Microsoft is reportedly changing the release schedule for major versions of Windows, possibly paving the way for Windows 12 to release as early as in 2024. Microsoft released Windows 11 in 2021 as an upgrade to Windows 10, which was released to the public in 2015. The Windows 11 launch was somewhat unexpected after Microsoft declared Windows 10 to be “the last version of Windows” and claimed that it will henceforth release ‘Windows as a service’ (WaaS) instead of periodic major releases like it had been doing for the past two decades.
As it turned out, Microsoft eventually released Windows 11 after several years of sticking with Windows 10 as its latest release. According to Microsoft, it will continue to support Windows 10 up to October 2025, which is about ten years from the original release date of the software. While Microsoft hasn’t officially revealed how long it plans to support Windows 11, it will likely be supported for ten years as well, which means there is no tearing hurry for anyone to upgrade to Windows 12, irrespective of when it arrives.
Microsoft is reportedly reverting to a three-year release cycle for new Windows versions. That’s according to a report by Windows Central, which claims that the Redmond, Washington-based software behemoth has canceled the ‘Sun Valley 3’ update that was expected to be rolled out to Windows 11 devices next year, and will instead release the next major Windows version (presumably Windows 12) in 2024 – three years after Windows 11 was released to the public.
The report also clarifies that the cancellation of the Sun Valley update doesn’t necessarily mean that Windows 11 will get no new features. In fact, Microsoft is said to be still prepping new features for Windows 11, which will be rolled out to general users after they’ve been tested by Windows Insiders. According to the report, these feature drops will be known as ‘Moments’ and happen on average about once every three months, up to four times a year. The report goes on to say that some of the features that were planned for Sun Valley 3 will instead land this year with Windows 11 version 22H2.
If the report is accurate, it would mark a big shift from the Microsoft’s modus operandi for the past few years, as the company has been rolling out two major updates to Windows 10 users every year since its release. At the launch of Windows 11 last year, Microsoft announced plans to roll out at least one major update for Windows 11 users every year, so it’s not immediately clear how the reported change of plans would affect those earlier assurances. Either way, the rumored new release cadence for Windows promises to shake things up quite a bit, and it remains to be seen how that turns out in the coming years.