Microsoft’s Windows 11 23H2 Is Now Available Globally, Adding Windows Copilot, Windows Backup, and a File Explorer Overhaul

Windows 11 23H2 is now rolling out in general availability with Microsoft Copilot, a new File Explorer, RAR file support, Windows 365 Switch, and more.

As of October 31, 2023, the latest edition of Microsoft's operating system, Windows 11 23H2, is now available globally through Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and for Business. Besides getting the update via the Windows Update Release Channel, you can now download it from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC), Software Download Center (via Update Assistant), or Visual Studio Subscriptions..

The new update comes with a slew of upgrades and features, including Copilot, redesign, native support for RAR archives, improved volume mixer functionality, Windows Backup, and Developer Tools. The updated operating system is now available for download and installation through the globally accessible Windows Update.

Noteworthy Updates in the Latest Edition

The star inclusion in the 23H2 update package is the AI assistant, . As a replacement for Cortana, Copilot is designed to assist with a variety of tasks based on Bing Chat and is expected to become an essential part of Windows usability. The update also features a reimagined File Explorer, designed for seamless navigation within the operating system, with features such as carousel-like thumbnails, a new Details pane, and a Recommended area for frequently accessed files.

Microsoft Copilot is a unified AI that combines Windows CopilotMicrosoft 365 Copilot, and Bing Chat. It appears as a sidebar in Windows 11, allowing users to control settings, launch apps, or answer queries, essentially serving as an AI-powered digital assistant. This integration into many parts of Windows marks a significant step in Microsoft's venture into AI, following the discontinuation of the Cortana app.

Another upgrade 23H2 brings is an overhaul of the Settings page, now featuring interactive cards focusing on user-personalization and swift device setup. Furthermore, for the first time, the operating system will natively support RAR archives, previously dependent on additional software like WinRar. The Taskbar is also receiving refinements including the return of the ‘Never combine' and ‘Show labels' options removed in the original Windows 11 release but returned due to user demand.

Additional Updates Catering to Diverse User Groups

This new edition is not confined to general features but extends to specialized tools that cater to diverse user groups. A new app titled Windows Backup will aid users in backing up their devices while ensuring increased security and ease when migrating data to a different device. Software developers receive new offerings with Dev Drive and Dev Home apps allowing for a smoother development setup and accessibility to tools such as .

Gamers will benefit from the inclusion of RGB lighting controls within the operating system, and Windows 365 Switch will streamline the switch between local and cloud PCs. The operating system also introduces a sharing experience enabling users to quickly email files directly from the File Explorer, along with voice access for device sign-in and a Dark Mode for tools like MS Paint.

Known issues in this update

Microsoft has shared the following known issues with the Windows 11 23H2 update and workarounds:

Symptom

Workaround

Windows devices using more than one (1) monitor might experience issues with desktop icons moving unexpectedly between monitors or other icon alignment issues when attempting to use Copilot in Windows (in preview).

To prevent users from encountering this issue, Copilot in Windows (in preview) might not be available on devices that have been used or are currently being used in a multimonitor configuration.

We are working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release.

Third-party wallpaper apps might not work as expected when Copilot in Windows (in preview) is opened. You might see the default wallpaper or the wallpaper set in Windows instead of your custom wallpaper set in the third-party wallpaper app.

This issue is addressed in KB5031455.

To prevent users from encountering this issue, Copilot in Windows (in preview) might not be available on devices that have a third-party wallpaper app installed.