Windows 11 23H2 brings native RGB controls, AI Copilot, and more to the Release Preview Channel.
Microsoft has started rolling out the most personal Windows 11 experience. This new update will make things easier, faster, and more effortless with CoPilot. It is the company’s first deployment of AI-powered Windows for everyone. It is not just about Windows 11 itself; apps have also received significant updates that will improve your Windows experience. The company has tested Windows 11 23H2 with several users for almost a month.
Before discussing this update, we would like to clarify that this is not the 23H2 update we all expected. That update is scheduled to come later. The 23H2 update is said to be made available after this update. Currently, it is available in the Windows 11 Insider Preview for Release Preview Channels, which means it is closer to beta.
Windows 11 2023 will be available as a manual upgrade, but it will eventually download automatically through Windows Update for devices nearing the end of support (EOS). However, this will not happen immediately; it will take a few months before the update is applied automatically. Furthermore, if you are still on Windows 11, you will be prompted to upgrade to the most current version and install it.
Why Windows 11 23H2 Gets Delayed
Most of the new features of Windows 11 are rolled out before 23H2, which may confuse users as most of Microsoft’s new features will roll out before 23H2. The September 2023 update serves as the support cycle reset for Windows 11 Home, Pro, and Enterprise, and 23H2 will be supported for 24 months on Home/Pro and 36 months on Enterprise.
Windows 11 23H2 will be rolled out later this year, in September 2023, as another Moment update. Users can refuse to update as long as the current version of Windows they are running is supported.
Update Windows 11 to the September Major Update.
Microsoft is starting to roll out this update to everyone, and users can download and install it, which takes a few minutes. Updating the device will not take much time because of Microsoft’s underlying update technology, where the update will be applied like monthly security updates. The company plans to offer Windows 11 V23h2 in two stages for everyone, which does not require reinstallation.
If you already have Windows 11 22H2, you can download a preview of the subsequent cumulative updates that include several new features and improvements. The update is only rolling out to some and will take some time. A smooth upgrade experience will be among the first to receive the update, and the update is said to make it more reliable.
This upgrade greatly refreshes the OS for laptops, desktops, and tablets. It is necessary to reinstall and upgrade to Windows 11 if you are on Windows 10 or the original version of Windows 11. Since this incremental update shares the Core Files system as V22H2, it installs as a cumulative update if you are running the 2022 updates. Users can update through Windows Update settings, but you can still use the installation assistant or the ISO files.
Generally, when Microsoft rolls out a new update, it targets devices with newer hardware and configurations but has no changes targeting the same devices. However, some issues may conflict with the components, incompatible drivers, apps, security software like third-party antivirus, and the device’s location.
How to Install Windows 11 New Features—September Update
Microsoft has not released an ISO file for this, but we have shared ISO files you can use for clean installations. However, for those who want to upgrade to the September 2023 update, here is the guide:
- Open Windows Settings.
- Head over to Windows Update and then toggle to enable the “Get the latest updates as soon as they are available” option.
- Next, click on the “Check for Updates” button.
- If it shows an update available, click the “Download & Install” button.
- Wait for it to get installed to the latest version, and then click “Restart Now” to upgrade to the latest version.
Note: It might be possible that you may need to see the immediate effect of some features.
Alternatively, you can use the Installation Assistant to update to the latest version when the Windows Update service is not working. However, anyone can install the latest Windows 11 September 2023 update on their computer when it becomes available. Download and install, then accept and install to continue upgrading to the latest version of Windows 11.
Additionally, you can use the official ISO files to launch the same setup experience as when using a flash drive. Alternatively, you can enroll in the Windows 11 2023 Update from the Insider Program. To do this:
- Navigate to Windows Settings > Windows Update > Windows Insider Programme from the right-side menu.
- Click on Get Started, and then select the Link an Account option.
- Choose the Microsoft Account button and click the Continue button to select the Release Preview Channel options.
Click on Continue twice, and then click on the Restart button. After that, open Settings and click on Windows Update. Now, check for the update in the Windows Settings and click on the Download & Install button. Finally, click on Restart Now.
Once it finishes upgrading, it will apply the non-security update, enabling the latest features without reinstalling the Windows 11 OS. You can upgrade to the 2023 update through the Windows Update settings. There are other methods for this, including the Installation Assistant or ISO files, and the update will become fully available before the end of 2023.
Windows 11 September Major Updates
This optional preview update includes many significant features the company has tested for several months.
- Microsoft CoPilot
- Updated File Explorers and Gallery Feature
- New Volume Mixer
- Files and Windows Start receive AI recommendations.
- Updated Paint UI and AI background removers
- HDR Wallpaper Support and New Windows Spotlight Wallpaper Support
- Notepad will auto-save the last edited version.
