Windows 11 23H2 (2023 Update): Everything you need to know and how to get it

Microsoft releases part of the Windows 11 23H2, and here's how to download and install it and get started.

Windows 11 23H2 desktop
Windows 11 23H2 desktop
  • Microsoft continues the rollout of Windows 11 23H2 (2023 Update).
  • The mandatory update KB5031354, available on October 10, enables most of the new features and keeps the version at 22H2.
  • On October 26, the update KB5031455 became available as a preview to continue expanding the new features.
  • Windows 11 23H2 becomes officially available on October 31 with the (preview) update KB5031455 and the enablement package KB5027397.

UPDATED 11/2/2023: Windows 11 23H2 is officially available starting on October 31, 2023, for devices that meet the minimum system requirements. This rollout marks the second feature update for the desktop version of the operating system that delivers a new set of features and improvements to enhance productivity, security, and the overall user experience across the desktop and apps.

This release introduces new features like Copilot, the new digital assistant powered by AI that replaces Cortana. You will find 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 update also brings support to control RGB lighting with Dynamic Lighting and passkeys and changes to the Taskbar and Start menu. In addition, Windows 11 23H2 introduces a new Windows Backup app, a redesigned Outlook email client application, and updates for Paint, Photos, Snipping Tool, Clipchamp, Notepad, and more. 

Windows 11 23H2 (2023 Update) release and requirements

The release of the new version is a bit confusing. According to the original announcement, Windows 11 23H2 was supposed to be officially available starting September 26, 2023, but this wasn’t what actually happened. 

On September 23, 2026, Microsoft released the build 22631.2361 (KB5030310) in the Release Preview Channel that enables many of the new features (such as Copilot, redesigned File Explorer, new Windows Backup app, and more), but this is technically an update for version 22H2 that doesn’t change the system version number. 

The same update (KB5030310) became available as an optional non-security update on September 26, 2023, through the Stable Channel. On October 10, 2023, the update KB5031354 (that replaces the KB5030310 update) became a mandatory security update for everyone during the October Patch Tuesday release. (The update is also known as the “Windows 11 Moment 4 update.”) Again, after installing this update, the system will still read as version 22H2. However, even though devices will receive updates, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the computer will receive all the new features as the company is gradually turning on the changes.

On October 26, 2023, the software company made available the update KB5031455 (build 22621.2506) as a non-security update that includes everything previously available with the September 26 and October 10 updates. However, this update makes available the new features to more devices. In addition, it ships with a slew of non-security fixes but without the security improvements and keeping version number 22H2.

It’s important to note that the update KB5031455 is available as a preview for version 22H2 in the Stable Channel as build 22621.2506, and it’s available with the same “KB” number for version 23H2 in the Release Preview Channel as build 22631.2506 with the same changes, plus a minor addition.

On October 31, 2023, Windows 11 23H2 is officially rolling out to complete the upgrade, enabling the remaining improvements, installing the latest security features, and switching the version number. If you trigger the update installation, the device will first download the update KB5031455 to install all the features, and then the enablement package KB5027397 will change the version number from 22H2 to 23H2 and reset the support cycle to 24 months for the Home and Pro editions and 36 months for the Enterprise and Education editions.

Windows 11 23H2 is a free upgrade available as an optional install for computers that meet the minimum requirements. This means that similar to the original release, you will need a device with at least an Intel 8th Gen (or newer) or Ryzen 2000 (or more recent processor), 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0 and Secure Boot. However, it’s important to note that if your computer already has Windows 11 22H2, version 23H2 should be installed without issues since both versions share the same file system.

If you are still on Windows 10, you can use the Microsoft PC Health Check app to confirm if you can upgrade to Windows 11.

Microsoft plans to start with devices with newer hardware known to have a smooth upgrade experience. Over time, the Windows 11 2023 update will expand to more computers based on hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, and other factors, and eventually, it’ll become fully available.

Upgrade to Windows 11 23H2 (2023 Update)

On October 31, if you have a device with version 22H2, you can install version 23H2 using the “Windows Update” settings. If you have a computer running Windows 11 21H2 or a supported version of Windows 10, you will have to upgrade to version 22H2 first and then download the KB5031354 update from Windows Update to enable the new features. (If you turn on the “Get the latest updates as soon as they’re available” option, then the device will receive the update KB5031455 and then the enablement package KB5027397 to change the version number.)

