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Windows 11: A new era for the PC begins today

Today marks an exciting milestone in the history of Windows. As the day becomes October 5 in each time zone around the world, availability of Windows 11 begins through a free upgrade on eligible Windows 10 PCs and on new PCs pre-installed with Windows 11 that can be purchased beginning today. Windows is a driving…

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Today marks an exciting milestone in the history of Windows. As the day becomes October 5 in each time zone around the world, availability of Windows 11 begins through a free upgrade on eligible Windows 10 PCs and on new PCs pre-installed with Windows 11 that can be purchased beginning today.

Windows is a driving force for innovation. It’s an enduring platform for each one of us to create. And its home for over a billion people to do their jobs, live their dreams and connect with the people they love.

We’re pumped to be launching Windows 11; the entire user experience brings you closer to what you love, empowers you to produce and inspires you to create. Windows 11 provides a sense of calm and openness. It gives you a place that feels like home. It’s secure and everything is designed to be centered around you.

To fully understand the magic of Windows 11 you must get it in your hands. The gorgeous graphics, sounds and animations of Windows 11 along with the innovative and beautiful hardware from our partners and Surface provides an experience like none other.

There’s never been a better time to buy a PC 

As we look to next year and beyond, whether it’s to work, create, connect, learn or play, the PC will continue to play a relevant and lasting role in our lives.

Throughout the month of September, we’ve seen some amazing new Windows 11 devices announced from our partners at ASUS, HP and Lenovo, and from the Surface team. Acer, Dell, Samsung and other partners will also be releasing new Windows 11 devices soon. Each one of our partners is critical to bringing Windows 11 to life. No other ecosystem has the breadth and scale that the Windows ecosystem does to meet the needs of people whether they’re creators, developers, students and educators, business and gamers at every price point and in every form factor.

Here’s how you can get Windows 11:

  • Purchase a new PC pre-installed with Windows 11 by visiting Windows.com or your local retailer
  • Purchase a Windows 10 PC that’s eligible for the free upgrade by visiting Windows.com or your local retailer
  • Use the PC Health Check app to check if your current Windows 10 PC is eligible for the free upgrade
  • If you’re interested in learning more about the Windows 11 upgrade roll out approach, visit this Windows Blog post

We’re proud to offer Windows 11 on the widest array of choice in devices, form factors and silicon from our valued partners at Acer, AMD, ASUS, Dell, HP, Intel, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Samsung and Surface.

Check out some of the incredible new PCs that have recently been introduced:

  • The eco-friendly Acer Aspire Vero features post-consumer recycled plastic throughout the chassis and keyboard, 100% recyclable packaging and up to IntelCore i7
  • The ASUS ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 OLED, a powerful laptop that can handle complex CAD models, 3D product design or high-resolution video editing
  • The HP ENVY 34 All-in-One Desktop PC is made for creators by creators, with an incredible ultra-wide 5K display that brings to life Windows 11 Snap Layouts to easily view multiple apps side by side, along with the world’s first detachable magnetic camera with 16 MP binning technology for collaboration where and how you want it.
  • The Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Carbon also offers Wi-Fi 6 and an infrared (IR) camera with an electrical shutter switch so you can take advantage of the hands-free Windows Hello
  • Surface Laptop Studio, a fresh take on our powerhouse laptop, featuring a new ultra-durable Dynamic Woven Hinge, allowing it to transition from one mode to another seamlessly
  • And be sure to follow the Windows Experience Blog for more exciting announcements coming soon

Now, we’d also like to share some of the highlights of this release with you.

Bringing you closer to what you love

Windows 11 brings you closer to what you love and is designed with you at the center.

From the new Start menu and Taskbar, to each sound, font and icon you see, the team thought through every pixel and detail to bring you a more modern, fresh and beautiful experience. With Start at the center you have quick access to the content and apps you care about and through the power of the cloud and Microsoft 365 (sold separately) you can see recent files you’ve been working on regardless of which device you were using, even if it was an Android or iOS device.

