Windows 12 rumored release date, new features and latest news

Windows 12 logo concept
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Windows 11 is a little over two years old but rumors suggest Microsoft could be working on its successor: Windows 12. Previous reports claimed Microsoft would launch its next operating system in 2024, but it now seems we'll instead receive a significant update for Windows 11. Said update will supposedly contain features once expected on Windows 12.

Given the aforementioned rumor, it's unclear when Windows 12 might launch or what features it might contain. Reports now suggest a 2025 launch date. Windows 12 reports said the operating system will heavily focus on AI, but said updates could instead come to Windows 11 via the "24H2" or "Hudson Valley" update this September.

Keeping in mind that nothing we've heard is official, here’s what we've heard about Windows 12 so far. 

Windows 12 rumored release window  

A previous report from Commercial Times (via sibling publications Tom’s Hardware and TechRadar), the topic of Windows 12 came up during 2023's Taiwan Medical Technology Exhibition in Taipei. At the time, the Taiwanese publication claimed Quanta Computer Chairman Barry Lam reportedly said Microsoft will launch the follow-up to Windows 11 “next summer,” which would now be this summer.

But now, it seems won't arrive in 2024. According to Windows Central’s Zac Bowden, who has been the major source for Windows 12 news over the past couple of years, Microsoft instead plans to give Windows 11 a major overhaul.

Update 24H2/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. Bowden's sources claim this is because former Windows chief Panos Panay left Microsoft.

If we're getting a big Windows 11 update this year, then Windows 12 is naturally off the table. Some rumors now say Microsoft will release Windows 12 in 2025, but it's hard to say.

Windows 12 rumored features and upgrades  

Bing with ChatGPT

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Many of the AI features expected in Windows 12 will now reportedly appear in Windows 11 this fall. With that in mind, it's likely Windows 12 would iterate on or improve these machine-learning features. With Microsoft having integrated ChatGPT with its Bing browser, it’s likely to go further and use the chatbot in Windows 12, for example. 

A previous tidbit hinted Microsoft could rely a lot more on machine learning — basically, the tech that underpins a lot of so-called AI chatbots — to better provide context-sensitive information and assistance when carrying out everyday computing tasks in Windows 12. The alleged leak could be hinting at potential updates for Windows 11 to add more smart features to the OS. 

But even if that's the case we’d expect Windows 12 to double down on AI-related or adjacent tools and services. After all, Microsoft has invested heavily (reportedly some $10 billion) into OpenAI, the organization behind ChatGPT, so would likely want to capitalize on its AI tech investment. 

Whatever Microsoft does with AI tech, it’ll need to be more useful than its virtual assistant Cortana. Originally a core part of Windows 10, Cortana didn't win over users and ended up being somewhat divested into an app rather than a main feature in the Start menu. But the integration of, say, a ChatGPT client could be a lot more useful, especially with its ability to better understand questions posed in natural conversational language. 

Apparently, Microsoft has already started testing “major changes” via new Canary Channels for Windows Insider builds that may find their way to Windows 12. What these changes might be wasn't made clear but it could hint that some big parts of Windows could change with its next-generation release.

Windows 12 what we’d like to see 

Given Windows 11 still feels like a work in progress, it can be tricky to come up with a wishlist for a next-generation operating system when the current one is improving with each update. 

But we’d like to see Windows 12 launch with all its core features enabled, something Windows 11 didn't manage. For example, access to Android apps was touted but then limited to the U.S. in the early days of the operating system’s life. Speaking of which, it would be good if there was a dedicated Android app to sync between the best Android phones and Windows. With Windows 11 you need to use the Your Phone app, which isn’t the newest or most intuitive given it had a more mobile-centric interface for a mostly mouse-driven UI. 

We’d also like to see Windows 12 have a much less rocky launch than Windows 11, which had all manner of bugs when it was released. Sure these got patched, but it was hardly the best start for a new OS. 

an image of Android apps on a Windows 11 laptop

(Image credit: Microsoft/Dell)

More customization out of the virtual box is something we’d like to see from Windows 12. Windows has always been seen as one of the most flexible and customizable operating systems. But Windows 11 felt, and arguably still feels, rather limited with what you can do. We would like a whole host of options to make Windows 12 feel like an operating system built around users rather than forcing users to adapt to what may at times seem like arbitrary changes. 

We'd also like to see some more harmonious merging of Microsoft-owned apps, say mixing in Skype with a consumer version of Teams, rather than having two disparate services that feel like they can’t compete with Zoom or Google Meet. 

Razer Leviathan V2 Pro

(Image credit: Razer)

As Windows is the default gaming platform, it would be good if Windows 12 had more gaming-centric features built in.

While Windows 11 has the Xbox app, I’d like to see some form of native overclocking and the ability to sync up various components and peripherals that have RGB capabilities instead of needing to use multiple third-party apps. This could also be extended to game streaming so that there’s easy control over things like screen recording, audio balancing and switching to any low-latency modes. Microsoft could work with the likes of Razer, Philips and Elgato to provide the tools and APIs to allow for integration in a single universal app or interface. 

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Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face. 

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