When will Windows 11 be released, and will it be free?

It is now less than a week until Microsoft officially tells us about Windows 11. The announcement is scheduled for June 24 and this is when the company will reveal all. The operating system may have already leaked, but there are still many questions we need answers to.

While this week's leak gave us a chance to see many of the new features that Microsoft has introduced as well as the new look, there are two key questions that people are asking. Firstly, when will Windows 11 be released? Secondly, will Windows 11 be a free upgrade?

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Ahead of the official announcement next week it is, of course, impossible to say anything for certain. But that doesn't mean it's not possible to make reasonable assumptions about how things will play out.

Taking the second question first, let's consider whether Windows 11 will have a price tag attach to it. This seems very unlikely -- at least to start with. Apple has offered free upgrade to the latest versions of macOS for a number of years now, and Microsoft did the same with Windows 10. While it would be easy for the company to charge for the operating system -- there is something of a captive audience, after all -- it would seem like a bad move to do so.

A delve into the leaked build of Windows 11 reveals that Microsoft has planned free upgrade paths to Windows 11 for people currently in possession of a genuine license for an older version of the operating system. What's more, it seems that it is not just Windows 10 users who will be entitled to a free upgrade, but also people running Windows 7 and 8.

So, providing you have a valid Windows license already, when the big release day rolls around, you should be able to upgrade to Windows 11 for free via Windows Update.

But when is the release date?

Again, this is something that is impossible to say with certainty. What we can say (probably), is that while Microsoft is holding the Windows event next Thursday, it is highly unlikely that 24 June will be the release date for Windows 11.

What is far more feasible is that Windows 11 will land in the fall, in time for the holiday season. You should be able to get your hands on it before this, however, if you sign up as a Windows Insider and therefore get access to beta builds weeks ahead of release.

We will know more about Windows 11 and the future of the operating system next week.

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