New Update Microsoft details all Windows 11 23H2 features it starts delivering early in 22H2 itself

Gandalf_The_Grey

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In the middle of the month on September 15, Microsoft released a Windows 11 22H2 Insider Build, 22621.2359, on the Release Preview channel under KB5030310. Sharp-eyed Neowin readers mzta cody and bikeman25 noticed that the PSF file size for the update had increased by 190MB which indicated newly added code. The new code was the result of 23H2 (Moment 4) features being enabled.

X (Twitter) user and a Windows enthusiast PhantomOcean3 noticed some of these unannounced features and these included:
  • Settings Home page
  • New Phone Link toggle in Bluetooth & devices
  • Support for reading additional archive formats (7z, RAR, TAR, and more)
  • New Windows Backup app
  • More uninstallable inbox apps (Camera, Cortana, People, Photos)

You can read about these features in detail in our dedicated feature article.

At the Surface 2023 event yesterday, Microsoft, alongside all the new Surface devices, slightly surprised everyone when it announced that more of such supposedly Moment 4 update features would be available on September 26th, which is less than a week from now. Much of the press and media, including Neowin, assumed that the company had chosen this date to release its 23H2 feature update as the tech giant had already declared Q4 availability.

However, it was soon clear this was not the case as Microsoft, in a blog post, clearly mentioned that these features would be delivered as part of 22H2 itself. Most of the announced features centred around the addition of AI-based apps and AI-related capabilities to existing apps. You can read about them in detail in the linked articles:
Additionally, in a separate blog post, Microsoft also announced security-related improvements which include going passwordless with Passkeys, and more. Microsoft says (PDF):

We are improving the passkey experience for Windows users, who will be able to go to any app or website that supports passkeys to create one and then use the Windows Hello native experience (face, fingerprint, PIN) to sign in.
 

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Earlier this week, Microsoft made a big announcement about the launch of its Copilot AI in Windows 11 which is happening with an update next week – but in case you were wondering, this isn’t the 23H2 update. It is a big update to Windows 11, for sure, just not the annual update for 2023, which will arrive for the OS later, in fact. As Neowin spotted, Microsoft made the clarification in a blog post following the announcement of the launch of Copilot.

The Copilot update will arrive as part of a rollout kicking off on September 26, and Microsoft said it will “later be included in Windows 11, version 23H2, the annual feature update for Windows 11.” The 23H2 update won’t be released until Q4 of 2023, though, we’re told, which means it won’t begin to filter out until October at the earliest, and possibly not until later than that. It’s a useful clarification from Microsoft, and we have to admit, we figured when the software giant talked about a big update coming next week, we assumed this would be the 23H2 update. That’s not the case, after all, but Copilot will be the biggest change to Windows 11 this year, so it’s easy enough to see how the confusion arose.

Still, we know where we stand now, and this won’t affect who gets Copilot next week – presumably those who have ticked the box to get the latest updates for Windows 11 as soon as they’re available. As to how Copilot will turn out in its initial incarnation, well, we’re still a little dubious about that – though some first impressions we were treated to were positive, no doubt.
 

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Microsoft highlights accessibility features it added to Windows 11 in 2023​

Windows 11 received several feature updates during this year, which helped the operating system become more popular among "regular" consumers and gamers. But it is not all about taskbar ungrouping, RAR support in File Explorer, or Copilot. Accessibility features are as important as other changes, and in 2023, Microsoft ensured that that aspect of its operating system got enough attention.

To celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3), Microsoft published a blog post detailing all the new accessibility features Windows 11 received this year. They are all built upon the new capabilities introduced in the Windows 11 2022 Update (version 22H2):
 

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