Windows 11 monthly updates have killed Sun Valley 2 before it even released

Windows 11
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Since Windows 10, Microsoft has had a consistent plan of updating Windows every six months with bug fixes and updates. This carried on for Windows 11 until Microsoft's recent event when it announced a bunch of features, such as tabs in File Explorer.

Four months into 2022, we've already seen two major updates. Normally, these would have arrived six months apart, usually named '2H22' to help reference the major update for that time.

There's been constant speculation on a big update to Windows 11 called Sun Valley 2. All these current updates, however, make us wonder if we should still expect a major update with a codename for Windows, or if "Sun Valley" is now irrelevant.

Sunset for the Valley

Back in the days of Windows XP and Windows Vista, major updates would be called 'Service Pack', with new features and a collection of bug fixes that would arrive a couple of years after the original Windows release, and that would be it.

However, the way we use PCs in recent years has prompted Microsoft, and other companies, to refine their software over time, often in response to customer feedback, and also to make some features more prevalent than they once were.

Microsoft had been following a six-month timeline for major updates in Windows 10, and then a yearly schedule for Windows 11. But it's telling that we're already seeing rumored features for Sun Valley 2 already arrive now.

Tabs in File Explorer

(Image credit: Microsoft)

While we've reached out to the company to see whether the timeline of major updates has changed, it already looks to be happening. If you were waiting for a significant update to arrive, it's most likely coming in a smaller update in the coming weeks or months, instead.

It's a method that would be great for Apple to follow, as well. The era of yearly updates on macOS from WWDC has little meaning for anyone. Having a constant stream of minor updates could help users gain new features while keeping developers in the loop of what's coming up.

More incremental updates that are larger than the bug and relatively minor changes Apple delivers throughout the year could help Apple developers more effectively adapt their apps to these updates, as well. Otherwise, they're left scrambling to ready major changes in time for the typical September releases of the new macOS or iOS versions.

Such a change would be a good thing for Apple fans. On the Windows side, it's an adjustment in perspective. Sun Valley 2 has no meaning anymore - the new Windows 11 updates are either here already, or they're already in the Windows Insider program, which allows you to test features under development that may arrive in an official capacity.

It looks to be a new standard for Microsoft and Windows 11 as a whole, and we're all for it. Your move Apple.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter, 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.