Microsoft could be about to begin testing Windows 12

Windows 11
(Image credit: Unsplash)

Microsoft could be set to kick off Windows 12 testing, or at least next-gen Windows testing, in earnest, if a well-known leaker is to be believed.

This is what we’ve heard from XenoPanther (via Neowin), one of the regular sources of Microsoft-related spillage on Twitter, who claims there’s a big jump coming in build numbers for the Canary channel.

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The Canary channel represents the earliest test builds for Windows 11, and rumor has it that this will be the test platform that’ll effectively be used to build out Windows 12 to eventual release.

However, so far, the Canary channel hasn’t been around for long (only since March), and has not been much different to the Dev channel (which is the next step on from Canary). Basically, both these channels have been testing more minor changes that’ll all pitch up in a similar timeframe (in many cases, likely later this year, with the big 23H2 update).

So, the theory is that if XenoPanther is right, and Microsoft jumps from the current build series 253xx all the way to 258xx, what this could indicate is the start of a whole new development process of next-gen features for Windows. And that might just be Windows 12 (if indeed that’s what the next iteration of Microsoft’s OS ends up being called).

Analysis: Leaping up to Gallium?

If this pans out – and we have to very much stay skeptical about that right now, as this is just a vague, lone whisper on the grapevine – then Canary testers could soon be treated to some big overhauls with Windows 11. Major changes that might be the initial groundwork for Windows 12, as noted.

While all this speculation is a fair old stretch, we must admit, it’s not entirely without evidence elsewhere. Another Twitter leaker, PhantomOfEarth, further theorizes we could be set to jump from the ‘Zinc’ development semester to ‘Gallium’ (next-gen), and that the “258xx builds appear to be very new”.

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Furthermore, PhantomOfEarth also points out that the new Canary build that’s just been released (25346 – which comes with nifty tweaks for laptop battery life) witnesses the return of work on the revamped File Explorer with its new details pane. Is that a hint of bigger things to come, as Microsoft gets stuck into the File Explorer overhaul which may be central to next-gen Windows?

Okay, so this is all very vague, but the takeaway is that an exciting buzz is in the air around what might be happening with Canary in the near future, and Windows testers in this channel (at the forefront of development) may soon be trying out some big changes.

In short, we might soon get a more concrete idea of what Microsoft is mulling over for inclusion in Windows 12.

Meanwhile, in the nearer-term, we’ve seen other moves in testing earlier today, in the Dev channel where Microsoft is trying out some nifty changes for Windows 11’s taskbar.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).