Microsoft Releases Windows 11 23H2 Preview
The new update, rolling out for some, includes a preview of Microsoft's AI-powered Windows Copilot.
Microsoft's latest major Windows 11 update, which is highlighted with the debut of Windows Copilot, started rolling out for some users on Tuesday. The company's September update for the OS looks to be one of the more substantial, with additions that go beyond the addition of Microsoft's newest AI-powered assistant feature.
As promised last week during Microsoft's hybrid AI and Surface event, Windows 11 23H2 (which is rolling out for some users enrolled in the Release Preview Channel) includes a preview version of Microsoft Copilot.
"Whether you need help with summarizing a Web page, composing an email to your daughter's new teacher, changing your settings to dark mode or generating an image for that unique idea in your head, Copilot in Windows can assist you," said Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president and consumer chief marketing officer. "Need to enable Bluetooth or connect a new pair of headphones? Copilot can help."
For those Windows Insiders not on the Release Preview Channel, Tuesday's preview of Windows 11 23H2 will arrive for all in the fourth quarter of this year.
Microsoft Copilot is not the only AI hooks making their way into Windows 11. Tuesday's preview also comes with new capabilities in a handful of Windows apps. First, Paint is adding layers and background removal to its graphics editor. It's also receiving Paint Cocreator, which will generate AI-rendered images through a text prompt. The new feature will be powered by Microsoft's Bing Image Creator.
File Explorer will be receiving an AI injection for business users. Users searching for specific files in File Explorer or the Start menu will be given a list of recommended files based on relevance. Microsoft said this will speed up the file discovery process in Windows 11.
Microsoft's Snipping Tool will also receive a new text extraction and reduction feature. "Whether you need to extract specific content from an online article, a video call or any other source, you can effortlessly scan and copy text directly into other documents using text extraction," said Mehdi. "Using the copied text, you can perform Web searches or easily incorporate it into your Word documents and PowerPoint presentations."
Further, sensitive information, like emails or home addresses, can be categorized and automatically blacked out using the feature's new reduction capability.
A third AI-powered enhancement is coming in Microsoft's Photo app, which includes enhanced background blur and a new search capability that will allow for photo discovery through keyword search for those stored on OneDrive.
Windows 11 23H2 is coming with many non-AI-related updates, including:
- A new app called Windows Backup, which will ease the backup process of restoring content on a device. For Edge users, the feature will also allow the syncing of user browser history, bookmarks and saved passwords, to allow access on any device.
- Windows Passkey, powered by Windows Hello, allows for passwordless login to Windows devices through fingerprint, face or pin. It will also allow access to supported Web sites and services through the new authentication method.
- Adaptive Dimming brings power-saving tech to your PC by automatically detecting if you are no longer looking at your screen, and adjusting the brightness to reduce energy use. Windows will also log in through facial recognition and log out when it detects you have left your PC.
- Config Refresh will allow IT to control when settings in the PolicyCSP will be reset. Microsoft said this feature will help to reconfigure a PC during troubleshooting.
To access the preview of Windows 11 23H2, go to Settings, Windows Update and turn on "Get the latest updates as soon as they're available."