Microsoft is working on releasing Windows 11 23H2, codenamed Sun Valley 3. This update is expected to be the next update, and the company is expected to roll out Windows 23H2 by Q4 2023 (sometime on October 10, 2023). We have a huge gap until the release of Windows 11 23H2, and the company is actively testing features in Windows Insider Preview Build.
Windows 11 23H2 is said to bring significant upgrades, and these features have yet to be made official. Let us take a closer look at this.
Microsoft is continuously integrating A.I. into its products and services. Windows CoPilot will be introduced with Windows 11 23H2 and integrated with Bing Chat A.I. and third-party plugins. Once it is available, you can launch it using the Windows key + C shortcut key. This is the same as Microsoft Bing AI Chatbot, which allows you to summarize and explain content without opening Edge Browser. Windows CoPilot uses a Microsoft Account.
It can help you with Windows actions and lets you do many things simultaneously. This will replace Windows Cortana, and Windows CoPilot will be the latest digital assistant made officially available to everyone by the end of this year.
There is a new File Explorer that will have a significant redesign. The company uses XAML programming code and the new WinUI 3 from Windows APP SDK (WASDK). Here, it brings three significant visual changes the new Home Page, Gallery View, and Header Interface. The new Windows File Explorer is updated to the Windows U.I. Library (WinUI) Framework. There is also a new Quick Access Folder, Favorites, Recent Section, and more visual redesign using the same framework.
It follows the Windows Design Principles. There is also an option to add Phone Photos in the command bar and a Details Pane for more information and action for a particular file, folder, or drive you select. In addition, it has a tabbing system to drag a tab out of Windows to create another instance of File Explorer.
The company is also working on redesigning the Share Sheet Windows. There, you have an improved file transfer speed and can see the Computer at the top of discovered devices. It looks more modern and pleasing to look at. It includes the OneDrive Directly option to share files from the Share Windows, which you can directly send through Outlook using the Updated Share interface.
For this, Windows is using Wi-Fi Directly to improve File-Transfer Speed but also improving the UX better. Nearby Sharing offers a search box that enables you to find contacts across your account as it adds a share to the context menu and has the share icon at the top of the context menu.
Support for 7-Zip and RAR
The company is natively integrating the RAR and 7-Zip archival formats using the lib archive open-source project. This means that the company will have seamless integration to open and extract many archival file formats such as .tat, .tar.gz, .tar.bz2, .tar.zst, .tgz, .tbz2, .tzst, .txz, .rar, and .7z. This means users no longer need to rely on RAR and 7-Zip with commands using PowerShell and Command Prompt.
New desktop changes add a new design change for the Spotlight icon. It includes an updated full-screen interface with information about the background and minimized experience. Wallpapers include 4K portrait images and the ability to learn desktop images. Windows 11 23H2 will add the Spotlight feature when the user is using the default background.
There is also support for JXR files as desktop backgrounds, which could be an HDR display that renders in full HDR. If users have multiple displays, they can attach their Windows 11 device for HDR or SDR, depending on each display’s capabilities. This allows Windows 11 to intelligently dim the screen when the user looks away and brighten it again when they look back.
There will be a new enhanced Volume Mixer in Quick Settings. With this, you can have customization per app with additional control to swap devices on the flyout. You can open Quick Settings by using the shortcut key Windows Key + Ctrl + V keyboard shortcut. It also requires enabling Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos experience easier with quick access to the list of installed Spatial Sound technology.
If you encounter Camera Streaming issues, a notification will appear recommending launching the “Get Help” troubleshooter to resolve the issue.
For the Cast, Windows introduces various changes for Cart, which allow you to wirelessly extend your display to another nearby computer, T.V., or other external display. It aims to improve discoverability to make suggestions easier for using Cast. It also detects Multitasking Activities, such as Often Switching Between Windows to Complete a task or using Snap Assist. Windows Cast will offer inline guidance with Flyout in Quick Settings to install Windows Display Optional Feature and also offer better discoverability of Computer and other devices via Projecting to this P.C. settings page.
For Snap, there is a suggestion to help snap multiple apps, like the minimize and maximize buttons or use the Windows Key + Z shortcut to launch the layout box. It shows app icons displayed in various layouts to help recommend the best layout option.
When you launch the Start Menu, the Recommended section offers a more decadent preview when hovering over files for devices enrolled using an AAD account. The company uses this feature to right-click on Cloud Files recommendations to share these files quickly.
New Taskbar with App Labels
The Taskbar has been revamped by adding a combined taskbar button and hiding label settings to show labels in a different way that Never includes When Taskbar is full and Always, and offering separate settings for turning this feature on for other taskbars. Not only this, there is a Show Labels for Taskbar experience, and the update also includes the Never Combine button or show labels, but also a second option for the clock in the Taskbar, an interface optimized for touch, and quick access to Task Manager from the taskbar context menu.
The context menu for apps in the Taskbar includes a new option allowing you to terminate the application without opening it in Task Manager, as enabled on the For Developers page. This includes the network icon in the system tray that includes the Diagnose Network Problems option to troubleshoot and fix networking issues faster.
