Windows 11 overview

Applies to

  • Windows 11

This article provides an introduction to Windows 11, and answers some frequently asked questions.

Also see the following articles to learn more about Windows 11:

Introduction

Windows 11 is the next evolution of Windows; it is the most significant update to the Windows operating system since Windows 10. It offers many innovations focused on enhancing end-user productivity in a fresh experience that is flexible and fluid. Windows 11 is designed to support today's hybrid work environment, and intended to be the most reliable, secure, connected, and performant Windows operating system ever.

Windows 11 is built on the same foundation as Windows 10, so the investments you have made in tools for update and device management are carried forward. Windows 11 also sustains the application compatibility promise made with Windows 10, supplemented by programs like App Assure. For Microsoft 365 customers seeking further assistance, FastTrack will continue to be available to support your efforts to adopt Windows 11.

How to get Windows 11

Windows 11 will be delivered as an upgrade to eligible devices running Windows 10, beginning later in the 2021 calendar year. Windows 11 will also be available on eligible new devices.

For administrators managing devices on behalf of their organization, Windows 11 will be available through the same, familiar channels that you use today for Windows 10 feature updates. You will be able to use existing deployment and management tools, such as Windows Update for Business, Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and Windows Autopilot. For more information, see Plan for Windows 11.

For devices that are not managed by an organization, the Windows 11 upgrade will be offered to eligible Windows 10 devices through Windows Update using Microsoft's intelligent rollout process to ensure a smooth upgrade experience.

For more information about device eligibility, see Windows 11 requirements.

If you are interested in testing Windows 11 before general availability, you can join the Windows Insider Program or Windows Insider Program for Business. You can also preview Windows 11 by enabling pre-release Windows 10 feature updates in Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager or Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).

If you are an administrator, you can manage installations of Windows 11 Insider Preview Builds across multiple devices in your organization using Group Policy, MDM solutions such as Intune, Configuration Manager, or Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). For more information, see Manage Insider Preview builds across your organization.

Before you begin

The following sections provide a quick summary of licensing, compatibility, management, and servicing considerations to help you get started with Windows 11.

Licensing

There are no unique licensing requirements for Windows 11 beyond what is required for Windows 10 devices.

Microsoft 365 licenses that include Windows 10 licenses will permit you to run Windows 11 on supported devices. If you have a volume license, it will equally cover Windows 11 and Windows 10 devices before and after upgrade.

Compatibility

Most accessories and associated drivers that work with Windows 10 are expected to work with Windows 11. Check with your accessory manufacturer for specific details.

Windows 11 preserves the application compatibility promise made with Windows 10, and does not require changes to existing support processes or tooling to sustain the currency of applications and devices. Microsoft 365 customers can continue to use programs such as App Assure and FastTrack to support IT efforts to adopt and maintain Windows 11. For more information, see Application compatibility.

Familiar processes

Windows 11 is built on the same foundation as Windows 10. Typically, you can use the same tools and solutions you use today to deploy, manage, and secure Windows 11. Your current management tools and processes will also work to manage monthly quality updates for both Windows 10 and Windows 11.

Important

Check with the providers of any non-Microsoft security and management solutions that you use to ensure compatibility with Windows 11, particularly those providing security or data loss prevention capabilities.

For more information, see Prepare for Windows 11.

Servicing Windows 11

Like Windows 10, Windows 11 will receive monthly quality updates. However, it will have a new feature update cadence. Windows 11 feature updates will be released once per year.

When Windows 11 reaches general availability, important servicing-related announcements and information about known issues and safeguard holds can be found on the Windows release health hub. Monthly release notes will also be available from a consolidated Windows 11 update history page at that time. For more information, see Servicing and support.

Next steps

Windows 11 requirements
Plan for Windows 11
Prepare for Windows 11

Also see

What's new in Windows 11
Windows 11 Security — Our Hacker-in-Chief Runs Attacks and Shows Solutions
Windows 11: The Optimization and Performance Improvements