Rumor: Microsoft plans to release new major Windows versions every three years

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 14, 2022
Updated • Jul 14, 2022
Windows 11 News, Windows 12 News

The following information needs to be taken with a grain of salt, as it has not been confirmed by Microsoft at this point.

Microsoft releases two new builds to the Windows 11 Insider Preview Beta channel

According to Windows Central,  Microsoft plans to move from the current one-feature-update-per-year release cycle to a once-every-three-years release cycle. While that may look like a step back at first glance, Microsoft plans to release frequent feature updates, which add new features to supported versions of Windows several times per year.

The plan looks like a full reversal by Microsoft in regards to release cycles. Windows 10 was released three years after Windows 8, and Windows 8 three years after Windows 7. Not all classic versions of Windows were released three years after the previous version though, as Windows 7 was released just two years after Windows Vista, but there were always years between new major version releases.

The introduction of Windows 10 changed releases significantly. Microsoft moved to a faster release cycle and released two feature updates per year for some time; this changed with the release of Windows 11 and the moving to the current one feature update per year cycle.

If the rumors are true, Microsoft could change the release cycle again to three years. The next major release for Windows 11 is expected in 2024 under the new release schedule. Windows 11 users will receive feature drop updates regularly, starting in 2023 according to Windows Central.

Windows Central believes that Microsoft could release new features to the existing operating system up to four times per year.

Like the Taskbar Weather Icon, which Microsoft rolled out to Windows installations directly and not as part of a major feature update, these updates will land on user systems after they have gone through rounds of testing on Insider machines.

Microsoft could round up several of the features and include them in updates in Windows systems. One of the main benefits of the new approach is that administrators do not have to upgrade to major versions of Windows once or even twice per year anymore. Administrators would install new major upgrades every three years, which would take a lot of weight from their shoulders.

Users benefit from the decision as well, as new features may be included faster into Windows. Under the current release cycle system, development teams had to wait until Fall before new features and improvements would be released to stable versions of the operating system.

For Microsoft, it will remove development pressure and reduce the number of support requests.

Closing Words

A three-year release cycle with frequent feature drops should appeal to the majority of system administrators and users of the operating system. Fewer installations of major system upgrades reduce the likelihood of major issues. New features may land earlier in Windows because of the move, which may sound paradox at first.

It is unclear if Microsoft will keep the current naming scheme for updates, and release Windows 11 version 24H2, in 2024, or if it will change things once again. One possibility is the release of Windows 12 in 2024.

Now you: what is your take on this? Welcome change? (via Deskmodder)

Rumor: Microsoft plans to release new major Windows versions every three years
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Rumor: Microsoft plans to release new major Windows versions every three years
New major Windows versions could be released every three years instead of once per year. Find out what that would mean to users and admins.
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  1. John G. said on July 15, 2022 at 5:54 pm

    They can release new versions every day, because releasing such this crap is very easy. Thanks for the article. ]

  2. Henchu said on July 15, 2022 at 3:33 pm

    Like Linux 18.04 lts, 20.04lts…

  3. yellow-brick-road said on July 15, 2022 at 2:56 pm

    Of course they do what to track back, think how many developers must be working on this now, given that their only profit maker is Azure and cloud stuffs, the OS hasnt made MS any money and its just costing them, sure.

    Also better for code stability, anyone who devs knows that new code is not that stable and likely has more bugs than not, and only with time and patches it becomes mature enough to actually be released. though their testing and the way the handle bug fixes (by upvotes count) is equally moronic, bugs are bugs.

  4. just an Ed said on July 15, 2022 at 1:11 pm

    Microsoft! An OS that thinks it’s a browser! Only $19.99 a month! (Options extra).

  5. Jeff said on July 15, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 is supported till Jan 9 2029. No need to “upgrade” and lose a ton of functionality:

  6. Service Pack said on July 15, 2022 at 9:51 am

    If this is really going to happen

    2024 – macOS 15, Windows 12
    2025 – End of Support for Windows 10 LTSC 1507 and other non-LTSC releases

  7. Trey said on July 15, 2022 at 9:31 am

    I can’t help but be cynical about Microsoft regarding everything they do. All this means to me is that once the OS gets a bit stable they’ll replace it with some garbage “new” version full of junk no-one asked for.

  8. Yanta said on July 15, 2022 at 3:21 am

    Rapid release cycles are not borderline stupid, that are absolutely idiotic.

    So one massively bungled, bug riddled, bloated POS every three years, then a number of feature releases over that per year adding more unwanted, non-working rubbish, that’s also full of bugs.

    Where do they find the time to fix the stuff they keep breaking?

    How can a company such as M$ after several decades still not get a development process right?

    Relying on the general public to do their testing is never going to end up with robust code that works right.

  9. Leo said on July 14, 2022 at 8:36 pm

    If the organization isn’t willing to recognize that it’s not connecting with customers/clients, dismisses indications that users are confused or uninterested as “irrelevant outliers,” or avoids customer feedback by ‘shooting’ the messenger, then what would yet another swing of the pendulum achieve?

  10. BillyJobs said on July 14, 2022 at 8:12 pm

    Its time they layoff all the idiots at Microsoft working on Windows 11. What a crap show its been so far. Major regression in both functionality and usability everywhere. I have no idea if Microsoft will ever fix this, but they need to restore the Windows 10 functionality in the whole OS. This isn’t rocket science. Their changes didn’t “simplify” anything, they just make things less useful and usable.

    The taskbar cannot be moved (only at the bottom, not top, left, or right of the screen). The Taskbar can not have ungrouped task buttons for multiple instances. Right-clicking a blank area of the task bar has no useful options, like launching Task Manager. And if you think the task bar and notification area of Windows 11 are better than Windows 10, all I can say is you never actually use those features. The notification area in Windows 10 is VASTLY superior, in particular, it’s LARGER so you can see more, and to dismiss, you can leave your mouse in one place and click “X”, where as on Windows 11, the place you have to click to dismiss notifications constantly moves. Windows 11 Taskbar and Notification and Calendar areas are huge usability/user-experience FAILS. Period.

    Anyone involved in Windows 11 design and implementation needs to be IMMEDIATELY fired and publicly humiliated for their lack of talent.

    1. Anonymous said on January 7, 2023 at 7:45 am

      I couldn’t agree more, this is what you get when you let the whole Microsoft operation run by Indians…

  11. NeonRobot said on July 14, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    Who cares? Win7 is capable of doing any multimedia workloads w/o any limitations. Web is working flawlessly. Pos support till the end of 2024. By that time win10 will be obsolete.

  12. ECJ said on July 14, 2022 at 6:21 pm

    I wonder whether that means Microsoft will go back to paid upgrades every three years again…

    The upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro was $39.99 during the promotional period and $199.99 after the promotional period.

    1. ECJ said on July 14, 2022 at 7:10 pm

      Thinking about it more, that Satya Nadella idiot is CEO now, which probably means people will need a subscription to upgrade.

  13. userpassadmin said on July 14, 2022 at 6:09 pm

    Rapid releasing operation system is just borderline stupid. There’s no point doing because that gives reasons for other softwares to do rapid release too, Python is one example, they fucking deprecated Windows 7.

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