To get you closer to the content and information you care about we’re introducing Widgets, a new personalized feed powered by AI and the web. Opening your personalized feed with a click or a swipe from the left is smooth and seamless as Widgets slides across your screen like a sheet of glass. Whether it’s glancing at your day through Outlook calendar and To-Do list integrations, catching up on the latest headlines or tomorrow’s weather forecast, or viewing your favorite OneDrive photo memories, Widgets bring everything you love to your fingertips.

Chat from Microsoft Teams is a new experience that helps bring you closer to the people you care about. With a simple click you can use a personal account to chat, voice or video call with your friends, family and other contacts regardless of the device or platform they’re on – Windows, Mac, Android or iOS. Microsoft Teams isn’t just for people with smart devices; your friends and family can join the conversation via SMS text messaging. Plus, you can open the full Microsoft Teams experience directly from Chat to bring your plans to life with event scheduling, quick polls, file sharing and more.

The new Microsoft Store on Windows brings you closer to your favorite apps and entertainment—all in one place. The Microsoft Store on Windows not only brings you more apps than ever before; we’re also making it easier to search and discover new content with curated stories and collections. New apps are available today in the Microsoft Store on Windows, such as Canva, Disney+, Zoom, the Epic Game Store and so much more. To learn more about what’s new in the Microsoft Store, visit this blog post.

Empowering your productivity and inspiring your creativity

Windows 11 features powerful new experiences that empower your productivity and inspire your creativity.

We’re all multitasking more than ever on our PCs, from multiple monitors and browser tabs to editing documents in Word or PowerPoint. With Windows 11, we’re making it easier to focus and stay in your flow with Snap Layouts and Groups, and Desktops.

Snap Layouts and Groups offer a more powerful way to multitask and optimize your screen real estate in a way that is visually clean. With new three-column layouts for larger screens, it has never been easier to have all the content you need at your fingertips perfectly arranged.

With Desktops you can create individual Desktops that display different sets of apps to help you stay organized and focused, like making separate spaces in your home, and you can even customize each Desktop with its own name and wallpaper.

Accessibility was considered from the start in the development of Windows 11, with inclusive design reviews of new and redesigned features. We’re proud that Windows 11 is the most inclusively designed version of Windows, built with and for people with disabilities. Windows 11 offers familiar assistive technologies like Narrator, Magnifier, Closed Captions and Windows Speech Recognition to support people across the disability spectrum. To learn more about accessibility in Windows 11 visit this blog post.

We’ve improved the experiences for touch in Windows 11 when you’re using a tablet without a keyboard. You’ll see more space between the icons in the Taskbar, adding bigger touch targets and subtle visual cues to make resizing and moving windows easier, as well as adding gestures. We’ve also enabled haptics with Windows 11 to make using your pen even more immersive – allowing you to hear and feel the vibrations as you click through and edit or sketch. Surface Slim Pen 2 (sold separately) is a great example of haptics in action.

With as much time as we’re all spending on our PCs, sometimes you might want to type on your PC with your voice. We’re excited to introduce new enhancements in voice typing on Windows 11. Now, with voice typing your PC recognizes what you say, even automatically punctuating sentences for you.

For developers, Windows 11 offers new tools and resources

With Windows 11, we endeavored to make Windows a more open platform. We thought about the development process and what tools and capabilities you need to create amazing apps. We built Windows 11 with developers in mind. You can create and build apps using the tools, frameworks and languages that you know and love. We’re also embracing all your apps and will work to make them feel at home on Windows. Visit this blog post to learn more about our advancements for developers.

Windows 11 is built for gaming

Windows 11 was made for gaming, with innovative new features that can take your PC gaming experience to the next level. If your PC has an HDR capable display, Auto HDR will automatically upgrade over 1000 DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 games to high dynamic range, rendering a much wider range of colors and brightness. We also believe that player choice is important, so Windows 11 includes the ability to turn Auto HDR on or off on a per-game basis.