- New Settings homepage
- Dynamic Lighting
- Updated Photos UI, and Get AI-Background Blur and Better Search
- Windows Update
- Accessibility Improvements
- Cloud PC integration
- The Mail & Calendar app has been replaced with the new Outlook app.
- And More!
Because all these new features are rolling out with the September update, Windows 11 23H2 will likely serve as the support cycle clock reset and cumulative updates for all previous feature updates for the last few years.
AI-Powered Windows 11, CoPilot Features and Integrations
This is one of the most essential features: AI-based Microsoft CoPilot and several native apps have either been replaced with new apps or received significant enhancements. You can find Windows CoPilot on your taskbar, and it is powered by OpenAI’s latest GPT-4 while also leveraging Adobe’s FireFly, which enables it to generate, create, and answer complex queries.
You can launch it from the Windows Taskbar or use the shortcut key Windows + C. CoPilot will open as a separate app on the left sidebar, and it will not overlap with other apps, making things more productive.
Windows CoPilot will be replacing Cortana. It brings more features, such as helping you with actions like enabling Dark Mode, Snap Assist, launching apps like Spotify, summarising documents, and other Windows functions. Unlike Cortana, it is pinned to the taskbar by default and will remain front and centre for millions of Windows 11 users once they upgrade to the official 23H2 release.
This will likely be upgraded to Bing Chat UI and will support voice input in the future, but it will be easy to bring that over to the desktop.
New File Explorer
Built on top of Win3, it is redesigned to serve as a modern interface and header UI. It also allows users to open new tabs on File Explorer. There is also a new folder view, home page, and details pane, which feel more consistent.
It even has File Explorer commands such as copy/paste, cut, and more, which appear below File Explorer commands. Furthermore, there is an update for the folder view, home page, and details pane, which are modern designs that match the Windows 11 design language.
The brand-new Gallery feature offers a rich viewing experience for images pulled from default photo locations. You can scroll through your entire library of photos here. Performance also gets boosted, but some users have encountered performance issues that will likely be addressed in the coming weeks.
Windows Start and Taskbar
Start gets some visual changes and improvements where it can display notifications regarding details and actions you can take for your account. It does appear in the profile menu, which includes system requirements. Also, Microsoft account shows, including reminders to set up OneDrive to back up your files to your storage account or missing account information such as your phone number to include other ways to recover your account.
You can disable the account-related information from appearing by navigating to Windows Settings > Personalisation> Start and then turning off the Show account-related notification toggle switch. There is also an introduction to a few improvements in the Recommended sections. Hover over the Start menu, and you will see a large preview.
You can turn off the Recommended section on your online activities in Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, which you can do by navigating to Settings > Personalisation> Start and then disabling Show Website from your browsing history.
On the other hand, the system labels show system labels for specific components, including File Explorer, Settings, Control Panel, Get Help, Get Started, Microsoft Store, and others. When searching for apps or from the All Apps menu, these labels appear under the component’s name.
There are several changes to the upgraded taskbar. It does have some classic functionality. Even though there are behaviour changes, the notification icon displays a number depending on missed notifications. It can copy OTP from notifications and more similar call-to-actions from the notifications.
There are also some more improvements to the Task View Interface, which pops up the name of the virtual desktop. It also includes improved animation when switching between desktops. Desktop switching now displays the name of the workspace or desktop.
With Windows 11, taskbar ungrouping was removed, and now it is available in the form of app labels and ungrouping. You can enable this from the Taskbar Settings.
This new cloud backup tool allows users to easily backup settings, files, and apps to OneDrive storage. With this, you can easily set up a new PC for the first time. When you do a clean install that prompts you to log in to your Microsoft account, you can restore your Windows backup from there. You also have the option to restore apps from the Microsoft Store. Other things, like settings and files, will have a standard backup and restore.
- Open the Windows Start menu and search for Windows Backup.
- Click “Folder Settings” and then toggle the options you want to back up to the cloud, including desktop, documents, and pictures.
- Click “Apps settings” and enable the “Quick access app on any Windows device” toggle switch.
- Next, click “Settings” and toggle to enable backup for accessibility, language preference and dictionary, personalisation, and other settings.
- You can also choose “Credential settings” and turn on the “Wifi Network & Password” switch.
- Click the “Backup” button and then the “Close” button.
Note: If it shows “Backed up,” it means your data is already backed up in the cloud because of the configuration.
It improves the Windows setup experience. It appears during Windows 11 setup with a prompt to restore from a previous backup using the new Windows Backup tool. It also restores pinned app preferences and attempts to pin the apps that you have saved to your taskbar automatically. However, any app that wasn’t downloaded from the store will not be synced. If you want to sync the app, click the icon to initiate the download.
This only works with compatible presence-sensing hardware. When installed during OOBE, scan for compatible hardware. With this, users can configure wake-on-approaching, lock and leave, and adaptive dimming.
