Microsoft to release new versions of Windows every three years

Microsoft is reportedly planning to release new versions of Windows every three years, instead of one per year, with feature drops every few months.

Windows three-year release cycle
  • Windows will get new version releases every three years.
  • Microsoft plans to increase the rollout of features outside of major releases.
  • This means that the next version will release in 2024 instead of 2023.
  • Windows 11 22H2 will be the last yearly feature update arriving this fall.

Microsoft plans to change the release of new versions of Windows to every three years instead of one feature update per year. According to a new report from Windows Central, the software giant is expected to return to the three-year development cycle for the client version of Windows like we used to see in the past while at the same time releasing new features outside of major releases.

This means that the next major release of Windows will be in 2024, three years after the launch of Windows 11 in 2021. The previous plan was to release a new version (Sun Valley 3 or 23H2) during the fall of 2023, but in light of this news, this is no longer the plan.

However, this doesn’t mean you will have to wait three years to receive new features. On the contrary, Microsoft is also planning to roll out even more features for the current version of the operating system.

The report says that with the release of Windows 11 22H2 (Sun Valley 2), the company will start its new “Moments” project, which allows deploying new features and significant changes at any point, up to four times per year, and we should see this throughout 2023 and beyond.

Microsoft isn’t new to this approach as we have seen it shipping new features through quality updates in the past for Windows 11.

Furthermore, the report also points out that the features planned for version 23H2 in 2023 will now ship in parts throughout the lifecycle of version 22H2 instead of seeing a new feature update next year.

In summary, with the release of Windows 10, Microsoft was releasing two feature updates per year. On Windows 11, the company shifted to one feature update per year, and now, it’s going back to the three-year cycle again, but with feature drops every few months.

It’s important to note that we are just saying new versions of “Windows” instead of “Windows 11” because it’s unclear if Microsoft also plans to increase the version number to in the name (“Windows 12”) or if it plans to keep “11” for a while.