Windows 11 also includes support for DirectStorage, a feature we first introduced on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles. When paired with an NVMe solid state drive and DirectX 12 GPU, games that implement DirectStorage can benefit from reduced load times and render more detailed and expansive game worlds.

Windows 11 also includes the Xbox app built right in. Through the Xbox app you can browse, download and play over 100 high-quality PC games with Game Pass for PC (membership sold separately). And this October kicks off the three biggest months in Xbox history with incredible game launches including Age of Empires IV on Oct. 28, Forza Horizon 5 on Nov. 9 and Halo Infinite on Dec. 8. All three of these games will be available to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Game Pass for PC members on day one. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members can also play 100+ Xbox console games on their PC without having to wait for a download, thanks to the power of Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta) with the Xbox app.

Enabling the hybrid workforces and classrooms of tomorrow

Windows 11 is the operating system for hybrid work and learning. Through the rapid acceleration of digital transformation that we’ve seen over the last 19 months, it is critical for today’s organizations to be resilient and flexible. With the shift to hybrid work, where work is constantly changing, we understand the importance of an operating system that is flexible, consistent, secure and works how you work. That’s why Windows 11 is built on the consistent, compatible and familiar Windows 10 foundation that is easy for IT to manage. Beginning today, organizations can begin moving to Windows 11 on powerful PCs and through the cloud with Windows 365 or Azure Virtual Desktop. To learn more about how Windows 11 can empower your hybrid workforce, please visit this Microsoft 365 blog post.

Windows 11 is designed for chip-to-cloud protection

As we continue on our journey, feedback from our customers and the industry is so important to helping us shape a Windows that our customers love. To that end, we conducted a survey of Security Decision Makers in the U.S. from a range of industries and found that 75% of security decision makers, VP and above, feel that the move to hybrid work leaves their organization more vulnerable to security threats. This last year has proven that security needs to be built in from the hardware up, the chip to the cloud. In fact, 80% of respondents feel that software alone is not enough protection from emerging threats. Windows 11 was designed with security in mind to meet the challenges we will face in this new work environment and beyond. You can read more on our Security blog.

A new era for the PC begins today

We are grateful to our entire ecosystem of partners who have played important roles in helping us prepare to get Windows 11 into the hands of our customers around the world. From OEM and app partners, to silicon, to retail, to our Windows Insiders, a launch of this global scale could not be achieved without them.

On behalf of the entire team, we are pumped to bring you Windows 11, the Windows that brings you closer to what you love.

We look forward to seeing the dreams and ideas you bring to life with Windows 11. This is just the beginning.

Features and app availability may vary by region.

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Babylon.js 5.0: Key Engine Advancements – Part 3

Our mission is to create it one of the most powerful, beautiful, and simple web rendering engines in the world. The latest Babylon.js 5.0 engine packs a ton of new improvements to help you create stunning experiences. Unlimited Morph Targets No matter what you call them, Blend Shapes, Shape Keys, or Morph Targets, Babylon.js 5.0 adds…

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Our mission is to create it one of the most powerful, beautiful, and simple web rendering engines in the world. The latest Babylon.js 5.0 engine packs a ton of new improvements to help you create stunning experiences.

Unlimited Morph Targets

No matter what you call them, Blend Shapes, Shape Keys, or Morph Targets, Babylon.js 5.0 adds rocket fuel to your ability to use influenced vertex positions. This new feature now gives you literally unlimited amounts of Morph Targets. Want to have a complex animated face with thousands of Morph Targets to get that perfect expression? Now you can, all in the web, all for free!

