When Windows 10 was launched in 2015, Microsoft had said that it would be the “last version of Windows” with the operating system getting major feature updates every six months. However, the Redmond giant went on to release the Windows 11 operating system in October last year for laptops and PCs.
Now, according to a new report from Windows Central, Microsoft is already planning for the release of the next operating system, Windows 12 in the year 2024. It appears that the company is planning to return to the traditional three-year release cycle for major versions of the Windows client.
For example, Windows Vista debuted in 2007, Windows 7 in 2009, Windows 8 in 2012, and Windows 10 in 2015. While Windows 11 debuted at the end of 2021, Microsoft may release Windows 12 in the year 2024 in accordance with its policy of releasing new operating systems every three years.
“According to my sources, Microsoft now intends to ship “major” versions of the Windows client every three years, with the next release currently scheduled for 2024, three years after Windows 11 shipped in 2021,” states the Windows Central report.
The report says that Microsoft has scrapped the originally planned 2023 client release of Windows (codenamed Sun Valley 3) scheduled for next year and therefore intends to wait until 2024 to release the Windows 12 operating system. However, this does not mean that Windows 11 users will not get updates. In fact, the company is planning to release new features up to four times a year for current Windows 11 users starting in 2023.
Starting with Windows 11 version 22H2 (Sun Valley 2), Microsoft is planning to introduce new features and experiences at important junctures throughout the year not necessarily bundled with major system OS updates, but as part of smaller updates.
These new smaller updates referred to as “Moments” will be released for users running Windows 11 version 22H2 periodically. For example, Microsoft has already tested the system with the rollout of the taskbar weather button as part of “Windows 11 Moments.” The report also notes that several features that were included in next year’s Sun Valley 3 release will be added to Moments updates on top of Sun Valley 2.
In the past, Microsoft has been releasing updates for every Windows version for about 10 years from the time they are launched. This includes Windows 10, which will receive updates until at least 2025. However, if Microsoft decides to follow a fixed cadence of introducing a new operating system every three years, it is not known what would it mean for Windows 11 support beyond 2024.
Microsoft has yet to officially announce this change, as it is an internal plan which means that it could still change in the future. Also, with Windows 11 releasing in 2021, the development is probably only in an early stage. We will have to wait and watch. Stay tuned for more updates!