Microsoft is returning to one major feature update a year on Windows 11

Windows 11 Widget2 Razerbook
Windows 11 Widget2 Razerbook (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is returning to one major feature update a year on Windows 11.
  • New releases will ship in the second half of the year.
  • One update a year means more meaningful releases.

Microsoft has announced that Windows 11 will be returning to a once-a-year major update cycle, matching the rest of the industry. Throughout the lifecycle of Windows 10, Microsoft attempted to ship two major updates a year, but often struggled with stability and performance issues as a result.

With Windows 11, Microsoft is giving up on that, and going back to doing one major update a year just like Apple and Google do. One major update a year is absolutely fine, as it means Microsoft can make these major updates more meaningful by putting more changes into them, as the company now has longer to develop them.

Microsoft says Windows Updates on Windows 11 are 40% smaller too, meaning they less time to download and install.

Windows 11 ships this fall, and Microsoft says new feature updates will arrive in the second half of each year. Microsoft will continue to update Windows 11 throughout the year with smaller cumulative style updates just as it always has done, and those who want access to new features sooner can always join the Windows Insider Program, which gets new builds of the OS almost every week.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads