Microsoft took the wraps off Windows 11 earlier today, and the next version of the OS will ship on new PCs this holiday season and will also be offered as a free upgrade for Windows 10 users. If Microsoft also confirmed today that Windows 10 version 21H2 is coming later this year, the company also announced that Windows 11 will only get one major update every year (via ZDNet).
In recent years, Windows 10 users have gotten used to bi-annual updates in the Spring and the Fall, but Microsoft will do things differently for Windows 11 and that’s probably not a bad thing. Each major update for the Home and Pro editions of Windows 11 will get 24 months of support, while the Enterprise and Education editions of the OS will get 36 months of support.
Microsoft will also service Windows 11 with regular cumulative updates, and the company highlighted today that it has optimized Windows Update on Windows 11 to make patches 40% smaller and make the installation happen in the background. Users have been complaining for years about Windows updates messing with their workflow, but it remains to be seen if Windows 11 updates will be less disruptive.
Windows 11 will have some pretty strict hardware requirements and Windows 10 PCs that don’t have a 64-bit CPU, a TPM 2.0 chip, and a DirectX 12 GPU won’t be able to upgrade. These PCs will need to stay on Windows 10, which will be supported until 2025. We don’t have details about the version 21H2 of Windows 10 coming later this year, but it will likely be another minor update as Microsoft starts to give Windows 11 the priority.