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Windows Reportedly Entering Three-Year Development Cycles

Windows 11 widgets
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is reportedly looking into a new development cycle for the world's most powerful desktop OS. According to Windows Central, the Redmond-based company will be moving Windows towards a three-year development cycle for major releases. In-between those major releases, smaller, feature-focussed updates are reportedly in the cards, with which Microsoft aims to deliver an increased cadence of new features.

If this new release schedule holds true, then Microsoft's previous plan of yearly Windows updates has been pared back. Not only would this give the company more time in-between updates to test new, version-worthy releases, but it might also alleviate the update stress for smaller businesses, institutions and creators. At the same time, it would go a long way towards making sure that Microsoft has enough features to rave about with each new version of the OS, which would likely be less true in an environment with a higher update cadence.

This would place Microsoft's next major OS revamp (word of mouth codenames it the "Next Valley" OS) sometime within 2024 - with the knock-on effect of Microsoft's planned 2023 client release of Windows (codenamed Sun Valley 3) likely having been scrapped. 

Perhaps Microsoft might even move some of the planned new features towards the next version itself - it will certainly pick up some of the would-be-deployed 2023 features divided into some number of smaller, incremental updates. Think about the Taskbar weather button, introduced to Windows 11 earlier this year.

These smaller updates will reportedly be a part of Microsoft's new "Moments" software engineering effort, which are expected to start in 2023 as a way to introduce new features towards Microsoft's current version of Windows at a cadence of up to four updates per year.

In the meantime, the latest Windows 11 release, the 22H2 update, is already available for some users to install. There are some hoops to go through, but they're relatively simple - and you'll get to play with the OS' new features before most others.

Microsoft didn't comment to Windows Central regarding the reported change.

Francisco Pires
Freelance News Writer

Francisco Pires is a freelance news writer for Tom's Hardware with a soft side for quantum computing.

  • USAFRet
    "This would place Microsoft's next major OS revamp (word of mouth codenames it the "Next Valley" OS) sometime within 2024 "

    So would this be 'Windows 12', or are they going back to the concept of just calling it "Windows" ?
    Reply
  • ThatMouse
    My Explorer.exe is replaced by a freeware app (ExplorerPatcher) developed by one dude, and similarly File Explorer is replaced by Total Commander. The Microsoft Store is still hated by everyone. But keep trying with those "features" Microsoft.
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    only win updates i will actually care about:

    No longer forcing me to update (im tech savvy and will update patches for issues but i dont want EVERY update as a lot of it is bloat or not used)

    Giving option to get rid of win11 start menu and go back to a normal one (really loathe them for making 8 and 11 be 2nd class to tablet/android look -.-)
    Reply
  • Eximo
    hotaru251 said:
    only win updates i will actually care about:

    No longer forcing me to update (im tech savvy and will update patches for issues but i dont want EVERY update as a lot of it is bloat or not used)

    Giving option to get rid of win11 start menu and go back to a normal one (really loathe them for making 8 and 11 be 2nd class to tablet/android look -.-)

    It's all a conspiracy to correct left side preference! When was the last time you remember noticing an advertisement on the right side of the screen! Fetch me my tinfoil hat! We'll take this all the way to Pentaverate!
    Reply
  • missingxtension
    Finally back to actually tested release cycles. The stupid Android and Apple (the metoos, copycats) release schedules are soo stupid. Those rolling releases and repository systems can only work on Open source OSes that are continually worked on, like Darwin or Debían. They managed to ruin the rolling release cycle by forcing upgrades to hardware (with closed hardware) and locking repositories. You want root, no nfc for you.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    hotaru251 said:
    No longer forcing me to update (im tech savvy and will update patches for issues
    That is a losing battle.
    Windows used to be that way, pre WIn 10.

    Result?
    Massive botnets and virus.

    You are tech savvy...I am tech savvy.
    Far too many people are not. And they share the internet with the rest of us.
    Reply
  • XaveT
    I smell corporate greed...

    Equip Tin Foil Hat
    They won't actually test or do anything better, they just have to throw less resources at it since they've managed to push a lot of businesses to the M365 plans. It's all about promising the moon, jacking up the price, then paring back features/speed. That pace was untenable, but we didn't really have a choice but to go to M365 in Enterprise.

    Well done, Microsoft, you pile of rancid garbage, well done.

    Unequip Tin Foil Hat
    Reply