Rumors are spreading about Windows 12. Yes, 12.
Windows 11 just celebrated its one-year anniversary with the major update 22H2, but it looks like Microsoft isn’t stopping there. They are reportedly already working on the next iteration with Windows 12.
Mind you, this information only qualifies as a rumor as Microsoft has officially denied working on Windows 12 (but come on, they must be planning that project already). Given all of that, the details are a little sketchy but here is what we know.
When is Windows 12 coming?
We aren’t expecting Windows 12 for a few years, speculating a Fall 2024 release. That’s about 3 years from the release of Windows 11. Historically a new Windows version came about every 3 years, then with Windows 10 Microsoft adopted a cycle of major annual updates instead. They maintained that for 6 years, until the release of Windows 11. With these rumors of Windows 12 already hitting, it looks like the schedule is returning to a major release every 3 years.
Will Windows 12 be free?
Always one of the first questions is how much it will cost. Microsoft has been consumer-friendly when it comes to upgrades for the last few releases, so there is no reason to think they will change pace now. Of course, that is for existing users, who already own a license for their OS. If you don’t own a license for Windows at all, of course it will have a cost attached to it. If you’re not building your PCs then that won’t really affect you anyways, since the OS cost would be included in whatever new computer you purchase.
What are the Windows 12 hardware requirements?
The hardware specs needed to run Windows 12 are not currently known. Seeing as Windows 11 required a major increase in minimum system requirements over Windows 10, I wouldn’t expect there to be a radical jump again. It isn’t a stretch to think it will remain along the same lines as Windows 11. With that in mind, part of the increases in requirements for Windows 11 were security-focused, so we can expect to see any changes to the security landscape in the next 2 years be packed in as a requirement as well.
What are the Windows 12 features?
We can only speculate based on the new features in Windows 11 22H2, the preview versions of the Insider Program, and what was seen at Microsoft’s annual developer conference, Ignite.
The biggest talked about items are as follows:
The taskbar will become “floating” instead of attaching to the bottom of the screen. The search and taskbar will move up to the top and center of the screen. The items normally in the lower right corner of the taskbar, such as time, date, power, and sound will move to the upper right corner. Also, a widgets panel might be added into the upper left corner.
More than anything, we are expecting to see minor improvements with big impact on the usability of the operating system. Windows 11 is still the current OS and will be streamlined even more over the next year. That will set the foundation for the Windows 12 launch, and (knock on wood) ensure it is stable and bug free for users. This of course is always a sigh of relief for businesses upgrading to the new release.
As the grapevine likes to talk, there will be more information made available in the future. We’ll keep tabs on it and share all the important and interesting news as we find out. We’ll also watch for ways Microsoft blends it’s Windows versions for a smoother, more unified experience.
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