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Microsoft's new development cycle hints at a Windows 12 release in 2024

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Microsoft is yet again shaking up its Windows update cadence. The company had promised massive feature updates once a year (opens in new tab) just last year. It is now being suggested that Windows will get a major release every three years instead with smaller seasonal feature updates throughout the year (via Windows Central (opens in new tab)). That may mean Windows 12 is that next major release.

The next major release is reportedly scheduled for 2024, three years after Windows 11 first launched. 

Even though Microsoft is switching to a three-year schedule for major releases, it still intends to increase the number of smaller updates throughout the year in what Microsoft is apparently calling "Moments" internally. 

These Moments will be the seasonal updates, and will enable Microsoft to still ship new features into its current version of Windows without having to wait around for one tentpole yearly update. Though, historically, those feature updates haven't been without problems.

In our review of Windows 11, one of our major criticisms was that its launch seems rushed, with various features that were oddly left out and a predictable host of bugs and issues. Thankfully, you can roll back to Windows 10 if you were one of the brave souls who wanted to try Windows 11 for free. 

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Unfortunately, the new roadmap means that the 2023 release client update for Windows, aka  Sun Valley 3, has been put on the back burner in favor of these smaller, more frequent updates. This means we will probably see some Sun Valley 3 features sprinkled into these upcoming "Moments."

One of these Moments happened earlier this year in a recent update that added the Weather widget to the taskbar. Exciting times.

The new roadmap officially starts whenever Windows 11 version 22H2, aka Sun Valley 2, is due in the fall. 

According to the Windows Central report, the status of the 2024 release of Windows is pretty much unknown, except that is apparently in the early planning and engineering phase, and folks within the company are calling it "Next Valley" when speaking about it internally. 

Could this Next Valley be Windows 12? Given that the internal codename is something different to Windows 11's Sun Valley codename that seems a pretty good guess. Though Microsoft has played fast and loose with Windows' numbering in the past, and even promised that Windows 10 would be the last one before. 

Jorge Jimenez
Hardware writer, Human Pop-Tart

Jorge is a hardware writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, he's reviewing all sorts of gaming hardware from laptops with the latest mobile GPUs to gaming chairs with built-in back massagers. He's been covering games and tech for nearly ten years and has written for Dualshockers, WCCFtech, and Tom's Guide.