It’s Windows 11 day! Probably. Microsoft is holding a special event today, but is being all cagey about what it has planned for the next iteration of its Windows operating system. If it wasn’t for the fact a build of Windows 11 has already leaked, we’d be wondering what this event could be about. But now we know, and some of us have even spent some time with it—spoilers: it’s Windows 10 but with a new skin.
Unlike more recent events like this, it doesn’t appear to be streaming on Twitch or YouTube—at least not so far—I’m sure we’ll miss the insightful chatter if it isn’t. It’s probably so Microsoft can drop a bunch of cookies and see how many people are still using Internet Explorer.
To see what’s going on you’re going to want to point your browser at the official site—where you can set yourself a reminder too.
We’re hoping a lot of the key questions will be answered by this event:
The two bits of information everyone definitely wants to know about Windows 11 are when it’s coming, and whether we’ll have to pay for it. Windows 10’s “Sun Valley” update—likely the codename for this big Windows 11 release—is expected around October. If Microsoft does put a specific date on this release, expect it to be in the fall.
When will Windows 11 be released?
Will Windows 11 be a free upgrade to existing users?
Will it actually be called Windows 11? If so, that’s very boring.
Can Microsoft do anything to the Windows Store to make it matter?
Is it just Windows 10 with a new UI?
And most important of all, is there anything new here for gamers?
One of the most striking bits of the leaked Windows 11 screenshots is that new centered start menu. Weird! I guess it’s more like the Mac OS dock, and maybe we’ll get used to it in short order. I’m guessing longtime Windows users will hate it at first, but if you’re one of those folks you don’t have to panic: leaks have also shown you’ll be able to move it back to the left side of the taskbar.
Microsoft has focused on making the Xbox app a better gaming destination than the Microsoft Store, and it’s starting to spin up its cloud streaming service for PCs, too. This likely won’t be a focus for the event, but we may see a new version of the Xbox app or at least see how Windows 11 continues to build on the gaming features Microsoft has worked on in the last few years. The current developer builds of Windows 10 support Auto HDR, for example, a feature brought over from the Xbox. That might earn a little stage time.
We’ll be following the event on Thursday and covering all the news about Windows 11: UI changes, any new gaming features, and when you’ll actually get to use it.
- How to view the Windows 11 announcement today
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