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Oops! Microsoft may have accidentally given us a peek at Windows 12.

The successor to Windows 11 may have been revealed.

Published onOctober 13, 2022

  • During Microsoft’s Ignite 2022 conference, it showed off a screenshot of a desktop running Microsoft Teams.
  • The screenshot appeared to show a different version of Windows than we’re familiar with.
  • What was shown may be a prototype of Microsoft’s next operating system.

Microsoft may have shown us a little more than it meant to at its Ignite 2022 event. A screenshot the company shared with the audience may have given us a peek at a prototype of Windows 11’s successor.

This year’s Ignite keynote was mostly about Microsoft 365. According to Windows Central, at one point during the conference, Microsoft put up an image of a Windows desktop running Microsoft Teams. At a quick glance, nothing remarkable is going on in the image. But upon further inspection, some noticed that the desktop looked a little different from previous iterations of Windows we’ve seen to date.

It’s possible that what was shown in that screenshot was a prototype of Windows 12. Backing up this hypothesis, Zac Bowden of Windows Central confirmed that the design seen in the picture was something that was being shown internally at Microsoft a few months ago. And apparently, there are a few other variations of this prototype with one having the UI elements sitting on a translucent bar, as Bowden states.

Based on the image, we can see a floating taskbar at the bottom of the screen. We can also see an icon for the Wi-Fi and a battery power indicator in the top right corner. There’s also a search bar at the top center and weather details presented in the top left corner. Altogether, one could draw comparisons to UI’s we’ve seen from macOS and Linux.

Since the image wasn’t 100% clear, Bowden created a mock-up of what the prototype is supposed to look like.

The next version of Windows is codenamed “Next Valley” internally and is expected to release in 2024. The prototype shown yesterday is representative of the design goals Microsoft is trying to achieve according to Bowden’s sources.

After Windows 11 launched, the update left a lot of people feeling like it was closer to being Windows 10.5 than a generational leap. If this screenshot is anything to go by, it looks like Windows 12 could provide the generational leap we’ve been looking for.

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