Windows 12 – What is new, System Requirements, and release date

Windows 12 features, changes, improvements, hardware requirements, release date, prices, free upgrades, and more.

Based on the patterns observed with the release of Windows 11 and previous major Windows versions, it is likely that Windows 12 will make its debut in the fall of 2024. Our confidence in this projection stems from various factors. Firstly, a report from Windows Central indicates that Microsoft is departing from prolonged development cycles, opting for a three-year release cycle and abandoning the Windows-as-a-service model.

A significant supporting element is a glimpse into a “new” Windows experience showcased unexpectedly during the Ignite Keynote in 2022. This revelation strongly suggests ongoing efforts in developing Windows 12, signaling its imminent arrival.

The concept of a three-year update cycle is not novel for Microsoft. Following the release of Windows Vista in 2006, subsequent major versions, including Windows 7 in 2009, Windows 8 in 2012, and Windows 10 in 2015, adhered to this update cadence. Notably, Windows 11 was unveiled in 2021.

With Microsoft now poised with its product, there is a deliberate move back to the traditional three-year update cycle. Therefore, the notion that Windows 12 might be released in 2024 is not without merit, supported by compelling reasons that reinforce the belief in an imminent arrival.

Windows 12

What is new in Windows 12, Features, Changes, and System Requirements

Shift in Update Frequency for Windows 12?

In a previous report, we highlighted the intention of Windows 11, under Panos Panay’s leadership, to transition towards smaller “Moment updates” distributed throughout the year. However, with Panay’s departure from Microsoft in September 2023, the new leadership overseeing Windows development is inclined to revert to annual feature updates.

According to a recent report from Windows Central, Windows 12 is poised to return to an annual release cycle, consolidating major feature updates within each yearly release. These changes are expected to be implemented after the launch of Windows 12. This indicates that one more minor update is likely in store for Windows 11, potentially slated for release in February or March of 2024.

See: Windows 11 Build 22621.2361 KB5030310 brings Moment 4 update with Copilot

Windows 12 Upcoming Features Unveiled

While Microsoft has yet to confirm the existence of the new version officially, several leaks have surfaced, providing insights into the anticipated features and changes. Here’s a comprehensive overview of what we know about the upcoming enhancements in Windows 12.

Revamped Desktop User Interface

Recent reports suggest that Microsoft is actively developing an innovative AI-powered Windows Shell with an advanced version of Copilot seamlessly integrated. Unlike previous static desktop interfaces, Windows 12 is expected to feature an ever-active Copilot in the background, aiding in efficient search, project retrieval, and contextual understanding to enhance user productivity.

Microsoft had previously introduced the Timeline feature in Windows 10, which was later removed in Windows 11. With Windows 12, the Timeline feature is rumored to make a comeback, allowing users to revisit previous apps, websites, and projects. Furthermore, users can employ natural language search for files, with Copilot promptly presenting the relevant files without requiring specific filenames.

The new user interface may introduce a floating Taskbar positioned at the top of the screen. However, this experimental interface may not be finalized for release in 2024. Additionally, Microsoft aims to optimize Windows 12 for touch input, catering to both mouse and keyboard interactions.

There are strong indications of a separate Taskbar in Windows 12, as rumors suggest Microsoft’s intention to decouple the desktop (including the taskbar and notification center) from explorer.exe. The ongoing process of separating the “Immersive Shell” from File Explorer further supports this possibility.

AI Dominance – Copilot’s Advanced Features

In the upcoming Windows 12, a significant paradigm shift is on the horizon, placing artificial intelligence (AI) at the forefront of user interactions. Microsoft is on the brink of introducing the next evolution in computing with its forthcoming Surface laptops, proudly christened as true AI PCs. These cutting-edge devices are poised to redefine user experiences through a myriad of AI-centric features, spearheaded by the formidable Copilot.

AI-Powered Interactive Shell

At the heart of this AI revolution is an advanced interactive shell, seamlessly integrated and powered by Copilot. Unlike conventional static interfaces, this dynamic shell is designed to adapt and respond intelligently to user needs. Copilot’s continuous presence in the background ensures an active and responsive system, enhancing user productivity by intuitively assisting in tasks such as searching, project retrieval, and contextual understanding with minimal user input.

