Dreams of Windows 12 this year are shot down, as Windows 11 24H2 is confirmed by Microsoft

After rumors already strongly suggested that Windows 11 24H2 update was what we'd get this year, and not Windows 12, this is now official.

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If you were in any doubt, Microsoft has confirmed that this year's major update for its desktop operating system will be Windows 11 24H2.

An official announcement puts paid to any belief that the software giant might instead bring out Windows 12 - or some other all-new Windows incarnation with a different name - later this year.

Rumors had already pretty firmly indicated that Microsoft was set to run with a 24H2 update, but now with the blog post for Windows 11 preview build 26052 (for the Canary and Dev channels), this has been confirmed.

Microsoft said:

"Starting with Build 26-xx today, Windows Insiders in the Canary and Dev Channels will see the versioning updated under Settings > System > About (and winver) to version 24H2. This denotes that Windows 11, version 24H2 will be this year's annual feature update."

Of course, just because Microsoft is sticking with Windows 11, that doesn't mean this won't be a big update for 2024.

On the contrary, some major moves are expected, especially with AI and powering up the abilities of Copilot within the OS.

And indeed Windows 11 24H2 will still be an all-new version of the OS - at least underneath. By which we mean that it'll be built on a new platform, Germanium, which brings in a good deal of performance improvements and tightening up of security, all under the hood. You may not see those features, but you'll feel the benefit of them.

Zac Bowden of Windows Central noticed the confirmation that came in the blog post, and provided some further details on Microsoft's timing with this year's update, as you can see in the above tweet.

The current plan for Microsoft - which may, of course, change, if problems or delays are encountered - is that Windows 11 24H2 will hit RTM in April. Then it will debut loaded on board new AI PCs (ARM-based laptops) in June, so technically that's the update's release date - but it won't come to existing Windows 11 users then.

Rather, the general rollout to all Windows 11 PCs will happen either in September or October 2024, Bowden reckons. And that sounds about right for the annual update which tends to happen at this point, later in the year.

As for Windows 12, while that next-gen operating system - or an equivalent - may not be coming this year, it's likely to arrive in 2025, we'd bet. Mainly because Windows 10 runs out of support in October 2025, so that would mark a more natural transition.

This way, Microsoft will only have to spin two plates for cumulative updates, as it were, whereas if Windows 12 emerged this year, it'd be necessary to deal with three sets of upgrades concurrently, which would doubtless be a headache.

Meanwhile, if you're keen for more features in Windows 11, there's a feature drop coming later this month - namely Moment 5, albeit in preview to begin with. It's not a huge update, but it's something nonetheless, and the full rollout is expected to follow across March and April.

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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