, hailing its new, simpler design as helping bring users
The next version of Windows will be offered as a free upgrade to Windows 10 users (Credits: PA)

The recommended minimum requirements for the new operating system are as follows:

A one gigahertz or faster processor with two or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC).

You can find a full list of supported processors — which basically function as your computer’s brain — by scrolling down to ‘Windows 11’ on this Microsoft webpage.

Four gigabytes of RAM (random access memory). RAM chips affect your computer’s speed.

A storage space (usually your computer’s hard drive) with 64 GB or more available space

Secure Bootcapable UEFI system firmware and a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0.

You may not be familiar with either of these, but they help improve your devices security. It’s quite likely your device has a TPM if it was made in the last few years, according to Microsoft Director of Security David Weston.

Your device’s graphics card needs to be compatible with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver.

It also needs a high-definition (720p) display that’s at least 9 inches diagonally accross, and has 8 bits per colour channel.

Other specific requirements are needed to run certain extra features, like a camera and microphone for Microsoft Teams.

How to check your computer’s specifications

If that’s all gobbledegook to you, don’t worry. If you’re on Windows 10 already, you can use Microsoft’s PC Health Check App to check if your device is up to scratch.

You can download the app for free here.

However, the app is currently experiencing technical issues and incorrectly telling some users their devices are incompatible.

But Microsoft says going to improve the app, according to tech publication Windows Latest.

So, if the app tells you your device can’t run Windows 11, it might be worth waiting a couple of weeks and trying again.

In reality, most modern PCs and other devices should be able to run the system.

If you’re using an older version of Windows, you can find information about your computer’s processor, RAM and system type — whether it’s 64-bit or not — by loading the ‘System’ section of the Control Panel.

Simply press the ‘pause break’ and Windows keys (the one with the Windows logo on it) at the same time to bring up this menu on XP, Vista, 7, 8 or 10.

You can check how big your computer’s hard drive is in the File Explorer menu in Windows 10 and 8. From there, you can click on the logo for your hard drive (often called OS (C:) by default) to find out how much space is available.

A Windows 7 logo appears on a Hewlett-Packard laptop on display at a Staples store in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009. Microsoft Corp. will begin selling the Windows 7 operating system today, an effort to reverse three quarters of declining Windows sales and fend off Apple Inc.'s gains in personal computers. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
Some older computers may not be able to run the new operating system (Credits: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

You can find the same information by double-clicking the the ‘Computer’ or ‘My Computer’ icon in Windows 7, Vista or XP.

Once loaded, your hard drive will be listed under ‘Devices and Drives’.

From there, follow these steps:

  • Right-click on the hard drive icon and press ‘Properties’ to bring up information about its total and available storage.
  • If your drive is big enough, but doesn’t have enough space, consider deleting some unnecessary files or defragmenting your hard drive.
  • You can find out more about your graphics card in Windows 8 by loading the ‘Device Manager’, then clicking on ‘Display adaptors’. This will show a drop-down list of your PC’s graphics cards.
  • Right-click on a card, select ‘Properties’, then press the ‘Details’ tab for more information about that specific card.

In older versions of Windows, you can find this information by right-clicking on the ‘Computer’ or ‘My Computer’ icon, then selecting properties. From there, you can bring up the ‘Device Manager’ menu.

And finally, there’s a lot of talk that the blue screen of death will become black for Windows 11.

MORE : Microsoft’s infamous ‘blue screen of death’ going black for Windows 11

MORE : Xbox Game Pass is now part of Windows 11 – ‘best Windows ever for gaming’

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