It’s a Christmas early October miracle! Microsoft promised that Windows 11 would be released “Holiday 2021”, but it turns out that the company didn’t mean the Christmas holiday. Instead it meant “20 days before Labour Day”: Windows 11 will start rolling out to compatible computers on Tuesday 5 October 2021.

“Today, we are thrilled to announce Windows 11 will start to become available on October 5, 2021,” writes Microsoft’s Aaron Woodman in a surprisingly long post* on the Windows Experience blog

“On this day, the free upgrade to Windows 11 will begin rolling out to eligible Windows 10 PCs and PCs that come pre-loaded with Windows 11 will start to become available for purchase.”

Not only is that early by your definition of “Holiday 2021”, it’s a whole lot earlier than the “never” which was the original release date for Windows 11. Microsoft, you may recall, promised that Windows 10 would be “the last version of Windows”, when it was released in 2015.

Of course that doesn’t mean you’ll be downloading it on Day One. Just as it did with Windows 10, Microsoft will be staggering the roll out based on a heady mix of “hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device and other factors”. That means that the upgrade queue is pretty long and daunting, with the company only predicting that all eligible devices will be offered the upgrade by mid-2022. 

“Eligible devices” is also an important caveat, as Microsoft has tied itself into all sorts of knots trying to explain which devices are and aren’t allowed the upgrade. Only modern processors are allowed access, and the company also requires your computer or laptop to have a TPM 2.0 security chip enabled. 

If you have no idea what any of that means for you, Microsoft says it will soon be updating its PC Health Check app to tell you whether or not your computer is good to go. Microsoft doesn’t say exactly when that will be, but with only 35 days to Windows 11’s full release, you would assume that, this time, “soon” really does mean “soon.”

* 2,246 words for a release date reveal! If you’re wondering how he hit that total, the post ends with an advert for 14 different laptops to get the most out of the new OS, and includes 11 highlights of Windows 11 – an idea that probably felt cute at first, but began to feel like a drag around point 5 or 6.