Super Resolution Feature with On-Device NPU

One of the standout features in this AI-powered extravaganza is the Super Resolution capability, fueled by an on-device Neural Processing Unit (NPU). This groundbreaking technology is set to elevate the visual experience by utilizing the NPU computational prowess to upscale graphics content in videos and games. The result is a visually stunning display showcasing the potential of AI to enhance the overall quality of multimedia content on Windows 12 devices.

Enhanced Live Captions and Real-time Translation

Live Captions, a feature already present in Windows is in for a significant upgrade in Windows 12. The improved version is expected to support real-time translation in multiple languages, making it an invaluable tool for users engaged in multilingual communication. Whether in video calls or other interactive settings, this enhancement emphasizes Microsoft’s commitment to breaking down language barriers and fostering global connectivity through AI-driven capabilities.

Natural Language Input for Windows Settings

Copilot’s evolution extends to facilitating natural language inputs for modifying Windows settings. This means users can interact with their devices using everyday language, instructing Copilot to make adjustments and troubleshoot issues seamlessly. This shift towards a more conversational and intuitive interaction model aligns with Microsoft’s vision of making computing more accessible and user-friendly.

Faster and Seamless Updates

In the evolving landscape of operating systems, Windows 12 is poised to revolutionize the update experience, leveraging a forward-thinking approach to enhance speed, efficiency, and overall user satisfaction. The anticipated update strategy in Windows 12 draws inspiration from successful models, particularly Google Project Mainline and Treble, known for their efficacy in Android and Chrome OS.

Modular Operating System Design

This approach, rooted in the principles of Windows Core OS (WCOS), strategically isolates key system elements such as operating system files, drivers, and applications. By classifying these components, Windows 12 aims to achieve heightened system stability and security, ensuring a more resilient and robust computing environment.

Seamless Updates with Different Partitions

The introduction of seamless updates in Windows 12 is a pivotal advancement. This innovative strategy involves the utilization of distinct partitions for the update process. By employing separate partitions, Windows 12 endeavors to streamline the installation process, minimizing downtime and optimizing user convenience. Furthermore, this partitioned update structure is designed to facilitate seamless rollbacks in case of unforeseen errors, providing users with a safety net to revert to a stable system state effortlessly.

FFU Images for Efficiency

Windows 12’s update methodology takes a cue from the efficiency-driven practices observed in ChromeOS. The use of Full Flash Update (FFU) images contributes to a more efficient update installation process. FFU images, known for their effectiveness in ChromeOS, are expected to expedite the update deployment, enhancing the overall speed and responsiveness of Windows 12. This aligns with Microsoft’s commitment to providing users with a modern and streamlined computing experience.

In essence, Windows 12’s approach to updates transcends the traditional paradigm, embracing modularity and efficiency. The implementation of a modular operating system, coupled with the introduction of seamless updates and the use of FFU images, positions Windows 12 at the forefront of contemporary operating system design. As users eagerly anticipate these advancements, Windows 12 stands poised to deliver a seamless, secure, and efficient update experience, redefining expectations in the realm of digital operating systems.

New Edge Experience

Internally testing a radical concept named “Phoenix,” Microsoft is reimagining its Edge browser for Windows 12. The revamped browser includes:

  • A split-screen mode.
  • A redesigned UI/UX with enhanced tab management features.
  • Tab Activity Center.
  • Integration with functionalities akin to Digital Wellbeing/Screen Time.

The launch of the Phoenix version of Edge is anticipated to coincide with the release of Windows 12.

Empowering Windows on ARM

With the introduction of the Snapdragon X Elite, Microsoft, OEMs, and developers are significantly investing in the ARM platform. The powerful Snapdragon X Elite chipset competes with Apple’s best M-series processors, marking a substantial upgrade for Windows on ARM (WoA). Enhanced driver compatibility and efforts to develop ARM-compatible apps make Windows 12 the preferred OS for a superior Windows on ARM experience.

