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Next major update of Windows 11 prepares for launch

Microsoft's flagship OS still leagues behind predecessor in terms of adoption

The next major version of Windows 11 is drawing near with the code hitting the Insider Release Preview Channel.

Build 22621, which has been floating around the Beta Channel since May 11, arrived last night.

Back in May, Microsoft noted that the disappearance of the watermark from the desktop "doesn't mean we're done." However, its arrival in the Release Preview Channel means that, fixes aside, it is pretty much feature-complete and ready to roll.

Commercial Windows Insiders will be offered the build as an optional update (for computers that meet Microsoft's infamous hardware requirements) assuming their devices have been configured for the Release Preview Channel.

The update is also available to "Seekers" in the Windows Insider program as well as via Windows Server Update and the Azure Marketplace.

The move to Release Preview follows Microsoft opening submissions to the Windows Hardware Compatibility Program at the end of May.

While Microsoft has not revealed when the new release will arrive for ordinary users, the company did say, "Windows 11, version 22H2 based systems may ship with drivers that have achieved compatibility with Windows 11, version 21H2 until Sept 5th, 2022."

It is fair to say that Windows 11 has not set the world alight. After an initial surge following general availability, adoption stalled earlier this year. Factors such as enterprise caution and hardware requirements that made many Windows 10 systems suddenly obsolete have contributed.

While Microsoft has celebrated the pace of adoption, it has kept quiet when it comes to actual figures. As of May 2022, Statcounter put the OS as yet to overtake the obsolete Windows 7, let alone catch up to Windows 10, which will remain in support for a good few years yet.

With the first anniversary of its launch approaching, hardware refresh cycles and increasing confidence in the enterprise should mean an increase in adoption. Microsoft may update the software every few weeks, but as anyone who has had to manage the company's software will attest, it's hard to shake the habit of waiting for the first major update. ®

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