In a major shift, Microsoft may be preparing Windows 12 for 2024

In a major shift, Microsoft may be preparing Windows 12 for 2024

Microsoft is changing the way it releases major versions of Windows once more, which could lead to the release of Windows 12 in 2024. According to Windows Central, Microsoft is returning to a three-year release cycle for Windows, which means the next major version of Windows will be released in 2024. It represents yet another significant shift in how Microsoft develops Windows.

With the release of Windows 10 in 2015, Microsoft abandoned its three-year cycle, prioritizing the concept of Windows as a service. Instead of a major feature release every three years in a new Windows release, Windows 10 was updated twice a year with major new features. After a Microsoft employee described Windows 10 as “the last version of Windows,” many Windows watchers assumed it would be the final big bang release of Windows.

Microsoft never dismissed those comments, instead calling them “reflective of the way Windows will be delivered as a service, bringing new innovations and updates on an ongoing basis.” With the release of Windows 11 last year, Microsoft switched to an annual update cadence for both Windows 10 and 11.

Given Microsoft’s decision to use the Windows 11 branding, it’s reasonable to expect any future major version of Windows to use a different branding. Because Microsoft has yet to include Windows 11.1 or 11.2 in its major Windows 11 updates, many will be wondering if Windows 12 is on the way.

Microsoft intends to keep Windows 11 current in the years ahead, alongside the next version of Windows in 2024. In recent months, Microsoft has backed away from its original promise of large annual updates for Windows 11, preferring to ship major features when they are ready. After being recently finalized by Microsoft, the next major update, 22H2, is expected to arrive in September or October.

Microsoft has reportedly abandoned plans for a similar large 23H2 annual update in 2023, instead focusing on rolling out new features throughout the year. This is more in line with Microsoft’s recent changes to its Windows Insider program, in which more experiments and prototype features are being widely tested.

Microsoft has not made an official statement about its Windows roadmap plans. After the pandemic increased Windows usage, the company has refocused its efforts on Windows over the last two years. Microsoft had planned to launch Windows 10X on dual-screen devices at the start of the pandemic, but after declaring “the PC is back” at the start of the pandemic, it went on to rework 10X into what became Windows 11.

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