Windows 11 is firmly on the horizon. Scrap that—Windows 11 is rapidly approaching the shore, sounding its horn and demanding entry to the harbor. With the general public launch of Windows 11 looming large on October 5, 2021, there is little time before almost anyone can upgrade to Microsoft's latest operating system.
If you cannot wait until October 5, you still have one more chance to beat the crowds and try out Windows 11 early. The final Insider Preview build, Windows 11 Release Preview, is now live, and you can try it for free.
Try the Windows 11 Release Preview For Free
Windows 11 Release Preview is the final test version of the new operating system before wider public release. Until now, test versions have launched on the Dev Channel for very early builds and the Beta Channel for slightly more solid builds that are less temperamental. Now, the Release Preview build has become the most up-to-date release candidate for Windows 11.
This is the final stage before release. But if you're expecting to find a Windows 11 preview version stuffed with exciting new apps and features, you're in the wrong place. Instead, the Windows 11 Release Preview build is all about bug fixing before the final push, ensuring the proper launch runs as smoothly as possible.
After all, for all the things Microsoft got right with Windows 10, the launch wasn't one of them.
How to Upgrade to Windows 11 Early
Now that the final version of Windows 11 is almost ready, a new Insider Preview channel is available to those signed up for the program. The Release Preview Channel always contains an upcoming Windows release, allowing Insider Preview users to access the latest version before it goes live.
As the Windows 11 Release Preview is now up and running, you can use this opportunity to upgrade to Windows 11 early. You still have to sign up to the Insider Preview program to gain access to the release preview of Windows 11, but you can change your settings so that when the next phase of Windows 11 development rolls around, you don't find yourself amid Dev and Beta Channel builds.
- Check your Windows 11 eligibility with Microsoft's PC Health Check App. If your computer meets Windows 11 minimum requirements, you can safely upgrade to Windows 11.
- If you haven't already, you'll need to sign up to become a Windows Insider. Follow the onscreen instructions, making sure to use the same email address as you use for your Microsoft Account.
- On your existing Windows 10 machine, press Windows key + I to open the Settings app, then head to Update & Security > Windows Insider Program > Get Started.
- Input the information used to create your Windows Insider account. When prompted, select the Release Preview, then confirm your selections and reboot your computer.
- After rebooting your system, head to Settings > Update & Security. Now, you'll find a new option to download and install Windows 11 on your system. Follow the onscreen prompts to complete the installation.
- Once Windows 11 installs and you've made your way through the setup screens (for things like privacy, data sharing, location sharing, and so on), head to Settings > Windows Update and select Unenroll this device when the next version of Windows releases. Checking this is your Insider Preview opt-out. You'll continue to receive updates up until the next Windows 11 release, after which you'll receive Windows 11 updates at a regular rate.
Should You Upgrade to Windows 11 Early?
If your hardware is compatible and you want to try Windows 11 early, you can absolutely give it a try. However, if you check your eligibility using the PC Health Check App and your hardware is incompatible, it's likely worth waiting for a fix or to upgrade your hardware. Microsoft has made it very clear that it doesn't want people with incompatible hardware to use Windows 11, even going as far as to force users to sign a waiver to acknowledge that any damage to their hardware was forewarned.
To avoid doubt or any other issues, you can always wait until a new version of Windows 11 becomes available. It might take a while, but at least you know you'll be receiving regular security updates!