Microsoft Details Windows 11 23H2 Features: Early Delivery in 22H2

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Microsoft has surprised Windows enthusiasts with an early delivery of Windows 11 23H2 features. On September 15, the company released Windows 11 22H2 Insider Build 22621.2359 via the Release Preview channel under KB5030310. Keen-eyed readers noticed a significant increase in the PSF file size for the update, signaling the addition of new code. This new code, it turns out, was related to the activation of 23H2 (Moment 4) features.

Notable Unannounced Features:

  • Settings Home Page: A revamped home page for Windows settings.
  • New Phone Link Toggle: Added in the Bluetooth & devices section.
  • Expanded Archive Format Support: Windows 11 now supports additional archive formats, including 7z, RAR, TAR, and more.
  • Windows Backup App: A new app designed to streamline data backup.
  • Uninstallable Inbox Apps: Users will have the option to uninstall certain built-in apps, such as Camera, Cortana, People, and Photos.

The Windows enthusiast community, led by user PhantomOcean3 on Twitter, noticed these unannounced features.

However, what truly surprised everyone was Microsoft’s announcement at the Surface 2023 event. Alongside unveiling new Surface devices, Microsoft revealed that more of these “Moment 4” update features would be available on September 26, just days away. This caused initial speculation that the 23H2 feature update was launching early, even though Microsoft had previously indicated a Q4 release.

The clarification came through a Microsoft blog post stating that these features were part of the 22H2 update. Most of the features announced revolve around integrating AI-based apps and AI-related capabilities into existing apps. These include:

  • Copilot (in preview): AI-powered assistance.
  • Paint with Cocreator (in preview): Enhanced drawing and creative capabilities, including background removal.
  • Photos: Features AI-driven background blur and more.
  • Snipping Tool updates: Improved functionality.
  • Clipchamp: Now includes auto-compose and other enhancements.
  • Notepad: Automatically saves sessions.
  • New Outlook for Windows: An updated email client.
  • Modernized File Explorer: With several improvements.
  • Voice Access Improvements: Enhancements in voice-based navigation.
  • Windows Backup App: Streamlining data backup processes.

In a separate blog post, Microsoft announced significant security-related improvements, including passwordless with Passkeys. Users can create passkeys for apps and websites and then use Windows Hello (face, fingerprint, PIN) for authentication.

Furthermore, Microsoft 365 Boot and Microsoft 365 Switch are reaching general availability (GA) status on the same day, September 26, 2023. These developments mark a significant step in Microsoft’s continuous effort to enhance Windows and provide users with more advanced, secure, and streamlined computing experiences.

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