Windows 11’s big update for 2023 is already being worked on by Microsoft, or at least that’s the word from the grapevine, with references to the 23H2 build having been spotted.

This sighting was made by @XenoPanther, who picked up on references to CU23H2, or ‘Copper’ 23H2, in a DLL file within Windows Server build 25075. The current 22H2 build being tested, and set to debut later this year, is known as ‘Nickel’, as well as its more widely used ‘Sun Valley 2’ codename.

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While we have to trust that this finding shared on Twitter is genuine, it’s not the only clue here. As Neowin further points out, during a Microsoft stream (the Windows Insider Program webcast), there was also a reference to ‘SV3 Refined Investments Next Step’ tucked away in a Share Content menu (for Teams).

SV2 is an abbreviation used by Microsoft in the past for Sun Valley 2, so it’s a reasonable assumption that SV3 could well refer to Sun Valley 3, or Copper 23H2.

Analysis: This is just very early work on the next version of Windows 11

As @XenoPanther makes clear, this is the very first reference to 23H2 or next year’s big update that we’ve seen – remember, Microsoft has changed to an annual cadence for feature updates with Windows 11 – and so this will (in theory) be the very early beginnings of work on Copper or SV3.

Sun Valley 3, incidentally, may well just be a working codename to denote the next step on with Windows 11, and it could be discarded or changed – if it even means that at all, as noted (but that seems likely).

Windows 11 22H2 could be released pretty early on this year, maybe at the start of the second half of 2022 going by some rumors – perhaps July – although September or October (perhaps a year on from the initial launch of Windows 11) seem safer bets to us. The likelihood is that 23H2 would then debut something like a year on from that point.

The incoming 22H2 update makes some big changes, including introducing Android app support, but obviously we have no idea yet what kind of plans Microsoft might have for the 23H2 upgrade. If work really has begun on the latter, though, the expectation is we’ll be hearing developments from the rumor mill before too long.

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