What is the latest version of Windows?

Microsoft Windows 11’s release date to the public is October 5, 2021. This latest version is called “21H2”, but there have been some minor updates to Microsoft’s latest operating system, with the latest versions of the operating system. Important updates are planned for the future.

If you want to update your current operating system to the cutting edge, the latest version of Windows 11 is what you want.

Understanding Windows 11 version numbers

Microsoft releases two types of updates:

  • Feature updates are major annual releases where Windows receives important new features and additions.
  • Quality updates are incremental updates that include bug fixes and security updates.

Updates marked “cumulative” contain all the updates that precede them. So you don’t need to install each one before.

The main feature version number consists of two parts, the first represents the year of release and the second describes whether the release occurred in the first or second half of that year. So, for example, version 20H2 will be released in the second half of 2020.

Quality updates are labeled with both year and month. So the 2022-01 quality update will be released in January 2022. Multiple quality updates can happen in the same month. Each update has a unique Knowledge Base (KB) number. For example, the Windows 11 2022-01 release is called KB5010690.

The integrated antivirus package, Microsoft Defender, receives separate updates called Security Smart Updates. Likewise, the Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Office web browsers have separate update paths.

The latest Windows version is Windows 11, Version 21H2

At the time of writing, the current latest version of Windows 11 is 21H2. The latest Cumulative Quality update is 2022-05 KB 5013943.

New User Interface (UI)

Windows 11 has a completely improved user interface. This new version of the Windows interface reimagines the Start Menu setup found in previous versions of Windows, such as Windows 7 and 10. The “Metro” tile system in Windows 8 and 8.1 has completely disappeared, even the ticks that exist in Windows 10 The Taskbar is now centered in a way reminiscent of Apple macOS and iOS for iPad. However, it can be aligned to the left if you want. The Search bar is now also at the top of the menu.

Microsoft’s voice assistant, Cortana, was notably absent in Windows 11 as the company took down its Siri competitor. Although Siri has proved popular on iPhones and iPads, Windows users have been less than enthusiastic about the voice assistant function.

The new Action Center neatly unifies notifications and controls for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other common functions. Microsoft is also gradually don’t use the Control Panel in favor of a more streamlined Settings app.

Windows Subsystem for Android

Windows 11 offers the ability to install and run Android apps from the Amazon store in Windows without a smartphone. Technically, this is not yet an active feature in the public release of Windows 11, but it is accessible as a beta feature. We’ve tested this initial implementation, and while it’s more or less working, it’s far from perfect.

Windows Subsystem for Linux

Like the Android solution above, this feature allows you to run Linux software on Windows 11. Unlike the Android feature, this is already part of the major release; you will have to enable and install this component in Windows features.

New Windows system security standard

Windows 11 hosts a lot of old code that can cause security holes. Additionally, running Windows 11 requires a higher level of hardware security. Specifically, it requires a TPM (Trusted Platform Module), or you cannot install it.

This TPM requirement breaks compatibility with older CPUs and can only be installed on AMD Intel 8th Gen or Ryzen 3000-series CPUs.

Improved gaming performance and Xbox integration

Microsoft has fully integrated the Xbox app and Xbox Game Pass service into Windows 11. Above all, Windows 11 promises the best support for video games. It is the best Windows operating system to run Intel 12th Gen CPUs and has the best support for technologies like GPU-based storage acceleration.

Windows 11 has different versions

Windows 11 has several versions:

  • Home.
  • Professionally.
  • Education.
  • Enterprise.
  • Professional education.
  • Pro for Workstations.
  • Mixed reality.
  • Windows server

Only Home and Pro versions are of interest to most Windows users. It’s important to understand that you can only update or upgrade your version of Windows to another version of the same version. So, for example, Windows 10 Enterprise users can only upgrade to Windows 11 Enterprise. To change the version of Windows you have, you must purchase a Windows license for that version.

Find out the release channels

When we refer to the latest version of Windows 11, we are explicitly referring to the major release “channel”. This is the update channel that receives extensively tested and removed updates for all Windows users.

The Windows Insider Channel provides any user with access to future versions of Windows and the features that come with those versions. Insiders can provide details and feedback on these new features, helping Microsoft perfect them before release. We recommend that you don’t use the Insider channel on your important primary computer because there is always the possibility of instability and data loss.

The Dev (Developer) Channel provides Windows 11 updates without being tied to any future Windows updates. This channel is intended for highly technical users involved in Windows software development.

When you switch to one of these channels, you are no longer on track with the main Windows build, and therefore the version numbers discussed here do not apply.

How to check the version of Windows you have

Checking your Windows version is very simple. Just choose Start button > Settings App > System > About.

Then check in Windows Specifications next to “version”. In the example here you can see this is version 21H2. Many users and publications expect the first major update to Windows 11 to happen in the first half of 2022, but at the time of writing, version 22H1 has yet to be seen. Instead, the next scheduled version is 22H2, with codename Valley of the Sun.

How to update to the latest version of Windows

Whether you’re using Windows 10 or already a Windows 11 user, all you have to do to initiate the update is Start Menu Button > Settings App > Windows Update.

You will see your pending updates or updates. Choose to install updates immediately or check for updates manually by selecting Check for updates. Windows will handle the rest.

If you are a Windows 10 user who wants to update to Windows 11 and the update is not showing to you, go to Windows 11 download page and choose the best installation method. We recommend that you try Windows 11 Installation Assistant first, but if you want to update another computer, you can use the Media Creation tool or burn the downloaded ISO file to a disc. If you have a Windows 10 license key, you can use it to activate Windows 11.

Where can you buy Windows 11?

As mentioned above, if you are a Windows 10 user, you can get a free upgrade to Windows 11 as long as your computer meets the minimum specifications. However, if, for example, you built a computer from components and you need a Windows 11 license for it, you will have to pay a fee for a license.

You can purchase Windows 11 directly from the Microsoft Store, where you’ll receive the digital rights associated with your Microsoft Account. You can also purchase Windows 11 from a third-party seller, as a physical copy that includes a pre-loaded disc or flash drive, or just a license key. In the previous section, anyone could download and install Windows 11 without a key. You can then activate your copy by linking your Microsoft Account or entering the key you purchased.

You can get highly discounted keys from third party sellers who resell volume license keys but be aware that this can be risky and may violate licensing terms.

Should you get the latest version of Windows?

At the time of writing, Microsoft has announced that it considers Windows 11 ready for general use almost a year after its release. That means anyone waiting for stability that’s good enough for business or mission-critical computers can now consider the upgrade.

With the exception of stability and security updates, however, it’s generally not a good idea to upgrade to a newer version of Windows as soon as the update becomes available. You’re better off waiting for early adopters to spot any new bugs or problems and fix them before risking your computer.

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