When will Windows 11 ship? Here’s what we know


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Microsoft has announced Windows 11, stating that its next operating system will ship sometime this holiday season. Assuming that’s true, when will Windows 11 begin shipping to users? Microsoft may have left clues that it’s happening this October.

Editor’s Note: Microsoft has confirmed that the Windows 11 launch date will be October 5. Our original story has been left intact.

We already know that Microsoft will ship Windows 11 in beta form for Windows Insiders, because we’ve already gone hands-on with the official Windows 11 build from Microsoft

But as Microsoft is sometimes wont to do, it may have left the answer to “when will Windows 11 ship?” right in front of our faces. Credit to The Verge on this one: Microsoft’s event featured an example message via Teams talking about “turning it up to 11” in October. But the real hint may have been in the screenshots that Microsoft posted as examples of Windows 11: Most, if not all, included dates in the corner that recorded the time as 11:11 AM on October 20, 2021.

Microsoft windows 11 oct. 20 launch date maybe Mark Hachman / IDG

Look close, and Microsoft may have been teasing the Windows 11 release date.

You can see the same date if you look closely at two screenshots that Microsoft released: 

windows 11 start dark oct. 20 tease Microsoft

Look down at the lower right.

windows 11 snap oct. 20 2021 tease Microsoft

A second screenshot also includes that same date and time.

Microsoft, of course, isn’t saying anything about the official Windows 11 release date, other than it’s due by holiday 2021.

History tells us that Windows 11 will ship in the fall

History tells us a little about Microsoft’s Windows timeline. Microsoft typically releases new feature updates to Windows 10 in the fall or spring. While Microsoft originally intended the fall updates to be released in September, they usually end up in October instead. (Microsoft released the Windows 10 October 2020 Update (20H2) on October 20, 2020, and the Windows 10 November 2019 Update (19H2) on November 12, 2019. Microsoft first launched Windows 10 on July 29, 2015.)

Microsoft typically tests builds for about six to nine months before they’re released to an Insider channel. Insider builds that are shipped in the six-month runup to a feature release usually appear in the Beta Channel; anything earlier usually lands inside the Dev Channel.

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