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Microsoft Shifts Away from Three-Year Update Cycle for Windows, Confirms 'Windows 11 24H2' as Major Feature Update for 2024

Microsoft's decision to shift away from its three-year update cycle for Windows was confirmed in an official blog post announcing that "Windows 11 24H2" will serve as the major feature update for 2024. This development effectively postpones the anticipated release of Windows 12 to 2025 or beyond.

The strategy shift was subtly hinted at in the changelog for a recent Windows 11 Insider Preview Build, where Microsoft stated that Windows Insiders would see the versioning updated to "24H2" under Settings > System > About (and winver). This change signifies that Windows 11, version 24H2, will be the annual feature update for the year, aligning with Microsoft's new approach of releasing one significant update per year, scheduled for the second half of each calendar year.

This shift away from smaller, more frequent updates, known as "Moments" updates, may be driven by Microsoft's concern about userbase fragmentation. With Windows 10 maintaining a dominant 66% market share and Windows 11 trailing behind at 28%, introducing Windows 12 in 2024 could potentially exacerbate fragmentation within the Windows ecosystem, a scenario Microsoft likely aims to avoid.

Instead, users can anticipate significant AI-powered features and other advancements with the Windows 11 24H2 update. While specific details about these AI features are yet to be revealed, Microsoft is expected to provide more information in the coming months. However, concepts previously rumored for Windows 12, such as a redesigned desktop interface featuring a "floating taskbar," are unlikely to materialize before 2025.

In terms of release timing, Windows 11 24H2 builds are slated to reach manufacturers (RTM) in April 2024, with general public availability tentatively expected between September and October 2024. This timeline provides users with insight into when they can anticipate the arrival of the next major feature update for Windows 11.

Windows 11 24H2 builds are slated to reach manufacturers (RTM) in April 2024
Windows 11 24H2 builds are slated to reach manufacturers (RTM) in April 2024

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