A new leak suggests that Microsoft’s next major iteration of the PC operating system, Windows 12, may not be a free upgrade, which means it could likely be a subscription-based OS.

The leak comes from a German media outlet Deskmodder (via Neowin), who found many such subscription-centric entries in the INI configuration file of the Canary channel build.

The additional lines of code suggest a subscription-centric direction for Windows 12 when compared to those in the Windows 11 23H2 Release Preview build using WinMerge.

The English-translated version (from German) of the subscription-related entries on the Canary channel build are:

  • Subscription Edition – (L_MsgSubscriptionEdition)
  • Subscription Type – L_MsgSubscriptionType (as “Device-Based Subscription” or “User-Based Subscription”)
  • And the subscription status – L_MsgSubscriptionStatus (Active, Inactive, Deactivated, Expired

It is important to note that the above payment code lines are not concrete proof that Microsoft is moving to a paid subscription model for Windows 12. So, we will have to wait and watch!

As far as Windows 12 is concerned, there is no official confirmation from Microsoft regarding the existence of its next-generation operating system or its name.

It’s been two years since the Redmond giant last released its last operating system, Windows 11.

However, the company continues to offer annual updates as well as smaller feature updates for Windows 11 regularly.