Microsoft lets Windows 11 loose on the world

Microsoft on Monday began releasing Windows 11 as one market after another rolled into Oct. 5, the day it had set as the launch date for the operating system upgrade.

Personal computers running Windows 10 that meet Microsoft’s stricter-than-usual hardware requirements were immediately eligible for the free Windows 11 download. New devices with Windows 11 factory installed also went on sale.

“We’re pumped to be launching Windows 11,” Panos Panay, chief product officer of the Windows + Devices group, wrote in a post to a company blog Monday. “The entire user experience brings you closer to what you love, empowers you to produce and inspires you to create.” (Panay is well known for using the phrases, “I’m pumped” and “we’re pumped.”)

Enterprises can use the same tools to manage upgrades to Windows 11 that they currently rely on to service Windows 10, including Intune and Configuration Manager, tools from the Microsoft Endpoint suite; Windows Server Update Services (WSUS); and Windows Update for Business (WUfB). Windows 11 was also released to the bevy of second-tier sources, including Visual Studio Subscriptions, the Software Download Center and the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).

Managed machines will, of course, continue to run Windows 10 for as long as the organization’s IT personnel want. Windows 10 will be supported, Microsoft has pledged, until October 2025. (That support may be limited to security updates; Microsoft has not yet committed to delivering more than the next feature update, designated 212H, which will launch before year’s end, probably later this month.)

“Upgrading managed devices to Windows 11 requires an explicit approval from an administrator and will not upgrade without this approval when scanning for updates from Windows Update,” Microsoft said in an online support document. “Enterprise and Education editions will not show Windows 11 as an optional update in Windows settings either, so end users won’t be offered the option to upgrade on their own.”

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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