According to a report in Windows Central, Microsoft is planning to make another major change in the way Windows is updated. Instead of updating one version of Windows with Windows 10 for several years, Microsoft plans to return to a schedule where it releases a new major version of Windows approximately once every three years, a hypothetical “Windows”. Keeps 12″ on track. Release at some point in the fall of 2024.
On the surface, this looks like a return to the pre-Windows 10 status quo. 2006’s Windows Vista was succeeded by 2009’s Windows 7, 2012’s Windows 8, and 2015’s Windows 10. But the report says Microsoft will continue to refine the current Windows release at a steady clip, with new feature drops (internally called “Moments”) planned. About once per quarter. We’ve already gotten a taste of this with Windows 11, which has evolved steadily throughout the years, rather than saving all of its major changes for the pending Windows 11 22H2 update.
When Windows 11 was released in October of 2021, Microsoft said that both Windows 11 and Windows 10 would receive major “feature update releases” once per year in the second half of the year. This was already a change from Windows 10, which received two of these updates per year. But Windows Central reports that Windows 11’s 2023 feature update has already been “scraped,” suggesting that the big annual update model may be going away for good.
Whatever the company is planning, it is not yet ready to announce it to the public. Reached for comment, a Microsoft spokesperson told us that the company “does not comment on rumors or speculation.”
This leaves a bunch of big questions unanswered. If this change is coming, will there still be a “23H2” release of Windows intended to determine the update lifecycle of Windows 11? Will Windows 12 be a paid upgrade like the older Windows version, or will it be free for existing Windows users like Windows 10 and Windows 11? What features, if any, will be retained across several major Windows releases? What kinds of features are included in “Moment” and which are held back for major releases?
There may be benefits to returning to a more clearly delineated Windows release; This is an opportunity to make major user interface changes or under-the-hood improvements, while also benefiting from additional user awareness and media attention with major updates. It’s also a chance to change system requirements, ensuring that any system running Windows 12 has more capable hardware than one running Windows 11 (although the downside for users is the already restrictive requirements of Windows 11). will have to be tightened).
On the other hand, for third-party developers and IT administrators, the current plan seems like the worst of both worlds: an ever-changing current version of Windows that’s always being tweaked, along with a more-than-perfect suite with large groups of users. The fragmented install base is running one of three or four different Windows versions with different user interfaces and feature sets. Leaving on less-desirable versions of Windows (such as 8 or Vista), while staying on the “good” known-volume versions (such as XP or 7), IT administrators can fall back on bad habits, adding meaningful new features and security upgrades. missed out. process.
If Microsoft has more to share about its update plans for Windows 10 or Windows 11 going forward, it may do so when the annual feature updates for both operating systems are released later this year. . Windows 11 22H2 has been developed publicly in the Windows Insider testing channels and is already fairly well documented. The company has said almost nothing about Windows 10 22H2, which may or may not actually add any user-noticeable features to the now-last-gen OS.