Windows 11 is Generally Available

Posted on October 4, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 11 with 21 Comments

After just three months of testing, Microsoft has declared Windows 11 fit for public consumption on new PCs and on a select group of Windows 10 PCs that are ready for the upgrade.

“Our launch approach to Windows 11 leverages the well-established systems and processes used for the 1.3 billion Windows 10 devices we have shipped and serviced for over five years,” Microsoft’s John Cable explains. “We will use a measured and phased process in offering Windows 11 as we have done with Windows 10 feature updates. Our objective is to provide you with a smooth upgrade experience.”

In addition to the handful of new Windows 11-based PCs that are now being sold to consumers at retail, Microsoft will also offer Windows 11 as an upgrade on eligible newer PCs running Windows 10. Then, as in the past, it will evaluate the reliability of the upgrade and increase the number of PCs that can receive it. “Device health data and other signals” will determine the pace at which Windows 11 is offered as an upgrade, Cable says.

Today also marks the start of Windows 11’s new two-year support lifecycle for the Home and Pro editions of the product.

Note: Wondering why this is happening today and not October 5 as expected? Because it is October 5 now, in New Zealand. So that’s the kickoff. We’ll get it here in the U.S. tomorrow (October 5).

Join the discussion!

BECOME A THURROTT MEMBER:

Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Register
Comments (21)

21 responses to “Windows 11 is Generally Available”

  1. bluvg

    "Wondering why this is happening today and not October 5 as expected?"


    So their bad news can be lost among Facebook's bad news? 😅

  2. geoff

    It's 11 am October 5 here in Australia. I read this story and decided to go 'seeking'.

    Nope. I'm not seeing it yet.


    11th Gen Intel processor in a new laptop that meets all the hardware requirements, running Windows 10 21H1.

    I'm not an insider (anymore), so maybe that's a factor?

    • wpcoe

      I was able to download win11_English_x64.iso using the HeiDocnet Windows ISO Downloader.

      • wpcoe

        ... make that HeiDoc.net Windows ISO Downloader

        • geoff

          I went to the official Microsoft Windows 11 Download page.

          From there, there are three choices:

          1. Windows 11 Installation Assistant.
          2. Create Windows 11 Installation Media.
          3. Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO)


          I chose option 1 (use the Windows 11 Installation Assistant).

          I ran the assistant. It said it would take a while, so I went and had lunch. It was waiting for me to log in when I got back. It upgraded my Windows 10 PC, all of my apps and data and settings (like WiFi network connection, email config, etc.) are still there, and still run. No problems or surprises at all, so far.


          What I don't know now, of course, is "would it have appeared in Windows Update?". That's what this article from Paul is about, and that's the screenshot at the top of this story.

          I guess I'll never know.

  3. mikiem

    A quick heads-up, Win11 setup will attempt to enable secure boot if it's not already turned on. The insider builds, at least in the beta channel, stuck to the qualifications that the system be Secure Boot Capable, and worked fine if CSM was enabled in the BIOS. Using the official ISO to upgrade a copy of Win10 20H1, it locked during the restart, with the BIOS resetting after a full power off, & setup then rolling back the install to Win10. I will say that the rollback was cleaner than anything I've experienced with Win10. Turning off CSM in the BIOS so secure boot was enabled, then repeating the upgrade worked fine.

    • waethorn

      CSM *IS* a BIOS, or rather, an emulated one. UEFI is the new firmware interface, although some companies still call it a "BIOS" even though that's the old terminology. When you have a "native 64-bit UEFI", which is what all Windows 8+ PC's will have, you have the option of enabling a CSM for older operating systems that don't support UEFI firmware and/or booting off of GPT-partitioned disks. Secure Boot requires that the firmware have legacy compatibility-mode options turned off (for, um, security or something...I'll let the firmware techs explain that one) and that means the CSM has to be disabled. Windows 11 requires Secure Boot, so the CSM has to be disabled.


