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Report: Microsoft will return to releasing new Windows versions once every 3 years

Enlarge / A PC running Windows 11. (credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is planning yet another big change to the way it updates Windows, according to a report from Windows Central. Rather than updating a single version of Windows for many years as it did with Windows 10, Microsoft plans to return to a schedule where it releases a new major version of Windows roughly once every three years, putting a hypothetical “Windows 12” on track for release at some point in the fall of 2024.

On the surface, this looks a lot like a return to the pre-Windows 10 status quo. 2006’s Windows Vista was succeeded by 2009’s Windows 7, 2012’s Windows 8, and 2015’s Windows 10. But the report says that Microsoft will continue to refine the current Windows release at a steady clip, with new feature drops (internally called “Moments”) planned roughly once per quarter. We’ve already gotten a taste of that with Windows 11, which has evolved steadily throughout the year instead of saving all its big changes for the pending Windows 11 22H2 update.

When Windows 11 was released in October of 2021, Microsoft said that both Windows 11 and Windows 10 would receive major “feature update releases” once per year in the second half of the year. This was already a change from Windows 10, which received two of these updates per year. But Windows Central reports that Windows 11’s 2023 feature update has already been “scrapped,” suggesting that the big yearly update model could be going away for good.

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