Microsoft prepping Windows 12 for 2024 in return to three-year release cadence

Microsoft plans to change the way it rolls out new versions of Windows, which means we could see Windows 12 arrive in 2024.

According to Windows Central (via The Verge), Microsoft is shifting back to a three-year release cycle for Windows after ditching that cadence with Windows 10 in 2015. For those who may not remember, Microsoft positioned Windows 10 as a ‘service’ that would see steady updates. Big new features arrived every two years. Some at the company even went so far as to say Windows 10 was the last version of Windows.

That all changed again when Windows 11 arrived last year. At the time, Microsoft said it would move to an annual update cadence for both Windows 10 and 11. However, Microsoft has been moving away from that plan too, and now seems to ship major features when they’re ready. The Verge notes the next big update, 22H2, is expected to drop in September or October after Microsoft recently finalized the update.

The company reportedly scrapped plans for a similarly large 23H2 update in 2023 and will instead prioritize rolling out new features throughout the year. The shift matches up better with how Microsoft handles its Insider program — currently, the company tests experiments and prototype features more widely than in the past.

Naturally, Microsoft hasn’t officially commented on its Windows plans, and the ‘Windows 12’ name is an assumption (albeit a safe one). The company has used numbers for the last several Windows releases, and it hasn’t adopted a ‘Windows 11.1’ or ‘11.2’ naming system for major updates, so it seems like Windows 12 will be the branding of whatever major release ships in 2024.

Source: Windows Central, The Verge

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