See it in action here: Unlimited Morph Targets Demo

Learn more: Unlimited Morph Targets Documentation

YouTube Series: Tech Artist’s Journey YouTube Playlist

Order Independent Transparency

Rendering transparent objects is complicated! The Babylon.js Platform has always strived to make it as easy as possible to help you inform the system of rendering order, alpha index, run depth-prepasses, and much more, so your scene can look correct. With Babylon.js 5.0 we’ve wrapped a bow on it all. All of the complexity of rendering transparent objects can now disappear with one single, simple line of code:

Try it out: Order Independent Transparency Demo

Learn More: Order Independent Transparency Documentation

WebXR Advancements

WebXR is an incredible web standard allowing web developers to create amazing cross-browser XR experiences. Using WebXR to add a mobile AR component to your web site can be a simple and fun way to engage your readers/users even further. While the technology to render world-locked 3D objects has existed in Babylon.js for some time, Babylon.js 5.0 steps the beauty-factor up several notches with the introduction of Light Estimation. This powerful yet easy-to-use new feature allows your Babylon.js scenes to estimate the light in your real-world location and automatically match the lighting and shadows of your virtual world-locked object. This creates a cutting-edge level of immersion between the physical and digital worlds…and it’s all here in Babylon.js…all for free! Babylon.js 5.0 also adds support for WebXR image tracking and WebXR Layers!!!

Check it out on your Android Phone: Light Estimation Demo, Image Tracking Demo

Learn More: Light Estimation Documentation

glTF Updates

The Babylon.js Platform prioritizes support for the absolute latest and greatest advancements to the glTF file format. This means every new version of Babylon.js unlocks new beautiful advancements in rendering capabilities, and Babylon.js 5.0 turns up the heat! With full support for KHR_materials_volume, KHR_materials_transmission, and KHR_materials_ior, you can now render some absolutely STUNNING visuals!

Check it out: KHR_materials_volume Demo

Learn More: KHR_materials_volume, KHR_materials_transmission, KHR_materials_ior

Mixed Reality Toolkit for Babylon.js

Babylon.js 5.0 also adds updated support for the world’s most advanced 3D interface component library, Mixed Reality Toolkit. This advanced library makes it incredibly easy to add advanced XR UX elements into your Babylon.js scenes such as: holographic slates, 3D Sliders, Touch Holographic Buttons, Touch Mesh Buttons, and much much more!

Check it out: MRTK Demo

Learn More: MRTK Documentation

Material Plugin Manager

When it comes to creating real-time shaders power, performance, and flexibility are critical! Babylon.js 5.0 brings introduces a brand new feature that doubles down on all of three. The Material Plugin Manager gives you the ability to add custom code to any Babylon.js shader. This means that you can fully customize any advanced shader, such as PBR, to go even further. The Material Plugin Manager provides developers with the flexibility to fully customize the power, performance, and look of any shader!

Check it out: Material Plugin Manager Demo

Learn More: Material Plugin Manager Documentation

Much Much More

Wow that’s a lot, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg! Improved Shadow Performance, Vertex Animation Textures, a brand-new Build System, there’s more to Babylon.js 5.0 than you can imagine! Want a full view of everything that’s new? For a full list of features, enhancements, and fixes you can head on over here.

Babylon.js 5.0 launches the Babylon.js platform to incredible new heights and we cannot wait to see you reach for the stars with it!

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In their mission to diversify STEM education, twin brothers use Windows 11

Twins Miles and Malik George are almost always in sync. They graduated at the top of their high school class as co-valedictorians. At MIT, these bioengineering students embraced and expanded upon their love of science. They were also in multiple diverse groups on campus such as Nu Delta Fraternity, The Standard, and Laureates and Leaders.…

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Twins Miles and Malik George are almost always in sync.

They graduated at the top of their high school class as co-valedictorians.

At MIT, these bioengineering students embraced and expanded upon their love of science. They were also in multiple diverse groups on campus such as Nu Delta Fraternity, The Standard, and Laureates and Leaders.

This last program is dedicated to helping under-represented students get Ph.D.s or M.D./Ph.D.s and has a selective entry process. The two fondly remembered the program as instrumental in shaping their academic careers.