      Someone with a Surface Pro X or other WoA device please answer this: do the ARM systems have firmware options that indicate that there is a CSM that can be toggled on or off? AFAIK, ARM systems are so varied when it comes to firmware interfaces, that any systems shipping with Windows are stripped down so much that they have no CSM at all. As such, I've read that Secure Boot is enabled on those devices and can't be disabled, per Microsoft's instructions for OEM certification. This is why WoA is such a locked-down environment that will never see adoption like x86's-relative openness and standardization. If you want to see mass adoption of ARM on PC's, look at the Apple ecosystem instead. Torvalds doesn't like ARM either. And this is why Android is such a big mess.

  4. acassels

    Any news on whether the Surface devices are in the first wave to receive the update? I'm currently not seeing the update on a Surface Laptop, located in the UK.

    • JerryH

      Not mine. I'm on a Surface Laptop 4 purchased a few months ago. It just says:


      Great news—your PC meets the minimum system requirements for Windows 11. Specific timing for when it will be offered can vary as we get it ready for you.


      Apparently they are still getting it ready for me.

  5. navarac

    For what it is worth, especially with W11: As always make an image of your W10 before rushing to put 11 on it.

  6. waethorn

    Just FYI: I tried to activate this with a Windows 7 Pro product key. I have a genuine retail copy of Windows 7 Pro with DVD and the product key sticker still attached to the jewel case, and using their own ISO of Windows 11, it won't activate with that key. It worked with an OEM COA key that I kept from an old computer though. The install is in Parallels Desktop. It seems to run the CPU a lot more than Windows 10 because the heat and fan from this 2020 MacBook Air is much worse than with the previous version VM that I had. It's a clean install with Parallels Tools (VM additions) added to it, just like the Win10 VM I used.


    I really hate that the Start Menu doesn't have a GUI option in Settings to default to the All Apps view when you don't want to use pinned apps. This is something I always did with Windows 10 - remove all pinned tiles to just have an app list. When you run in Coherence Mode in Parallels, it's just more efficient. I found a command that provides a workaround though:


    reg.exe add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\StartPage" /f /v "MakeAllAppsDefault" /t REG_DWORD /d 1


    Note: this is only for the current user.

    • waethorn

      Edit (where's the edit button??): The above command won't work. It might've worked in a previous build but it ain't working for me. If you know of a similar command to default to All Apps, let me know.

  7. cnc123

    Still a no on this. They need to put stuff back in (hi, Taskbar) that they ripped out for no reason, and only two of the five PCs we own are supported, and the others are apparently trash. No thanks, Microsoft.

    • StevenLayton

      They're only 'trash' on October 14th, 2025 when Windows 10 is no longer support. But if you're on this site then you're probably geeky enough to then put linux on them on extend their lifespan further until they fail, and go to silicon heaven.

  8. wpcoe

    Win11_English_x64.iso is now available on HeiDoc.net Windows ISO Downloader. It's might tempting...

  9. behindmyscreen

    Nothing showing up for me yet.

  10. hrlngrv

    What a wonderful image of, for me, the much better designed Windows 10 Settings app.


    The good news is that I don't use Settings often. When I do use Settings, I tend to move from one subsection to another within the same top-level sections. The Windows 10 screen above shows all the subsections within Update & Security on the left side. Windows 11 shows the top-level sections on the left, which for me means more mouse clicks when I do use Settings.

  11. Maverick010

    Actually that was my thought too Paul, but I thought somewhere, possibly in one of their blogs, they mentioned Oct. 4th as the rollout for everyone now. Ah oh well. I am already on Windows 11 and loving it. I cannot wait for the first major RTM update to come.

  12. ikjadoon

    For whatever reason, I'm expecting a super-slow roll-out.


    As in that initial list (e.g., the HP Spectre x360 14) will be offered the Windows Update without seeking, but that's it. It's Media Creation Tool for the rest of us.

  13. straker135

    I am in New Zealand so got offered information about Windows 11 on my one eligible machine that I hadn't already manually updated via the Insider Program or iso download from that program. Thye information is that that PC is eligible and when Microsoft is ready, they will offer Windows 11. No automatic, day 1 update, thank goodness. I will be very interested to see how long it will take Microsoft to be ready...

Leave a Reply