Microsoft is gearing up for its next big release, Windows 12, codenamed “Hudson Valley”. This new operating system will be part of the company’s “CorePC” project, an effort to modernize and modularize the Windows platform. There are several hints floating around about what we can expect from Windows 12, including faster updates, AI integrations, and a more modular OS with components that will live on several different partitions.
Microsoft has been working for years to modernize the Windows platform, including attempts to build a separate version (Windows 10X) for users that don’t need all the legacy baggage that has accumulated in Windows over the years. With the world transitioning to hybrid work and study, the company decided to scrap that project and bake those ideas into Windows while removing what it considered to be superfluous apps and features. The most recent attempt before Windows 11 was something called “Windows Core OS”, which presented technical challenges. Still, Windows Central’s Zac Bowden reports the Redmond giant is building the successor to Windows 11 (known as Windows 12 for now) with many of the principles of Core OS in mind, all part of a project dubbed “CorePC”.
Windows 12 will be separated into “states” that live on different partitions on the storage drive, making managing and updating Windows easier for Microsoft and a less frightening experience for Windows users. This new architecture will make it slightly easier to keep Windows secure, and updating one part of the OS will be faster and likely won’t always require a system restart to complete. This approach will also allow Microsoft to lower the footprint of Windows for devices that would be slow and unresponsive when running “full-fat” Windows. For devices used in education, it may become easier to wipe them in a similar way to the “powerwash” feature found on Chromebooks.
For devices that require compatibility with legacy apps, Windows 12 will reportedly have a compatibility layer dubbed “Neon” to help ease users into transitioning to the new OS. There are also rumors of a version of CorePC/Windows 12 that will be devoid of legacy features and optimized for upcoming silicon from Intel, AMD, Nvidia, and Qualcomm, with a huge focus on AI-based features.
The CorePC project is still in its infancy at this point, so a lot could change before Microsoft decides to ship it to users. The plan is to debut the concept with Windows 12 sometime in 2024, but that may well be delayed if the company faces any major roadblocks along the way. In the meantime, Microsoft has already increased the feature release cadence for Windows 11, delivering them in the form of “monthly quality updates” as opposed to bundling them together as part of annual updates.With Windows 12, Microsoft is looking to create a more modular, AI-powered operating system that’s easier to update and manage, and that can run on a wider range of devices. While there’s still a lot we don’t know about this upcoming release, it’s clear that Microsoft is betting big on the future of Windows. We’ll have to wait and see if the company’s efforts pay off.