How to download Windows 11 next week

Here's what you have to do to get access to Microsoft's brand new OS.

Windows 11 logo

Microsoft just announced Windows 11, the first full version update in six years. In addition to some much-needed visual updates, this new version of Windows introduces new functionality like Snap Layouts, which will quickly rearrange your windows, and the ability to get Android apps directly from the Microsoft Store. I’m personally interested in trying some of the new tablet features on an old Surface.

Here’s the rub: you’ll have to wait until next week to get it. You’ll be able to download Windows 11 via the Insider program, which is Microsoft’s mechanism for pushing out various tiers of beta software to developers and testers via Windows Update. These builds were typically going out on Wednesdays until Microsoft put them on pause a couple of weeks ago, so we might see a build sometime in the middle of next week.

Windows 11’s visual updates include a new Start Menu, widgets, and softer corners.Microsoft

However, before you register for Insider builds (which you can do here) keep in mind that this is the very first version of this new OS, meaning that it’s bound to be a little buggy. Do you have a backup? According to Microsoft’s memo to Insiders you’ll have to use the company’s media creation tool to go back to Windows 10, strongly implying that you’ll have to do a fresh install if something doesn’t work.

While you wait, you confirm that your PC actually has the specs to support Windows 11 with Microsoft’s PC Health Check app. Sadly I didn’t find the app to be very helpful because, as you can see in the screenshot below, my system isn’t supported. This surprised me because I have a Ryzen 3600 CPU in an Asrock B450 Pro4 motherboard with 32GB of RAM. I assume my weird Nvidia Quadro card is throwing it off, but clicking “Learn more” doesn’t actually show what’s incompatible in my system. Typical Windows!