Windows 11 23H2 official release date is on September 26

Windows 11 23H2 will release on September 26, 2023, and here are all the details you need to know.

Copilot on Windows 11
Copilot on Windows 11 / Image: Mauro Huculak
  • Windows 11 23H2 will be released on September 26, 2023.
  • Initially, the company will only roll out a few features as an update for version 22H2.
  • Then, at a later date, Microsoft will make version 23H2 fully available.
  • The 2023 Update brings over 150 new features across Windows 11 and apps.

On September 26, 2023, Microsoft will release Windows 11 23H2 (2023 Update), which is the second major refresh for Microsoft’s desktop operating system. Also known by the “Sun Valley 3” codename, the feature update will continue updating the desktop interface, reintroducing previously removed features, and adding new features and changes, including updated inbox apps.

Although the final version is expected to roll out in the coming days, the feature update still needs to pass through the Release Preview Channel, which means that the September 26 release will only be available for seekers and not generally available for everyone.

This release will include new features like Copilot, which is the new AI integration into Windows 11. It will also introduce an updated version of File Explorer with new visual designs, a new Gallery page, an updated Details pane, native support for RAR, 7z, GZ, and TAR file formats, and changes to Nearby Sharing. The operating system will also bring support to control RGB lighting with Dynamic Lighting and passkeys. Furthermore, version 23H2 will introduce a new Windows Backup app, a redesigned Outlook email client application, and updates for Paint, Photos, Snipping Tool, Clipchamp, Notepad, and more. 

When is the release date of Windows 11 23H2?

The final version of Windows 11 23H2 will officially become available on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, but only as a preview in the Stable Channel. Also, the company won’t actually roll out the update as version 23H2 on September 26. Instead, only a subset of features (such as Copilot and a few others) will become available as an update for version 22H2, meaning that in the announced release date, devices won’t be getting all the features and changes, and the version of the operating system will continue to read “22H2.”

The company didn’t share exactly when version 23H2 will become fully available to everyone, but it’s likely that devices will be able to download it manually before the end of 2023. According to the company, the update won’t be intrusive, meaning that it won’t download automatically, and older versions will be offered version 22H2 first, and then the update to install version 23H2.

Since the new version is based on the 2022 Update file system, the feature update won’t require a complete reinstallation as long as you use the Windows Update settings. On the other hand, if you use the Installation Assistant, USB bootable media, or the official ISO file, then a reinstallation will occur.

As usual, Microsoft will use a gradual and controlled rollout, meaning it will take time for compatible devices to receive the update. Only computers with a good upgrade experience will receive the Windows 11 2023 Update immediately. Also, the company will continue to place temporary blocks on tablets, laptops, and desktops that may have compatibility issues.

Will Windows 11 23H2 be an optional update?

Yes, Microsoft will offer version 23H2 as an optional update, which means that the feature update won’t download and install automatically until you manually start the process from the Windows Update settings. However, if the device is running a Windows 11 setup nearing the end of service, eventually, the 2023 Update will install automatically.

What are the new features for Windows 11 23H2?

According to the company, Windows 11 23H2 will introduce over 150 new features across the operating system and inbox apps. The main feature that the company is touting is Copilot (formerly known as Windows Copilot). Copilot is a new AI experience that combines Bing Chat and first and third-party plugins, allowing you to interact with the chatbot using natural language to get complete answers to questions and change system settings.

Copilot change system settings

The feature update introduces an updated version of File Explorer using modern code that also delivers three major visual changes, including a new “Home” page design, a new “Gallery” view, and improvements to the header interface. The new File Explorer also brings changes to Nearby Sharing, and you will now be able to open and extract RAR, 7z, GZ, and TAR file formats.

File Explorer extract RAR and 7-Zip
File Explorer extract RAR and 7-Zip

Another interesting feature coming with the 2023 Update is the “Dynamic Lighting” feature that makes it possible to manage lighted accessories without third-party tools.

Dynamic lighting settings
Dynamic lighting settings

In addition, Windows 11 23H2 adds the ability to create and manage passkeys. “Passkey” is a secure alternative to replace passwords when you have to sign in to websites and apps supporting this authentication mechanism.

Windows 11 Passkeys settings

Microsoft is also touting a new Ink Anywhere feature that basically allows users with touch-enabled devices to use their pen to write on virtually any text box on Windows 11. 

The new Windows Backup app is another addition coming with the 2023 Update that will make it easier for users to recover their settings, passwords, apps, and files in case of system failure.

Windows 10 new backup app
Windows 10 new backup app

The feature update is also expected to bring a variety of new features to many inbox apps, including Microsoft Paint with an image creator AI feature, support for layers, and the ability to remove the background from an image. The Photos app is getting a background blur feature and improvements for search. The Snipping Tool will now allow you to extract text from screenshots and redact content before sharing a capture with sensitive information. Notepad now automatically saves your session even after restarting the computer. The company is introducing a new Outlook email client based on the web version to replace the legacy email app on Windows 11 and much more.

Update September 25, 2023: On September 26, Microsoft is only planning to make available an update that only includes parts of the features and changes for version 23H2. The update on the 26th won’t change the version number of the operating system as it will remain as version 22H2. Once the company finishes rolling out most of the features, an enablement package will be released to turn on the remaining features and switch the version number to 23H2.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].