It is rumored that consumer products featuring the Snapdragon X Elite chipset will be launched by OEMs in June 2024, equipped with Windows 12 out-of-the-box and showcasing new AI experiences. The robust NPU on the Snapdragon X Elite SoC promises swift and efficient on-device AI functionalities

Windows 12 Features and Enhancements Wishlist

  • Bloatware-Free Experience: Users express a strong desire for Windows 12 to offer a clean, streamlined experience devoid of unnecessary pre-installed software, commonly referred to as bloatware. This would contribute to a more efficient and user-friendly operating system.
  • Improved Context Menu: Users advocate for an enhanced context menu, aiming for a more intuitive and streamlined interaction with the operating system. The goal is to minimize the number of clicks required for various actions, thereby optimizing user navigation.
  • Enhanced Widgets and Customization: The wishlist includes a call for the return of dynamic widgets akin to those seen in Windows Vista and Windows 7. The desire is for these widgets to be flexible and customizable, allowing users to personalize their desktop environment according to their preferences.
  • Revamped Start Menu Search Experience: Users express a need for improvements in the Start Menu search functionality. The wishlist includes the ability to choose a preferred search engine, giving users more control over how they access and retrieve information on their systems.
  • UI Wrapper for Handheld Devices: With the rise of handheld devices like the ROG Ally and Steam Deck, users are looking for a dedicated user interface (UI) wrapper in Windows 12. This wrapper would ensure optimal compatibility and user-friendliness when using the operating system on smaller, portable devices.
  • Unified Control Panel and Settings Experience: The wishlist calls for a more cohesive and unified Control Panel and Settings interface. This would simplify the process of configuring and customizing system settings, creating a more intuitive experience for users.
  • Enhanced Windows-Android Ecosystem Features: Users aspire to see a stronger integration between the Windows and Android ecosystems. The desire is for features that go beyond the Phone Link app, fostering a seamless connection and interaction between Windows devices and the Android platform.

Hardware Requirements of Windows 12

  • Built-in Neural Processing Unit (NPU) Requirement: Rumors are circulating about a potential requirement for a built-in Neural Processing Unit (NPU) in Windows 12. However, the integrity of this information is uncertain, and it is noted that such a requirement, if true, could pose challenges for existing consumer PCs lacking an NPU.
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM): The importance of a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is highlighted, emphasizing its role in enhancing the security of Windows computers. The text suggests that the TPM requirement is likely to persist in Windows 12.
  • Compatibility with Windows 11-Capable Machines: Assurance is given that if the rumored NPU requirement doesn’t materialize, Windows 12 is expected to be compatible with machines capable of running Windows 11, providing a smooth transition for users.

Windows 12 Price: Free Upgrade or Retail License?

  • Historical Upgrade Policies: The text reflects on Microsoft’s historical upgrade policies, indicating a trend of offering free upgrades for users transitioning between major Windows versions. This includes the transition from Windows 10 to 11.
  • Free Upgrade Expectations: Anticipation is expressed that the upgrade from Windows 11 to 12 will likely be free, similar to previous transitions. Eligible PCs currently running Windows 10 may also have the option for a complimentary upgrade to Windows 12.
  • Retail License for New PCs: For users building new PCs or those opting for a fresh installation of Windows 12, a retail license from Microsoft may be necessary. The estimated cost is provided, aligning with the pricing structure for previous versions like Windows 10 and 11 Home.
  • Option to Download Windows 11 and Update: An alternative option is presented for users to download and install Windows 11 for free and subsequently update to Windows 12. However, it is noted that this approach may result in missing out on certain features introduced specifically in Windows 12.
  • Regular Article Updates: Readers are encouraged to stay tuned for ongoing updates, as the article promises to be regularly refreshed with the latest news and leaks regarding Windows 12. The comment section is open for readers to share their questions and insights.

Wrapping up

Windows 12 is anticipated to launch in the fall of 2024, following a three-year release cycle and a shift away from Windows-as-a-service. The unexpected unveiling of a new Windows experience in 2022 and reports from Windows Central reinforce this projection. Notably, Windows 12 is set to return to an annual update cycle, bringing forth significant enhancements. Leaks hint at groundbreaking features, including an AI-powered interface, advanced Copilot capabilities, seamless updates, a revamped Edge browser, and improved Windows on ARM integration. The hardware requirements and upgrade options reflect Microsoft’s historical practices, with the promise of regular article updates as more information emerges.

That’s all!!

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Topics:  Windows 12
About Sunita
Love to play with Windows 11 and 10. Suggestion - Going for Registry change or system files edit then remember to take a backup or create a restore point before Starting.