After launching the original Windows 11 version 21H2 “Sun Valley” in June 2021, Microsoft is now preparing to release this year’s big update for the operating system called ‘version 22H2’ which will include new Start menu options, better taskbar, improved context menu, File Explorer with tabs, performance enhancements, bug fixes and more.
As you’re probably aware, Microsoft tests multiple feature update releases simultaneously and the company is already working on version 23H2. Essentially, what’s happening here is that Windows 11 version 22H2 is almost due and is expected to finalize over the coming months. In the meantime, the company has begun work on version 23H2.
Microsoft is now planning to release an initial build of the next feature update to Windows Insiders who’ve previously chosen the ‘Dev Channel’. You can opt to join the ‘Dev Channel’ program at any time, incidentally, as Microsoft says users should switch back to the Beta Channel if they don’t want to receive experimental builds.
Now, references to the preview build from the next development branch have already appeared on Github. Windows 11 Build 22603 (a big leap in numbers from the current Nickel development branch) has been spotted in Windows Terminal, suggesting that preparations are underway for next-gen preview builds.
Remember that the build number will be different when it releases to the Dev Channel, but it’s one of the indications that seem to imply users will soon begin testing the very first new features for next year’s update.
Folks who wish to remain on Windows 11 version 22H2 should switch to the Beta Channel and do the final testing as Microsoft fully stabilizes the update for consumers. New builds coming to the Dev Channel will be fast, mostly consisting of bug fixes initially, but new features will begin to surface in the coming weeks.