They worked with MIT Admissions as Admissions Ambassadors to increase the number of underrepresented students that apply to and attend the university. On campus and virtually, they worked in several biological engineering labs. They’re about to graduate and will be pursuing Ph.D.s in Biological Engineering at MIT.


They’re both passionate about bringing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to under-served communities through hundreds of funny and informative lessons posted to TikTok and other social media. Their mix of memes, dances and trivia reach all kinds of audiences. They teach what they find exciting about science.

“The more curious you are about one subject, the more you learn about that subject, the more curious you become about everything else,” Miles says. “Curiosity is the reason why people keep innovating. And so as long as people are curious, people will keep learning.”

“Curiosity leads to solutions, you know?” Malik adds.

The brothers will host a private virtual education event for students May 17 in partnership with Microsoft Stores. This session will reach 10,000 students and will feature an inspirational fireside chat, STEM demonstration and interactive Q&A.

The twins strive to be role models for the next generation, to inspire them to follow their dreams.

“In high school we did a lot of science fairs. Being able to count on your hand how many people look like you in a room of over a hundred people, it’s pretty sad,” Malik says. “As we became involved in science ourselves, we wanted to make sure that people saw there are people that look like us in the field and that they can and should feel welcome to do so as well.”

They’re both PC gamers who enjoy comic book universes and socializing with their many friends.

They are part of a tight-knit family, helping their parents with gardening and jigsaw puzzles, watching movies together and doting on the senior Shih-tzu (who is the fifth member of their household).

But they are also individuals.

Malik is the “explainer.” As his brother shares, “He’s going make sure that if he’s telling you about something, you know everything that there is about the topic and he’s going make sure you understand it at the end of the day.”

“If I’m the explainer, then Miles is the convincer,” says Malik. “You know, he can summarize any topic – no matter how advanced – in a couple sentences to any age group and they’ll understand it.”

This works well when they’re doing presentations, which have reached more than 1,000 students remotely (ranging in age from late elementary school to high school seniors) since January 2021. They’ve been getting more interest about K-12 presentations and plan to continue those.

“I’ll do the intro. He does methods and results. I do the conclusion. He gives you the scientific know-how, how to learn. Then I bring it back at the end,” Miles says.

They also have different work styles – though both are also lifetime PC users. For as long as they can remember, they’ve always been on Windows, starting from their childhood.

“If you were to look at my desktop, you will see at least three applications open at once. If you look at Miles’ desktop, you’ll see one application open, but he’ll have three desktops that he’ll switch between,” Malik says.

Multiple desktops are one of Miles’ favorite Windows 11 features.

“I have one program that I’m focused on. When I’m done focusing on it, I’ll switch to another desktop and that’s what I’m working on then,” he says. “Each assignment gets its own desktop, and I will get to it when I get to it.”

They’ve discovered other Windows 11 features that make them even more efficient.

“As a student, I am constantly searching through emails, especially through keyword search,” Malik says. “I globally search by who sent it or a keyword and it will just show up right there. And I can read it or I can click it and reply from the same place. Windows 11 really takes away flipping back and forth between things. And then anything that you don’t have open, you can also just go through the Start menu.”

They also make great use of Snap Assist.

“I can have an essay snap to the right on Word. I can have some internet research article on the left,” Malik says. “And then if I need to check my email, it would just pop up in the center and I don’t have to cover what I was already working on.”

They like that they can tailor Windows 11 to what works best for each of them.

“It really feels like a personalized experience when I’m online. And it really visually is a much better experience than what I’m used to,” Miles says. “As a researcher, I’m used to a lot of diagrams, a lot of graphs. It really combines multitasking with this beautiful element of note taking and annotating directly on the screen.”

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Babylon.js 5.0: News Tools – Part 2

We are artists, developers, creators, and dreamers and we want to make it as simple as possible to enable everyone to bring their ideas to life. With this new version of Babylon.js, we set out to make it even easier to develop thanks to a suite of new and exciting tools. Animation Curve Editor Creating and…

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We are artists, developers, creators, and dreamers and we want to make it as simple as possible to enable everyone to bring their ideas to life. With this new version of Babylon.js, we set out to make it even easier to develop thanks to a suite of new and exciting tools.

