FDA panel recommends J&J COVID booster for 18 and up Xbox Series X mini fridge US to lift travel restrictions for vaccinated international visitors NASA's Lucy mission: How to watch Apple Octoer event: How to watch PS5 Pro
CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Microsoft launched Windows 11. Now what? Essential info about the new OS

What's in Windows 11? Who has access to the new OS today? Here's everything we know.

windows-11-1

Windows 11 brings a new look and new features to Microsoft's operating system.

Microsoft

Windows 11 launched this month, and Microsoft delivered some big changes to the storied operating system, including its first name change in six years. The Windows 11 update began rolling out on Oct. 5, though it will be released in a phased approach on eligible devices. (Here's how to see whether your PC is compatible first and how to download it early if you don't want to wait.)

Now playing: Watch this: Windows 11: Top new features in 2021
3:22

Read more: Windows 11 review: Familiar but fresh

Windows 11 comes with a truckload of new features, such as the ability to download and run Android apps on your Windows PC and updates to Microsoft Teams, the Start menu and the overall look of the software, which is more clean and Mac-like in design. (Check out all of our favorite new Windows 11 features and how to use them.) But keep in mind that not all of the features are available today. 

Here's everything about Windows 11, including price, compatibility, release date, how to download it and new features.

7 new features included in Windows 11

Here are a few of the standout new features in Windows 11:

microsoft-windows-11-announcements-june-24-2021-cnet-017.png

Microsoft Teams will get integrated directly into the Windows 11 Taskbar, which is now centered in the display. 

Microsoft

When will you get Windows 11?

Windows 11 is now available now and will continue rolling out through mid-2022. The newer your device is, the sooner you're likely to have access to the update. The older your PC is, the longer you'll probably have to wait.

Now playing: Watch this: 7 ways to take screenshots in Windows 11
3:54

Will your computer be compatible with Windows 11? 

There are a few different ways to check if your Windows 10 PC is eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 11. 

Now playing: Watch this: Windows 11: Will your computer be able to run it? What...
3:43

You can download Microsoft's PC Health Check app to see if your device is compatible, and if not, some details as to why. You can use another open-source app called WhyNotWin11 to see if your device is compatible. Plus, here's how to check some hardware compatibility with Windows 11 without either tool.

Or go to Microsoft's website for a list of requirements. If you bought a new PC between now and the general release, that computer will also be eligible for the free upgrade.

Can I still download Windows 11 even if my computer isn't compatible? 

Potentially. Even if your Windows 10 computer lacks some of the requirements for upgrading to Windows 11, you may still be able to manually download an unsupported version of the OS. The process would be similar to how many people could manually download Windows 10 free of charge. However, this version likely won't be eligible for updates from Microsoft. 

windows-laptop-how-to-tech-tip-cnet-2021-windows-laptop-thinkpad-ovr-product-shot

New PCs will be eligible for an upgrade to Windows 11.

Sarah Tew/CNET

How do you upgrade to Windows 11?

Once Windows 11 becomes generally available, you'll download it the same way you would any new version of Windows. Most users will go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click Check for Updates

If available, you'll see Feature update to Windows 11. Click Download and install. Remember that Microsoft is rolling out the operating system gradually, so don't panic if you don't see the option on Day 1.

Here's more information on how to download Windows 11. If you haven't yet upgraded to Windows 10, you may still be able to download Windows 10 free, too -- here's how.

Is Windows 11 free to download?

If you're already a Windows 10 user, Windows 11 will appear as a free upgrade for your machine

For more, check out every feature we wanted in Windows 11 but didn't get, everything to know about the Windows 10 May 2021 update, the best Windows 10 hidden features we've found and six simple security changes all Windows 10 users need to make.

Now playing: Watch this: Microsoft's Windows 11 event: Every single feature they...
10:17