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Enlarge / The “official” Windows 11 update with the user interface that normal users will see is now available in the Release Preview channel for Windows Insiders.

Andrew Cunningham

Yesterday, Microsoft released a near-definitive build of Windows 11 for Windows Insiders on the Release Preview channel, which (as the name suggests) is generally the last stop for a major new version of Windows before it is released to the general public. The official release date for Windows 11 is October 5th, but Microsoft plans to roll it out gradually over the next few months to avoid widespread problems.

The build number in the Release Preview channel is 22000.194, the same version that was released for the beta channel on September 16.

While beta and dev channel builds of Windows 11 are simply downloaded and installed like normal Windows updates, the version in the Release Preview channel will give you the same upgrade message that is offered to the public when Microsoft releases the Windows 11 -Upgrade for your offers pcs. This includes a system notification that users can click through to learn more about the new features of Windows 11, and a special update message in Windows Update that gives you the option to forego the Windows 11 upgrade and switch to Windows 10 to stay (see above).

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Windows 10 can run on pretty much any PC that could run Windows 7 or Windows 8, but Windows 11 comes with rigorous new processor and security hardware requirements that severely limit its compatibility. The most important one is the CPU requirement, which generally dictates an 8th generation Intel Core processor (introduced in late 2017) or newer or an AMD 2nd generation Ryzen processor (introduced in mid-2018) or newer. There are only a handful of exceptions for older processors, including Microsoft’s own Surface Studio desktop – Microsoft has the full list of Intel and AMD processors available on their documentation page.

If your PC can run it, Windows 11 will have an updated user interface salvaged from Microsoft’s failed “Windows 10X” project. The redesign reworks the taskbar, the start menu, the taskbar, the settings app and Windows Explorer as well as right-click menus and integrated apps throughout the operating system. It also adds some gaming features and improvements to the Windows subsystem for Linux, although some of them are ported back to Windows 10.

Collection image from Microsoft

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