The easiest way to upgrade to Windows 11 23H2 is to use the “Windows Update” settings. However, you can also install the new version with the Installation Assistant or a USB flash drive. Alternatively, you can perform an in-place upgrade with the official ISO file.

In the case that you use any other method, the upgrade process will require a complete reinstallation, whether you are coming from the original release of Windows 11 or the most recent version of Windows 10. However, your files, settings, and apps will be preserved during the process. Although this is a non-destructive process, creating a full backup is always recommended before proceeding.

On the other hand, if you choose to perform a clean installation of Windows 11, your files, apps, and settings will be deleted.

Whether you choose to install the new version using the upgrade or clean install process, the download size of Windows 11 23H2 will be around 5GB.

If the device was previously activated in the version of Windows 10, then the Windows 11 23H2 will activate automatically without needing a new product key. It’s important to note that Microsoft has recently closed the loophole that allowed users to activate a new installation of Windows 11 with a Windows 8.1 or 7 product key.

Unsupported devices

You shouldn’t install Windows 11 23H2 on unsupported hardware, but it’s still possible to proceed with the upgrade without the “Windows Update” settings. Instead, you will need to use the ISO file or USB bootable media to perform a clean installation.

If you upgrade a computer that’s not supported, you have to understand that the installation will be in an unsupported state, which means that Microsoft won’t support the installation, updates, and drivers. Also, you may come across crashes, errors, and other problems more often than on a device with supported hardware.

If you still want to upgrade at your own risk, the device will still need to meet other minimum requirements, including a 64-bit processor with at least two cores, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and an enabled TPM 1.2 chip.

In the case that your computer doesn’t meet one or more of the requirements, you can use this workaround to bypass all the requirements.

Insider information

If you are a participant of the Windows Insider Program with a computer enrolled in the Release Preview channel, version 23H2 is probably already installed, with all the new features already available. You only need to stay on the stable version and stop preview builds by turning on the “Unenroll this device when the next version of Windows releases” option in the Windows Insider Program settings page from Windows Update.

Once you complete the steps, the computer will gracefully opt out of the program, and it will continue to get updates for as long as version 23H2 is supported. However, you need to enable this option before the computer downloads and installs another preview for the next feature update.

Get started with Windows 11 23H2 (2023 Update)

Windows 11 23H2 includes many new visual updates that make the desktop design more consistent. Of course, you will also find several new features and improvements. You can check the ultimate field guide, highlighting all the new features and changes. You can also check out this guide, which explains the biggest changes.

You can also check these guides to get started with the new version:

These guides will help you install version 23H2 in virtually any scenario:

You can always check the Windows 11 23H2 help page for even more tutorials.

Update September 27, 2023: This article has been updated to include details that version 23H2 is now available in the Release Preview Channel. Also, it’s worth noting that while Microsoft is describing the September update as an update for version 22H2, it’s version 23H2 in disguise. The only reason why the new Copilot features, the redesigned version of File Explorer, and the other features were released as the “moment 4” update for version 22H2 is that these types of updates are mandatory, and the company wanted to force the installation on devices. On the other hand, feature updates like version 23H2 are offered as optional installs, and it would have taken the company a long time to roll out the new AI features.

Update October 10, 2023: The language of the writing has been updated to reflect that the update KB5031354 is officially available, with the October 2023 Patch Tuesday rollout out as a security update. Originally, Microsoft released the update as a preview (KB5030310 – build 22621.2361) on September 26, but now, the update is available for everyone with new features and security fixes starting October 10. This guide also adds additional information about the update.

Update October 28, 2023: This article has been updated to include information about the update KB5031455, which is a preview of the November 14 Patch Tuesday update and continues to expand the new innovations of version 23H2. It’s worth noting that at the of this update, the update KB5031354 is the latest update for version 22H2, and KB5031455 is a preview that anyone can install to test the upcoming changes.

Update October 31, 2023: The language of the article and details have been updated to reflect that the new version of Windows 11 is now available for download.

Update November 2, 2023: This article adds more details about the enablement package that switches the version of the operating system.

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 14 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 20 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].