Windows 11 was released on October 5, 2021, more than six years after Windows 10 debuted. Microsoft recently released the first major operating system update – Windows 11 version 22H2 – but we’ve heard that the next thing on the cards could very well be Windows 12. It looks like Microsoft is cutting out major annual updates and instead opting for a big, new version of Windows every three years, similar to what happened before Windows 10.
Microsoft has not officially announced a new version of Windows. In fact, these are downplayed reports we’ve heard about Windows 12. Officially, the company has committed to annual updates and smaller feature updates for Windows 11. Still, it’s not never too early to start looking to the future, and chances are we will. see a Windows 11 follow-up at some point in the future. Let’s take a closer look at what we’re waiting for now.
When will Windows 12 be released?
According to reports, the next major version of Windows will launch sometime in 2024, about three years after the debut of Windows 11. That’s all we really have for now, and it might take a while time before we have more information. If earlier versions are any indication, Windows 12 should arrive in the fall, or at least the second half of the year, but that’s not set in stone. Microsoft has denied reports that it will run on Windows 12, but given that we’re still a long way from launch, the company might just be holding its cards close to its chest.
In the meantime, Windows 11 will continue to receive updates, and sometimes it may get new features, so the operating system won’t feel outdated. We have Windows 11 version 22H2 coming, and it will be a major update, adding things like new touch gestures, Start menu improvements, and more.
If you’re in the Windows Insider program, you’ll likely see Windows 12 features gradually appear over the next two years, although Microsoft will likely continue to label them as Windows 11 features until we get much closer to it. release date. However, not all Insider Program features will be part of Windows 12, as many of them are rolling out through smaller updates, but some of them may be future-facing. However, we may not see the exclusive features of Windows 12 until we get closer to its release. After all, Windows 11 was a pretty well-kept secret until it was almost done.
Will Windows 12 be a free update?
One of the big questions you’ll probably ask yourself is whether you’ll have to pay to upgrade to Windows 12 when (and if) it comes out, but thankfully that’s unlikely. Microsoft has been committed to offering major Windows updates for free to existing Windows users for a few years now, and it makes sense that this will continue. Of course, Windows 12 itself probably won’t be free, so if you don’t have a Windows license at all, you’ll still need to purchase it.
What might entice you to spend the money is whether your PC is compatible with it, but that’s another question worthy of its own section.
Will I be forced to update?
The most likely answer to this question is no. Microsoft has significantly relaxed its efforts to trick users into forcibly installing new versions of Windows. Windows 11 is still an optional update for Windows 10 users, and most likely this approach will continue with future releases.
However, updating to new versions of Windows may be required if your version of Windows is nearing the end of its support period. For example, the original version of Windows 11 will be supported for 24 months if you have a Home or Pro edition of Windows. So while Windows 11 version 22H2 isn’t required, it will likely be installed automatically in 2023, so you can continue to receive security updates.
The same logic will likely apply to Windows 12, although it remains to be seen how the support periods will work with the new three-year release cycle. Since new major releases will only come every three years, having a two-year support cycle for each release won’t make much sense. We’ll have to wait and see how Microsoft adapts its lifecycle policy for major Windows releases.
Can my PC run Windows 12?
After Windows 11 significantly increased the minimum system requirements compared to Windows 10, this is another big question to ponder. Will Windows 12 leave old PCs behind again? It’s too early to tell, but there’s definitely a chance some PCs won’t be compatible for one reason or another. Windows 11 currently requires processors released from around 2018, and while we currently see no reason for the next version of Windows to require more than that, it’s possible it could happen.
As for all the other requirements, again, it’s hard to say. Windows 11 requires 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, so at the very least Windows 12 will require that much. You also shouldn’t expect Microsoft to backtrack on things like TPM requirements, though you can still install Windows 12 using an ISO file if you don’t meet certain requirements.
Either way, almost every best laptop you can buy today will likely support Windows 12 when it’s released.
What’s new in Windows 12?
A new desktop user interface
Although Microsoft hasn’t officially announced Windows 12, we recently got our first look at a prototype. Microsoft inadvertently showed off a concept for Windows 12 during the Microsoft Ignite keynote hosted by CEO Satya Nadella. The concept shows some interesting changes, including a floating taskbar and some system icons that are now displayed at the top of the screen, such as Wi-Fi and battery indicators, as well as a weather widget. This would make Windows more similar to macOS or some Linux distributions.
Of course, we’re still a few years away from the intended release date, so this is likely a very early design prototype. It may change significantly or be completely removed before Windows 12 launches, but it gives us some interesting things to analyze. Windows 11 made some big changes to the taskbar for the first time in years, and it looks like Windows 12 could go even further.
Other than that, the only way to find out what might be new in Windows 12 is to be part of the Windows Insider program. Windows Insiders can try out features in advance, sometimes months in advance, and we could very well see some Windows 12 features appear eventually. Right now most of the changes tested are quite small and will likely arrive via cumulative updates for Windows 11, but that will likely change in the future.
That’s all we can say about Windows 12 for now. Even the name isn’t necessarily set in stone right now, but it’s the easiest way to refer to the next version of Windows. We’ll be sure to add more information over the next few years, so check back regularly for updates.