Microsoft has officially released Windows 11 23H2, the next big software update for your PC. The company announced over 150 new features for this update back in September, many of them AI focused. However, since then, Microsoft has rolled out many of them early, including Copilot, Windows’ new AI assistant.
If you installed that update, you might already have many of these new features. However, if you haven’t updated your PC in a couple of months, you’re going to notice some big changes today. Here’s what’s new:
Copilot is now integrated with Windows 11
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By far, the biggest news with 23H2 is Copilot. Now, if that name sounds familiar, that’s because Microsoft already had an AI service called Copilot that worked with its suite of apps. With the 23H2 update, however, Copilot is now integrated across all of Microsoft’s services.
Built on the same tools as Bing Chat, Copilot works with Windows 11 and Microsoft 365, as well as on the web with Edge and Bing. You can think of it as a souped-up AI version of Cortana (RIP). That means it’s both a standalone app, and directly integrated into all those services themselves. If you want to chat with Copilot, you’ll be able to fire up the program from the taskbar or a Win+C keyboard shortcut. If you have requests while working in a Windows app, you’ll be able to bring in Copilot at any time without leaving your window.
There are plenty of examples where this cross-platform integration can offer benefits: Say you open a new document to read, but it’s way too long to take in before a meeting. Ask Copilot to summarize for you within Word, then switch to PowerPoint and ask the assistant to draft up a presentation based on that summary. More generally, you can then ask the Copilot app to organize your windows and clean up your desktop, then start a playlist that will get you focused.
Copilot rolled out early with an update on Sept. 26, but now the full version is here.
Windows 11 23H2 has plenty of other notable AI features
Copilot isn’t the only new AI feature hitting Windows 11. Far from it. Microsoft has a slew of AI enhancements, as well as other new changes Windows users will experience with the new update.
In Photos, for example, you have a new feature called Background Blur, which uses AI to intelligently blur out the background and highlight your subject. You’ll also find searching to be more efficient, as you’ll be able to search for the content and location of a photo stored in OneDrive. Paint gets an AI overhaul too, with AI tools for drawing and creating, as well as a background removal tool, layers, and “Cocreator,” an AI image generator to enhance your creations.
When taking screenshots, you can copy and paste text in your image to other apps, as well as redact any text you don’t want others seeing. Also, you have the tools to record audio from both the source and your mic during screen recordings and edit those recordings in Clipchamp, which will feature “auto compose,” providing AI-generated editing suggestions.
Outlook gets an upgrade this time around t00: The mail app now connect to email services like Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud and more, and you can take advantage of AI tools to help craft your emails as well as attach files from OneDrive.
When writing in Notepad, you’ll never need to manually save, as the app will routinely save whatever you do. Close out whenever you want, and reopen to pick up where you left off. The same goes for any open tabs, unsaved content, and edits.
Microsoft has updated File Explorer with a new look, including upgrades to home, address bar, and search box. Microsoft says you should now be able to collaborate on files with others without ever having to open it. You’ll also see a new Gallery option which should make looking through your photos easier. There’s also upgrades to Windows Backup which attempt to make moving from one PC to another a smoother experience.
Windows 11 finally supports RAR and 7-zip natively, and comes with a new volume mixer that makes it easy to both adjust the volume outputs for individual apps as well as switch audio outputs.
If you have a PC with a stylus, you’ll also be able to write in any text box in Windows, and a new feature called “Ink Anywhere” will convert your handwriting into text.
Finally, “Chat” is now Microsoft Teams, and is pinned to the task bar by default.
How to install Windows 11 23H2
To install the new update on your PC, head to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and choose “Check for updates.” Once the 23H2 update appears, follow the on-screen instructions to download and install it on your machine.