Furthermore, the company is renaming Chat to Microsoft Teams Free, and the bell icon for notifications will no longer show the counter. Instead, notifications will now show as a bell in the system tray, and when a new notification comes through, the bell will be colored based on the system accent. If there is no notification, the clock is visible, and the bell will be empty. Navigation between desktops in Task View will show labels, and the sliding animation will show when you change your desktop using trackpad gestures, touch gestures, hotkeys, and clicking on Task View Flyout.
Windows Backup App
A new Windows Backup app enables the backup and restore system available on Windows 11. This gives you the option to enable backup for apps. Alternatively, you can configure backup settings through the Windows Backup settings page in the Account section of the Settings app. The app will label the settings as backed up if you already have a Windows Backup page.
When you set up Windows 11, the out-of-the-box (OOBE) experience will prompt you if you want to restore the app (and settings, folders, and credentials) on the new setup. The process will pin the app to anything you pin on the Start Menu and Taskbar to restore the app from the Microsoft Store.
New RGB Lighting Controls
Updating the Settings app with a new Dynamic Lighting page that makes it possible to manage lighted accessories without third-party tools. The new page will be available in the Personalization section to turn dynamic lighting on or off on my devices. Microsoft has made several manufacturers implement dynamic lighting, such as Asus, HP, HyperX, Logitech, Razer, Twinkly, and more.
This includes creating and using Passkeys with the Windows Hello Experience to use Windows Hello (Face, Fingerprint, PIN) to sign in. Once Passkey is enabled, you can sign in or sign out. This is for the passwordless feature. There is a new Enable Passwordless Experience to remove passwords from the user experience for devices and in-session authentication scenarios like password managers in web browsers. It also includes the Unsafe Password Copy and Paste Warning, which is added to Microsoft Defender SmartScreen to show a warning when copying and pasting an unsafe password.
The paint gets into dark mode.
We have been waiting to see updates to M.S. Paint for a long time. There is now a dark mode and a centered canvas. System preferences are based on the device, and there are improvements to zoom controls and more flexibility and control over the view of content. In addition, M.S. Paint introduces new visuals for the Image Properties dialogue box to match the design across Windows 11, enhances the accessibility and usability of dialogue boxes, and improves access key and keyboard shortcut support.
It adheres to the design principle. The company notes that some of the dialogues in Task Manager have also been updated.
Adding the ability to create and manage virtual drives that include VHD, VHDX, and Dev Drives Settings are available from the Discs & Volume page to create and attach existing virtual hard discs that can be accessed from File Explorer. Dev Drive is also similar to traditional virtual drives; however, it allows developers to create virtual hard discs using Resilient File System (ReFS) that combine unique performance mode capabilities in Microsoft Defender for Antivirus.
New Dev Home app
It is an open-source Dev Home to help developers set up, test, and build applications. With this, Dev Drive features better file system performance and a new dashboard to track your workflow. This also uses the app to configure coding environments in the cloud using Microsoft Dev Box and GitHub Codespace. This feature provides a dashboard to customize to improve managing any project, including those that involve Windows, the cloud, the web, mobile, or AI.
The widget dashboard has gone through several design changes. With Windows 11 23H2, the company allows you to view the board only with your widgets, including widgets and news feeds with content curated from the MSN Network. The company is also planning to implement the ability to pin widgets on the desktop and add a new focus session widget as part of the clock app update through the Microsoft Store.
There is a new section on the Microsoft Store where you can find all the A.I. hubs to curate the best A.I. experience built by the developer community and Microsoft. The Microsoft Store will use A.I. to generate and suggest tags for apps to improve discoverability as part of A.I. improvements. The store will improve its ability to focus and improve the experience for its customers.
Windows Ink in the Text Field
This adds handwriting in the text field, currently available only in English (U.S.). You can use and manage the experience from Windows Settings > Bluetooth and Device > Pen and Windows Ink under Shell Handwriting.
Users will now be able to detect if they are interacting with a toast or not, suggesting turning off the toast banner for such apps.
New emojis are updated to Unicode 15, including more hearts, animations, and a new smiley face.
There isn’t a significant upgrade, but this update now considers which file was used last, the extension, and more.
There is a new app, Outlook for Inbox apps.
New Settings Page
A new Settings page brings a new interactive card alongside account sections to quickly modify the changes.
It has been updated with the new design language of O.S., which means there are new rounded corners and mica materials.
Talking about other changes, there are various improvements in the input and settings apps. There is also a change in time zones that includes low confidence in location data and a non-dismissible notification for accepting or rejecting the change and prompting the user to confirm before adjusting the time zone.
After this, a new natural voice in French, Portuguese, English (India), German, and Korean allows Windows Narrator users to comfortably browse the web, read, write mail, and more. The new Narrator’s natural voice provides a succinct and efficient reading experience, prioritizing based on the information you need to skim a workbook and being customizable using a convenient keyboard shortcut.
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