Windows 12 reportedly has a release window — and I couldn't be happier

Windows 11 logo on a laptop screen
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Windows 12 may be released in 2024, according to a new report which claims Microsoft is changing up its engineering strategies and moving to a 3-year release cycle for Windows.

That's a big deal because Windows 11 launched in October 2021, and some fans were expecting to see a sequel drop as soon as 2023. But according to sources trusted by Windows Central, Microsoft is adopting a new development cadence for Windows that revolves around "Moments" (reportedly a term used internally) of big updates a few times a year, with major numbered releases dropping every three years.

That means we shouldn't expect to see Windows 12 (or whatever Microsoft ends up calling it⁠— "Next Valley" has reportedly been used internally, though it may not be the final codename) until 2024. 

Windows 11 android apps

The debut of Android apps on Windows 11 (in a limited preview form) back in February is a good example of the sort of Windows feature releases Microsoft now plans to do a few times a year. (Image credit: Microsoft)

However, Windows Central also claims that Microsoft's new development cadence is designed to deliver more new features to Windows 11 with increasing frequency over the next year.

A good example would be back in February, when Microsoft rolled out a package of new features in a Windows update that included some redesigned apps, taskbar enhancements, and an early preview of native Android app support that let Windows 11 users finally try out Android apps.

Here's why I couldn't be happier

This is all welcome news if you (like me) feel that Windows 11 still lacks a few key features required to make it a really outstanding operating system. 

As I mentioned in my Windows 11 review, I don't think it's finished yet and I don't recommend you upgrade from Windows 10 unless you like the revamped design. Native Android app support (a major advertised new feature) is still nascent and underwhelming; the Widgets menu isn't much use; and the way Teams is integrated into Windows 11 not only fails to make a case for why you should use Teams, it actively makes me dislike the video-conferencing app.

Windows 11 desktop showing widgets menu open

Widgets sounded like a cool feature during the Windows 11 marketing campaign, but in practice they're too limited to be of much use. (Image credit: Future)

For all these reasons and more it's been hard to recommend Windows 11 to friends and family, even as a free upgrade. That's why I'm excited to hear that we won't be seeing a new version until 2024; Windows 11 is a solid operating system that isn't done yet, and I'd like to see Microsoft finish delivering what it promised with this version of Windows before it starts talking about what's next.

Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.