Windows 11 successor could already be in the works

Windows 11 File Explorer on a PC in an office
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Windows 11 could be replaced by Windows 12, and Microsoft might start work on the new operating system as soon as next month, according to the rumor mill.

So, first off, don’t just put your skeptical hat on for this one – maybe also don a cardigan of caution, and, er, waistcoat of wariness – because this is seriously sketchy speculation.

It comes from German tech site (opens in new tab), as spotted by Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab) (which notes that what appeared to be a corroborating tweet from Swift on Security turned out to be a joke – a pretty obvious one too – though the original rumor still stands). According to the site’s inside source, Microsoft will begin work on the successor to Windows 11 in March.

Deskmodder observes that Microsoft has already been recruiting staff to work on this theoretical Windows 12, but that the OS could still be a long way off, because it’s being built from ‘scratch’ or close to it.

Yes, the other main claim here is that while Windows 11 is still very much Windows 10 under the hood in many ways, Windows 12 will be a very different beast from the ground-up. Apply more caution at this point, naturally…

Analysis: How likely is Windows 12, really?

If this is the case as outlined above, and we’re looking at an all-new version of Windows, possibly called Windows 12, then it will indeed be a long way down the road. It’s obviously a major undertaking to build the OS effectively from ‘scratch’, or at least to revamp it with a completely different core to that shared by Windows 10 and 11.

This isn’t a rumor we’re convinced by, in all honesty, and we’ll need to hear it from more sources than Deskmodder before we begin to be sold on the idea that there is a next-gen Windows that work is literally about to begin on. Though if that is the case, obviously we will hear further rumors soon enough, so we can expect to know more of the truth behind this speculation without much of a wait.

What could, of course, be happening here is that someone has the wrong end of the stick somewhere, and while a big project may be about to kick off in March at Microsoft, that may simply be the next major incarnation of Windows 11.

Ultimately, this is all guesswork, but we wouldn’t really expect a Windows 12 to be in the pipeline for anything like the near future. But then again, we didn’t expect Windows 11 either (mainly because Microsoft had said Windows 10 was the final version, ever).

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).