First Windows 12 build potentially spotted — here’s what we’ve heard

Windows 12 logo concept
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Windows 12 likely won’t arrive for some time but we may have seen a hint of its existence. Even if that’s not the case, it appears something big is happening behind the scenes with Microsoft’s operating system.

As our sibling website TechRadar reports (via NeoWin and DeskModder), X/Twitter user XenoPanther posted that the Canary Channel of Windows 11’s Insider Program (where early updates and features are tested) saw a build jump from 26047 to 27547. What’s interesting about that is that the most recent Canary Channel build is version 26040. Some are speculating that going from a 26XXX build to a 27XXX hints that the build in question is where Windows 12 features could be tested.

Microsoft Ignite 2022

Pictured above is a potential glimpse of Windows 12, based on a previous "leak." (Image credit: Microsoft (via ExtremeTech))

Here’s where things get more interesting. Windows Central’s Zac Bowden, who has been on top of Windows 12 news for a couple of years, quoted XenoPanther and said Windows Insiders won’t get the 27XXX builds for “quite a while.” He also said the next Windows release should be in the 26XXX range.

Bowden recently said Windows 12 might not arrive in 2024. Instead, Windows 11 will reportedly receive a substantial update in September. Update 24H2 or “Hudson Valley” is expected to be a significantly larger OS update that’s based on a new version of the Windows platform. Given its reported scope, some believed update 24H2 was Windows 12, but it seems it’s still Windows 11.

TechRadar speculates that the 27XXX preview versions could be the following Windows update after 24H2. That's possible if Bowden’s claims that the next Windows release will be in the 26XXX range are accurate. If things pan out as alleged, then Windows 11 should receive a drastic overhaul (at least at its core) in 2024 and we’ll see Windows 12 in 2025. But obviously, all of this is speculation at this time as Microsoft has not officially announced the rumored Windows 11 Hudson Valley update or Windows 12.

As always, take everything in this report with a healthy dose of skepticism. Stay tuned for more on any upcoming Windows updates as we hear about them.

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Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.