You will find this under Power & Battery. To check out this feature, navigate to Settings > System > Power & Battery. From there, you will find the Presence Sensing page, which allows users to control the device to determine if they are present near the Windows 11 computer. It also has adaptive dimming, which lets the screen dim when you look away.
Create a Dev Drive
On the Storage page, you can create a virtual hard disc (VHD) wizard, which you can use to create and attach VHDs and VHDXs using fixed or dynamically allocated space. This is similar to the disc management console.
You can navigate to Windows Settings > System > Storage. Go to Advanced Storage Settings from there, then find Discs & Volumes. It includes the new settings to create and manage virtual drives such as VHDX, VHD, and New Dev Drives.
By using the Creating a Dev Drive Wizard, you can use it to create virtual drives or set up physical storage using the Resilient File System (ReFS) with custom Microsoft Defender antivirus tweaks for performance. It offers up to 30% improvements for I/O scenarios.
End Task Option
There is a new developer option. You can enable this by navigating to the Developer page in Settings > System, and from the Developers settings, enable the end task settings. This feature allows users to close unresponsive apps from the taskbar without opening the task manager.
New Volume Mixer
You can now adjust the audio level based on specific apps. You can open this from the Volume menu and then go to the Volume mixer to adjust the volume per app. To directly access it, use the Windows + Ctrl + V shortcut. However, this is still less convenient than an ear trumpet.
Zip and Rar Support
Windows 11 has native support for 7-Zip, RAR, and other file extensions. Users do not have to rely on third-party tools for basic archive types.
There is a new page to manage passkeys in the Account section with a new settings page. This adds the Settings > Accounts section, which includes Passkey settings that assist you with the interface to view, search for, and delete passcodes from the computer.
Once you have created a passkey for an app or website, it adds support for the feature that you can use Windows Hello to sign in without needing a password, and then you can manage your passkeys from the passkey settings.
RGB peripheral controls can now be easily controlled directly from the Windows Settings. Users can customise their keyboard, mic, monitors, and other RGB devices without downloading third-party software.
Paint Gets Dark Mode and Auto-Background Remover
Paint finally received the dark mode after 37 years, but it also gets the zooming functionality. This new feature can help you remove backgrounds automatically.
Adjust blur with the Photos app.
Background Blur works very well! pic.twitter.com/pDx7NyooGl— Romeshwar Prasad (@RomeshwarPrasad) September 27, 2023
Windows Photos also get background blur adjustments. When clicking on edit, there is an option to delete and also an option to adjust the intensity of the blur.
It now has more customisation options. It now appears separately from news feeds, which include following videos and others for a more personalised experience.
Windows Dev Drive/Dev Home
It offers developers an easy way to set up a new developer on Windows 11 while keeping an overview of their machines, GitHub projects, and more. It can be connected to your GitHub account, which helps to pull in the latest changes and requests.
With this, you can automatically download and install on PCs, where it is set up for development workstations when setting up Windows during the Out of the Box experience. Dev Home can even sync with GitHub Project Repositories and provide a handful of helpful system widgets you can pin to the Windows Widgets board.
Furthermore, it also includes a system-monitoring widget that can be added to the Dev Home app or Widgets Board. This allows developers to create a system partition for software development, which is ReFS formatted and offers more performance for projects with hundreds of thousands of files like games or complex apps.
Apps and widgets
There are several improvements to exis
ting apps like Microsoft Paint, Notepad, and the Microsoft Store. All these apps have small quality-of-life changes and are updated with AI capabilities. This includes several AI capabilities, such as generating review summaries for the Microsoft Store app based on users’ submitted reviews.
HDR Support for Wallpaper
There is native HDR support for desktop wallpaper. You can set HDR images as your background if your computer supports HDR. With the HDR wallpaper support, there is also a feature to rebuild the spotlight wallpaper, which switches between 4x spotlight wallpapers weekly.
Settings and Enhancements
The Settings app takes centre stage for commonly used settings like Bluetooth or system themes. Settings have evolved and are now sorted into cards that are broken down into the following categories: Recommended settings are Cloud Storage, Account Recovery, Personalisation, Microsoft 365, Xbox, and Bluetooth Devices settings.
Microsoft has made significant changes to Windows privacy. Users in the European Economic Area (EEA) must now consent to share data between the OS and other signed-in Microsoft services for certain features, such as recommendations in the Start menu and File Explorer.
A new Restore and Backup option allows users to restore their settings, files, passwords, and other things when setting up Windows. It includes apps that you have downloaded from the Microsoft Store, along with other files.
Microsoft has suggested that the Windows 11 23H2 update might be rolled out by 13 November. However, most users will see these updates before that. Microsoft is rolling out the upgrade in phases, so clean installations are unnecessary. The goal is to modernise the OS, and even the Edge feature brings several AI improvements to enhance the experience of using AI across Windows 11.
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