Animation Curve Editor

Creating and modifying animation data in a rendering engine can be complicated and verbose, but not anymore! Babylon.js 5.0 adds a built-in Animation Curve Editor (ACE), making it incredibly easy to create and modify animation data directly in your Babylon scene. As with all Babylon.js Platform tools, you can also save your animation data to the Babylon.js Snippet Server and load it back into your Babylon.js scene with one single line of code!

See it in action here: Play with the Animation Curve Editor

Learn more: Animation Curve Editor Documentation

Performance Profiler

Performance is one of the most important things to keep in mind as you create advanced interactive 3D experiences. After all, you don’t want to create an awesome experience that only runs on the most high-end graphics cards, right? You want to create something that EVERYONE can enjoy, and this means keeping track of and optimizing the performance of your scene. Babylon.js 5.0 makes performance debugging and management a breeze with the introduction of the new Performance Profiler. This handy tool allows you to see a real time graph of key performance indicators of your scene, all hooked up live! Make a change, see the impact on perf. It’s really that simple!

See it in action here: Performance Profiler Demo

Learn more: Performance Profiler Documentation

GUI Editor Beta

Babylon.js has a powerful GUI system that offers countless widgets, controls, and properties to help you create rich GUIs. With Babylon.js 5.0 that powerful system becomes far simpler to use with the introduction of the GUI Editor Beta. While still in active development, the GUI Editor Beta is a rich and modern tool, allowing you to create the perfect GUI with a simple and intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Say goodbye to thousands of lines of GUI code and hello to a world of design with the GUI Editor Beta and loading your creations with a single line of code!

See it in action here: GUI Editor Beta Demo

Try it out for yourself: GUI Editor

Learn more: GUI Editor Beta Documentation

New Node Material Nodes

The Node Material Editor is one of the most advanced tools available in the Babylon Platform. One simple UI that helps you generate stunning GLSL shaders with ease. With Babylon.js 5.0 the Node Material gets even better with the introduction of several powerful new nodes!

Check out the new nodes:

Learn More: Node Material Documentation

Asset Librarian

The Babylon.js Platform offers a large library of free Creative Commons 0 assets available for you to use in your Babylon.js scenes, completely for free. With Babylon.js 5.0, accessing these assets is easier and faster than ever! The new Asset Librarian brings a new Assets namespace that you can use in your projects to easily access the 200+ free assets to make your Babylon.js scenes soar.

Try it out: Asset Librarian Demo

Learn More: Asset Librarian Documentation

Dev Stories Documentation

Babylon.js 5.0 adds a whole new category of documentation called “Dev Stories.” These new tutorials are designed to walk you, step-by-step, through some common scenarios that many Babylon.js developers ask about. From setting up a Babylon.js project quickly, adding interactive 3D elements to your e-commerce site, to deploying your Babylon.js project to a Native Application, “Dev Stories” are rich, deep, detailed tutorials aimed at helping you take your project from idea to reality!

Check It Out: Dev Stories!

“Going The Distance With Babylon.js” A New Book               

We are also incredibly excited to share that alongside Babylon.js 5.0, community member and talented author Josh Elster has written an entirely new book about Babylon.js 5.0. Published by Packt Publishing, “Going The Distance With Babylon.js” is written from the mindset of taking you through the entire development process of building a game with Babylon.js from the ground up. We are thrilled to partner with Josh and Packt on this book and think it’ll be a great addition to your library and accelerate your Babylon.js learning journey.

Pick Up Your Copy Here: Babylon.js 5.0: The Book

Beside the tooling, there are also a ton of new features in the engine itself. Check out part three to learn more about the exciting new improvements with Babylon.js 5.0.

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