Posey's Tips & Tricks

'Windows 12' Is Not What You Think It Is

Reports of a Windows 10 successor in the wild have been greatly exaggerated. Brien digs into what's really going on with the rumored "Windows 12."

For the past five years, Windows 10 has been Microsoft's primary desktop operating system. Although the company shows no signs of retiring Windows 10 anytime soon, there have been a lot of rumors circulating about an upcoming Windows release called "Windows 12."

That being the case, I wanted to take the opportunity to put some of these rumors to rest by talking about what Windows 12 is, and what it is not.

Let me begin by saying that despite what some Web sites seem to suggest, Microsoft has not made any announcements pertaining to Windows 12. Even so, there are fake YouTube videos claiming to show off the new operating system, as well as Web pages dedicated to describing all of the new features that we can expect in the upcoming Windows 12 release.

So does this mean that Windows 12 is a complete hoax? The answer to that question is not as straightforward as you might imagine. Believe it or not, Windows 12 is a real product. It is important to note, however, that Windows 12 was not created by Microsoft.

So if Microsoft didn't build Windows 12, who did and what is it?

Some of the details surrounding Windows 12 are a bit sketchy, but a couple of months ago, someone posted a photo on Reddit of what appeared to be a homemade "Windows 12 Lite" operating system. According to Techworm, this operating system, which claims to be three times faster than Windows 10, is actually nothing more than a Linux Lite LTS distribution that has been configured to look like Windows.

It's tempting to dismiss Windows 12 Lite as being nothing more than a gag, but one has to consider whether the claim that Windows 12 is three times faster than Windows 10 is true. Let me just say upfront that I have not actually had the opportunity to try Windows 12 for myself (nor would I encourage anyone else to purchase a counterfeit Windows operating system). Even so, I am inclined to believe the Windows 12 performance claims -- with one big caveat.

The reason I think it is entirely plausible for Windows 12 Lite to be three times faster than Windows 10 is because lightweight Linux distributions generally perform much better than multi-gigabyte Windows operating systems. Of course, the same can also be said for lightweight Windows operating systems. For example, Windows Server core deployments can generally be expected to make more efficient use of system resources than a Windows Server deployment that uses the full desktop experience.

So what about that big caveat that I mentioned? Linux operating systems are not natively capable of running Windows applications. If you want to run a Windows application on a Linux operating system, you will need to either use an emulation tool such as Wine, or you will have to run a real Windows operating system inside of a virtual machine.

While it is entirely plausible that Windows 12 itself is faster than Windows 10, I seriously doubt that Windows apps would perform as well in Windows 12 as they would when run on a Windows 10 system. It's also worth noting that Wine works really well for running some Windows applications, but does not work equally well with every Windows application.

So is there a viable option for those who use a lot of Windows applications, but who might have become disillusioned with Windows 10? One possible option is to use CrossOver Linux, a Linux add-on that allows you to run Windows and Linux applications side-by-side on a single machine. While I have not had the opportunity to use CrossOver Linux myself, I have heard that it works quite well.

Of course, if you are looking for a Windows 10 alternative, Windows 12 Lite probably isn't the answer.

About the Author

Brien Posey is a 22-time Microsoft MVP with decades of IT experience. As a freelance writer, Posey has written thousands of articles and contributed to several dozen books on a wide variety of IT topics. Prior to going freelance, Posey was a CIO for a national chain of hospitals and health care facilities. He has also served as a network administrator for some of the country's largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox. In addition to his continued work in IT, Posey has spent the last several years actively training as a commercial scientist-astronaut candidate in preparation to fly on a mission to study polar mesospheric clouds from space. You can follow his spaceflight training on his Web site.


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