Microsoft’s major update for 2024 will be Windows 11 24H2, we’ve again heard, but it’ll be a big old drop of multiple features – plus foundational changes – that’s expected to arrive in September.
That’s the latest from Microsoft rumor-monger Zac Bowden of Windows Central fame, a generally reliable source for all things Windows.
Bowden has previously asserted that Microsoft is going to keep Windows 11 and push out a 24H2 upgrade later this year – rather than launching Windows 12, or whatever an all-new version of the OS might be called – so this concept is nothing new.
Also fully expected is that the update will be heavily focused on next-gen AI experiences (for those AI PCs Microsoft keeps banging on about), and we’re told by Bowden that the 2024 Update will be a much larger affair than 23H2 (which was pretty minor, so again, that’s no surprise).
However, according to Bowden, 24H2 will represent a seriously big change in direction, and will be built on a new version of the Windows platform that’ll usher in various performance and security updates alongside a raft of new features.
What new features? Well, given the mentioned weight on the AI side of the equation, obviously there’ll be upgrades for Copilot. We’re told the desktop assistant will enhance the Windows interface and find ways to boost productivity in terms of apps, search, and more besides.
Bowden doesn’t go into any real specifics that haven’t been mentioned before, but in short, Copilot will help you do more stuff in a swifter and more convenient manner in Windows, as well as all the existing Bing Chat-style chops the AI has.
The leaker does expand on one point, though: that Microsoft is planning a Copilot timeline/history feature that’ll allows users to locate any file, image, app, basically anything that has been previously opened on their PC, using the AI. A history-based super-search, in other words, that’ll likely allow you to do things like request ‘that file where I wrote about Nvidia’s new RTX Super graphics cards’ or similar more natural language-based requests than traditional search. (We’ve heard rumors along these lines before).
All the stuff you see in testing in early channels is likely to be for 24H2, and there are other additions coming, too. For example, Phone Link improvements are inbound, including being able to use your smartphone as a makeshift webcam for the PC (pretty nifty).
Analysis: Possible twists in the tale
Some still believe that this will be Windows 12, or some incarnation of next-gen Windows (Windows AI?) rather than just a 24H2 update for Windows 11. That’d make sense in some ways, given that this is Windows built on an entirely new platform (called Germanium) and it’s a big thing coming alongside those AI PCs we keep hearing about.
Bowden thinks a full name change is unlikely, though, and still maintains this will be the 24H2 update even though it ushers in extensive changes.
One reason Microsoft may not want Windows 12 is that it would fragment the user base into Windows 10, 11, and 12, which could be confusing for users, and a pain for Microsoft to handle in terms of development and patching. Remember, Windows 10 isn’t dead anymore, and Microsoft recently reversed the decision to freeze new features coming to the older OS, and is now piping fresh functionality across – including, most importantly, Copilot.
All of this is just speculation, mind, and even Microsoft itself may not have made the final decision as to whether this will be another update for Windows 11, or an all-new next-gen Windows.
Bowden lays out the development timeframe and as mentioned, the projected release for the theoretical 24H2 update is currently September (though it could be later in the year).
There’s a slight twist, though, in that the platform it’s built on, Germanium, will apparently be ready in April, after which work on finalizing the Windows 11 2024 Update will begin. It’s possible that new AI PCs with 24H2 on board could appear as soon as July, but the upgrade won’t come to existing Windows 11 installations until September at the earliest.