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Did Intel just leak the Windows 11 release date?

Windows 11 Recovery screen
(Image credit: Shutterstock - Gorodenkoff)
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Intel may have accidently revealed the Windows 11 release date, with its latest drivers referencing “Windows 11-64 – October 2021 Update – version 21H2”.

This gives extra weight to the rumors that Windows 11 will be releasing in October 2021. So far, Microsoft hasn’t officially revealed the Windows 11 release date, instead simply stating that it is “due out later in 2021 and will be delivered over several months”.

However, this latest leak, which is found in the release notes (opens in new tab) published by Intel alongside its latest GPU driver, makes a clear reference to October 2021.

Will it launch in October?

In the past, Microsoft has named its major Windows 10 updates after the month in which they are going to be released (which has caused issues in the past when there have been delays), and the release notes make reference to existing Windows 10 updates as well, such as the May 2021 Update (21H1).

The ‘21H2’ part of the update name in relation to Windows 11 suggests, as with other Windows updates, that it will release in the second half of 2021.

There will also be a Windows 10 21H2 update, but that’s expected to bring minor updates, maybe because Microsoft is focussing on Windows 11.

So far, the evidence seems pretty conclusive that Windows 11 will launch – for some people, at least – in October 2021. Microsoft itself recently showed off new Windows 11 screenshots that contained references to October, so, barring any unforeseen delays, we’d say that it’s very likely you could be running Windows 11 by the time Halloween rolls around.

However, we’re still not sure who will be able to get Windows 11 then. It’s likely that we’ll start seeing new laptops and PCs being sold with the new operating system already installed, but people with existing Windows 10 devices, the wait may be a little longer for the upgrade.

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Microsoft usually rolls out big OS updates, so it can keep an eye on any issues, and in a Tweet a while ago, it said that the “rollout of the upgrade to Windows 10 devices already in use today will begin in 2022 through the first half of that year.”

If you really can’t wait to try out the new operating system, you can try an early build. Check out our guide on how to download and install Windows 11 for more information.

Via Windows Latest (opens in new tab)

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Computing and Entertainment

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Computing and Entertainment, looking after two of the best, and most exciting, channels on the site. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made. He's also a huge film and TV fan and Marvel geek, and his favorite recent film is Dune.