Microsoft's "next generation of Windows" will be debuting later this month and they're promising big changes. Is it a major Windows 10 update or will it be something new entirely?
Windows 11 Leak
Dubbed the "Windows 11" by the public, Microsft hasn't actually released any information on what the next version of the operating system will be called.
Last month, Windows 10 users received an update called version 21H1 but that wasn't the only thing new for the operating system. At the Microsoft Build 2021 developers conference, CEO Satya Nadella teased the "next generation of Windows" in his keynote.
According to CNet, Nadella called it "one of the most significant updates of Windows of the past decade." He has been self-hosting the next-gen OS and "is incredibly excited."
The redesign leak from the Chinese site Baidu includes a more modern look and new features to the Start menu, Action Center, File Explorer, and Taskbar. The Verge notes the Mac-like interface wherein the Start menu is more simplified. There are a lot more rounded corners found on context menus and apps as well.
The new Windows also has a new startup sound.
Since Windows 10X was scrapped, Microsft decided to take the best bits of the 10X OS to the main Windows 10. Other features developed for the operating system will find their way to other parts of Windows in the future.
check out our full Windows 11 hands-on for more. And yes, there's a dark mode and you can move the Start menu back to the left side— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) June 16, 2021
💻 Lots more information here: https://t.co/VDS08QPsl5 pic.twitter.com/3wP57DEJak
Windows 7 Users to Get Windows 11 Free?
With the next generation of Windows coming around the corner, it looks like Microsft has plans to offer a free upgrade when the new OS debuts, Tom's Hardware says.
This is of course, based on a leaked build configuration package of the new operating system that hasn't been officially revealed yet. Microsoft could have changed their plans since then or they didn't have any plans to give a free upgrade at all.
The keys found in the configuration package suggest that Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users will be able to upgrade to Windows 11 at no cost. This would make sense as a free upgrade to Windows 10 has been done before, and the promotion is still valid to this day as long as you have a valid key for Windows 7, 8, or 8.1.
Windows 7 users, especially, should look into upgrading as Microsoft officially dropped support for the operating system in January 2020, according to Tom's Hardware. Windows 8.1 will follow in January 2023 and Windows 10 won't be supported by October 2025.
Windows 11 Release Date
Microsoft is hosting another virtual event, this time to unveil the Windows 10 redesign. The event will showcase what the company has in store for Windows.
The live stream will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern Time on June 24. To catch the live broadcast of the event, you can head over to the Microsoft website.
Not much else is said about the event other than: "Join us to see what's next for Windows."