Windows 11 has arrived (a day early in the US), and yet many Windows observers thought we’d never see this day. At the company’s 2015 Ignite conference, Microsoft’s Jerry Nixon famously announced that “Windows 10 is the last version of Windows.” He was referring to the fact that Windows 10 updates would subsequently roll out in a “software as a service” model rather than as a big update once every few years. But times and strategies change.
With Chrome OS making dents in Windows’ market share, Microsoft first worked on a separate operating system that resembled Google’s simplified desktop OS, called Windows 10X. That project was scrapped, with the new interface design instead making its way into the main Windows branch now known as Windows 11.
Windows 11 starts rolling out at 1 p.m. Pacific Time (4 p.m. Eastern) today. The originally announced launch date was Oct. 5, but Microsoft wanted it to be available worldwide all at once, and it’s already Oct. 5 in many countries. It rolls out first to new PCs designated as ready for Windows 11, such as the company’s own updated line of Surface laptops and tablets.