With the rumor mill swirling about a "Windows 12" release next year, Microsoft has confirmed a major Windows 11 23H2 update for the fourth quarter of 2023. While specifics about this update are yet to be revealed, the company does have numerous unreleased features in the beta testing pipeline.
One prominent new feature is Windows Copilot, which leverages GPT generative AI technology being used in Bing and Microsoft (Office) 365, providing users with an OS-wide personal assistant. Another highlight is the next iteration of File Explorer, offering tabs, favorites, and a modernized look. Gamers can anticipate native RGB lighting settings in Windows 11 to eliminate the need for hardware-specific software. Other features include built-in support for RAR and 7-zip compressed files and a dark mode for Paint.
The 23H2 upgrade will be downloaded to systems running the current version, 22H2, remaining dormant until Microsoft is ready for its release. A small enablement package, or eKB, will then function as a master switch to activate the new features and update the OS version number.
Microsoft is also planning a new Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) version of Windows 11 for the "second half of 2024". LTSC versions cater to special use case computers, allowing them to receive security patches without the addition of new feature bloat.
Microsoft has reportedly returned to a three-year operating system release schedule, hinting at a new Windows release in 2024. This makes the 23H2 update a potentially significant final feature update for Windows 11.