Is Windows 11 a free upgrade?
Windows 11 will be available through a free upgrade for eligible Windows 10 PCs and, of course, new PCs later this year. Microsoft has stated that the company is working with retailers and OEMs to make sure the Windows 10 PCs that customers buy today are ready for upgrade to Windows 11.
The free upgrade will begin to roll out ‘"this holiday and continuing into 2022".
If you’re part of the Windows Insider Program however, next week, Microsoft will roll out an early build of Windows 11 to the community.
Is your Windows 10 PC eligible for Windows 11 upgrade?
To check if your current Windows 10 PC meets the requirements to run Windows 11 and is eligible for the free upgrade to Windows 11, you’d need to download and run the PC Health Check app. If all checks out, like for my Surface Pro X, you’ll get a free upgrade when it rolls out.
Download the PC Health Check app here.
Minimum System Requirements for Windows 11
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
- Graphics card: DirectX 12 compatible graphics / WDDM 2.x
- Display: >9” with HD Resolution (720p)
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Storage: 64 GB or larger storage device
- System firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
- TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
Note that Windows 11 will only be a 64-bit release and won’t come in a 32-bit flavor. That’s fair since 32-bit PCs are not sold anymore anyway and 64-bit editions can run 32-bit applications just fine. Of course, Windows 11 supports System on a Chip which means Windows 10 on ARM devices will get the upgrade as long as they meet other criteria. The above screenshot makes it clear that Surface Pro X running Windows 10 on ARM is eligible for the Windows 11 upgrade. More details about the feature-specific requirements here.
Microsoft has also shared that Windows 11 will require consumers to have an internet connection to set up Windows 11 Home for the first time, along with a Microsoft Account. Microsoft has preferred to push the same in Windows 10 as well, but it was not mandatory and one could skip the sign-in and set up and use the PC with a local account.