Microsoft will start rolling out Windows 11 to eligible PCs on Oct. 5, but older PCs probably won’t get the option to upgrade until next year.

The company plans to first deliver the Windows 11 upgrade to the newest machines. So if you buy a Windows 10 laptop now, you’ll be among the first to receive the Windows 11 update this year. New PCs preloaded with Windows 11 also go on sale Oct. 5.

“The upgrade will then roll out over time to in-market devices based on intelligence models that consider hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device and other factors that impact the upgrade experience,” the company wrote in a blog post.

“We expect all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11 by mid-2022,” Microsoft added. The company plans on notifying eligible owners about the upgrade via the Windows Update service on Windows 10.

“You can also check to see if Windows 11 is ready for your device by going to Settings > Windows Update and select Check for updates,” the company said.

The announcement arrives days after Microsoft decided to largely hold steady on the strict requirements for Windows 11. As a result, Windows 11 won’t officially support many PCs that are older than four years. However, the company has created a potential loophole to install the OS on an unsupported machine. According to The Verge, you’ll be able to do so by creating a virtual ISO file for Windows 11 and manually installing the software on the machine.

Unfortunately, there's a catch. Microsoft confirms that installing Windows 11 on an unsupported device comes with a severe limitation: Your PC won’t be entitled to receive updates via Windows Update, including security and driver updates. So instead, you’ll have to resort to downloading and installing the updates manually.

To find out if your PC is eligible for Windows 11, you can look at the system requirements or wait to use Microsoft's official PC Health Check app, which can determine if Windows 11 will work on your PC, and will be re-released on the Windows 11 website soon.

If you’re not a fan of Windows 11, Microsoft will support Windows 10 until Oct, 2025.

PC Magazine