It's not Windows 12 (but it's getting there): Windows 11 24H2 previewed in latest build

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(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 12 is a mysterious figure, looming on the horizon of the tech world — but like some strange optical illusion, no matter how much time passes, it doesn't seem to get any closer.

Microsoft's "Next Valley" installment of its popular operating system has been a part of the rumor mill for some time now, and with Windows 11's low adoption rates, many have expected the tech giant to cut its losses and go all in with a new milestone release.

Windows 12: If not now, when?

2024 had previously been earmarked as the year we finally get to see Microsoft's next-gen, Windows 12 operating system, but a recent post to the Windows Insider Blog may have poured cold water on that notion.

The post, announcing the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build (26052), predominantly focused on the upcoming update for those in the Canary and Dev Channels, states that "Windows 11, version 24H2 will be this year's annual feature update." While it doesn't outright say that Windows 12 won't be a factor this year, the official naming of this version does put to bed rumors of a Windows 12 24H2 upgrade heading our way.

Given Microsoft's refusal to even acknowledge that development has begun on it's next milestone release, many assume that Windows 12 will eventually be the sticker slapped atop the culmination of Microsoft's current annual feature updates. In the meantime, these updates are glimpses into where the operating system is heading, a beta version of Windows 12 in all but name.

As for when we could expect that potential rebranding, we can't say for sure. However, given Microsoft's confirmation of the upcoming Windows build's name, it's likely that we will have to look towards 2025 at the earliest.

In the meantime...

While Windows 12 is kept on ice, there's still plenty to come with this year's Windows 11, version 24H2 update. While it's still early days, the Windows Insider blog post still contained a swathe of new Windows features announced for the upcoming preview build.

Not only will the Linux-familiar Sudo command make its debut, but Windows will also gain wider accessibility support for Bluetooth Low Energy Audio (LE Audio) hearing aids, and improved Copilot integration.

For a full list of features in testing, check out the Windows Insider Blog for more information.

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Rael Hornby
Content Editor

Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.