Released on October 5, 2021, Windows 11 followed Windows 10 by more than six years. Although Windows 11 version 22H2 was just released as the first major update, rumours have it that Windows 12 is on the horizon. It appears that, after Windows 10, Microsoft will return to the practise of releasing a major new version of Windows every three years rather than on an annual basis.
No new Windows release has been announced by Microsoft. Actually, it has minimised the Windows 12 concerns we’ve heard about. Microsoft has publicly stated its intention to release Windows 11 updates annually along with smaller feature updates. Still, it’s never too early to start planning ahead, and Windows 12 is likely to be released in the not-too-distant future. Let’s look ahead and see what we can anticipate.
Is there a date set for the debut of Windows 12?
Three years after Windows 11’s release, in 2024, the next major version of Windows is expected to be introduced, according to rumours. That’s about all we know at the moment, and we may not get any further details for some time.
Previous releases have suggested that Windows 12 will be released in the fall or sometime during the second half of the year, but this is by no means guaranteed. Though Microsoft has denied rumours that it is developing Windows 12, it may simply be playing coy because the release is still so far off.
Meanwhile, Windows 11 will continue to receive updates, and on occasion, new features, to prevent the OS from feeling stale. There are many new features in Windows 11 22H2, which was released in September. Recently, in the month of November, we received the initial “moment” update for 22H2, which included new functionality like tabbed views in File Explorer. Windows 11 will continue to develop until at least 2023, when we anticipate at least two more of these momentous updates.
Microsoft’s Windows 12 Upgrade Path Through Time
Microsoft’s 3-year update cycle is not novel. After Windows Vista was released in 2006, Microsoft continued with this update schedule. Windows 7 came out in 2009, and Windows 8 followed three years later in 2012. Microsoft released Windows 10, the most widely used version of Windows to date, in 2015.
By committing to support Windows 10 for 6 years instead of the usual 3, Microsoft was able to release Windows 11 in 2021. Windows 12 features may be rolled out to Windows Insiders over the next two years, though Microsoft is likely to continue referring to them as Windows 11 features until the release date is much closer.
While many of the Insider Program’s features will appear in Windows 12 in the form of incremental updates, others may have a more far-reaching scope. However, until Windows 12 is closer to its release date, we may not see any exclusive features. After all, Windows 11 was kept under wraps until very close to completion.
Beta Release of Windows 12
- Users can get early access through the Windows 12 Beta.
- You’ll get a taste of the newest operating system and a look at its features.
- Through the Insider Program, we also collect data on errors and bugs, which are fixed before the Final Release.
- The Windows 12 Beta is a fully functional prototype of the final product.
- We anticipate that the beta version of Windows 12 will be released in March 2023, followed by the final version shortly after.
How Will Windows 12’s New Features Be Rolled Out?
Microsoft is altering the delivery of features in Windows 12 to coincide with the new 3-year update cycle. Two annual major feature updates were previously released for Windows 10. (as H1 and H2). As of late, the update cycle has been changed to once a year to accommodate Windows 11, which marked a significant departure from previous versions. In fact, Microsoft’s first 22H2 feature update for Windows 11 is on its way and is expected to drop in September or October. Installing the Windows 11 22H2 update is now possible for those on the Windows 11 Release Preview channel, allowing them to try out the brand-new features that have been added since Windows 11 22H1.
It has been reported that Microsoft will no longer release annual security updates for Windows going forward with version 12. Moments is a new Microsoft engineering initiative that, like Google’s Feature Drop, will roll out incremental updates to the product throughout the year. It is expected that Windows 12 will receive at least four feature drops per year.
What’s interesting is that Microsoft is already testing the Moments feature drop before Windows 12 is released. As a matter of fact, Microsoft has decided to cancel the Sun Valley 3 release in 2023, meaning there will be no Windows 11 23H2 update that year. Instead, the new Moments feature will be available to Windows 11 users in 2023, just before Windows 12 is released in 2024.