Microsoft seems to be changing the way it updates Windows 11, after saying the platform will only receive one major service upgrade per year in the fall, according to various reports.
The company is also expected to announce the first major feature upgrade to Windows 11 later this month, possibly on September 20. Microsoft has yet to confirm this date.
“Microsoft does not comment on future roadmaps,” a spokesperson said.
More importantly for IT admins, Microsoft seems poised to change the pace of rolling out new versions of Windows to every three years, similar to the schedule it relied on before Windows 10. That which means, if that pace is maintained, the equivalent of Windows 12 will be released in the fall of 2024.
Because support for Windows 10 won’t end until 2025, “Windows 12” is released in 2024, which means IT admins have to compete with three versions of the operating system at once: Windows 10, 11 and 12.
When an operating system expires in support, Microsoft will sometimes extend that support, which it did with Windows 10 due to the pandemic. However, the final versions of Windows are out of support, meaning customers no longer receive security updates. And while the OS can still work with programs and hardware, the chance that new programs and hardware won’t work as designed increases.
“This frequently happens as new hardware and software manufacturers make product design decisions that take advantage of the increased functionality and features in newer operating systems,” Microsoft explains in a statement. its Windows support documentation. “These manufacturers may decide to stop supporting their products on older operating systems as appropriate.”
Released in October 2021, Windows 11 will soon begin receiving small quarterly feature updates called “Moments,” similar to the company’s “feature experience packs.”
The first “Moment” update will add new tabs and sidebars to File Explorer and enable a feature called “Suggested actions” that will prompt users to take next steps based on the text given to them. select in the app, according to Windows Central.
Although Microsoft has yet to confirm a Windows 11 release date (22H2, or RTM build 22621), there has been a lot of publicity focused around September 20. The update is expected to introduce features. a new user interface, a new taskbar manager, the ability to drag and drop items from the taskbar, and more customization options for its Start menu.
Tested beta channel users driving Windows 11 22H2 updates.
Windows 11 version 22H2 will be a free update for existing users and is expected to add improvements and productivity enhancements for tablet users. Among the more than a dozen expected improvements, the operating system will include tweaks to the task manager. Instead of tabs at the top for startup processes, performance, and applications, tasks will be presented as icons running down the left column. Icons are also expected to be larger and have space between lists.
In addition, new tasks such as opening folders or running programs can be run directly from the Task Manager.
Microsoft is also adding some features to the Start menu that were once part of Windows 10 but were removed with the initial release of Windows 11; those features include the ability to create app folders and adjust the size of the pinned app area.
It is also possible to revert to drag and drop to the taskbar – the ability to drag files to the application icon on the taskbar. That allows the file to then open in the app, just like in Windows 10.
And “Suggested actions” will provide users with a menu of suggested options when they copy a date or a phone number in the calendar or contacts function.
Last year, Microsoft announced that it was moving from a semi-annual to annual release cycle for its feature updates – that is, once a year instead of in the spring and fall. That move is more in line with other platform vendors, including Apple and Google, which typically only update their feature sets once a year.
“New versions of Windows 11 will be released once a year and will receive monthly quality updates including security and non-security updates,” Microsoft explains in a support document. aid.
Annual updates will also be 40% smaller, so they will take less time to install, according to Microsoft.
Windows 11 version 22H2, codenamed Sun Valley 2, is expected to get its first “Moment” update in October.
Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, said the reported change in update cadence and appearance of incremental updates “Moment” represents more “relabeling” than an actual change.
“It’s more in line with what Apple does, and perhaps Microsoft wants to be seen as more IT-friendly, as Apple has recently been,” Gold said. “But there will still be a need for periodic unscheduled updates as security issues arise in the operating system that require immediate attention. And major feature updates don’t happen all that often anyway, so how does this save everything? “
Gold doesn’t believe that businesses should worry about handling multiple versions of Windows. “Enterprises typically don’t make major OS migrations until the end of the machine’s lifecycle. Since the typical lifespan of an enterprise PC is three to four years, it’s more likely that businesses will still only make the switch to a new operating system when they buy a new machine,” said Gold.
Since businesses typically don’t change all PCs at once, IT will still need to support different operating systems, Gold notes. Entire fleet migrations are expensive and time-consuming, so they usually only happen if Microsoft can show “a compelling benefit.”
“And then businesses still need to make sure all of their apps are going to run, so a lot of testing is going to happen,” Gold said. “It’s a little different for consumers who typically keep their devices longer and who may want to update the operating system if their machine is compatible and don’t have to worry about the cost.”
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