What to expect from the Windows 11 24H2 release? The 2024 Update explained.

Everything you need to know about the next version of Windows 11, including release dates, requirement changes, install details, early upgrade, and more.

Windows 11 24H2
Windows 11 24H2 / Image: Mauro Huculak

Windows 11 24H2 (2024 Update) will be officially released sometime during the second half of 2024. The feature update is actually planned to be available for new devices in June while existing computers will start receiving it in September. This rollout marks the first major update for the operating system in 2024 that will focus heavily on AI innovations. This is in addition to the other new features, improvements, and security changes, which are always expected.

Microsoft plans to ship a slew of AI features. For example, “AI Explorer” will make everything searchable on the computer with a timeline interface. Super Resolution will automatically upscale games using AI and other features like Voice Clarity and Speak to Me, as well as improvements for Copilot.

This feature update will also introduce new features and changes outside of the AI realm, some of which include Energy Saver mode for laptop and desktop computers, Sudo command like on Linux, universal print drivers, tweaks for the Taskbar and Start menu, and support for hearing aid devices.

Even further, version 24H2 will bring changes to File Explorer and various built-in apps, such as Notepad and Snipping Tool. Also, the operating system will push networking, security, privacy changes, and more.

Windows 11 24H2 rollout blueprint for 2024

Here’s what to expect as part of the 2024 update release.

Release date for version 24H2

Microsoft has publicly said that version 24H2 will be released during the second half of 2024. However, the company hasn’t announced a specific day at the time of this writing.

I understand that users with existing devices will be able to download the new version in September. But if we look at how the company has been rolling out updates in the past, you’re likely going to receive the final version as a preview and as an optional install in September. Then, in October, Windows 11 24H2 will become more broadly available as the official final release without the “preview” label.

In addition to the September release, the company plans another earlier release in June, but this release will be for manufacturers.

Why two releases? The reason is that Windows 11 24H2 includes various new components necessary to support upcoming AI experiences on new hardware, especially ARM-based devices using the new Snapdragon X Series processor. As a result of this earlier release, new devices will ship without many of the new features. However, when the new version becomes available for everyone in September, these new devices will receive the remaining changes and improvements through Windows Update.

On May 20, 2024, Microsoft will be holding an event where it is expected to officially unveil some of the most important AI innovations coming to Windows 11, including “AI Explorer” and many more.

The company will also launch its new Surface line at this event, but for consumers since the event for commercial customers already happened on March 21, 2024. In this press event, Microsoft will introduce the new Surface Pro 10 and Laptop 6 with a new updated design and Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite processor.

Windows 11 24H2 RTM milestone

The Release to Manufacturing (RTM) milestone for the 2024 update has already been reached with the release of build 26100, and manufacturers are believed to have the final version to start testing the operating system on their new AI PCs.

Forced automatic installation

No, version 24H2 will not install automatically on your computer. You will receive a notification automatically when it’s ready for your device, but you will have to trigger the upgrade manually through the “Windows Update settings.

However, as time goes on, if you have a device with a version of Windows that is reaching the end of support, the feature update will eventually download and install automatically. (Usually, this doesn’t happen during the first few months of the release.)

Reinstallation requirements

Yes, Windows 11 24H2 will require a complete reinstallation since it’s a major update that will make various changes to the setup, meaning that an in-place upgrade and restart will also be required.

So, it’s important that you plan accordingly and create a temporary backup of your device before proceeding.

Features rollout

As usual, I suspect Microsoft’s rollout will be a mess in terms of communication, making it difficult to understand what you will be getting on day one. So, let me explain.

You will be able to download the final version as a preview in September before it becomes available for everyone the following month (October).

The computer will upgrade to the new version whether you install the feature in September or October. However, you (probably) won’t get all the features as Microsoft usually uses its Controlled Feature Rollout (CFR), which allows it to turn on new features gradually.

Furthermore, many innovations and improvements are happening in the built-in apps, usually rolled out through the Microsoft Store, not the upgrade process. As a result, you must check for updates manually to upgrade your apps as quickly as possible.

Even further, Microsoft sometimes says that a particular feature from an app belongs to a particular version of the operating system. However, you may receive the new improvements in an older version before upgrading.

Updated hardware requirements

The minimum hardware requirements will be the same as the original release of Windows 11, but there could be some requirement changes.

Although an NPU (Neural Processing Unit) is not a requirement to upgrade from version 23H2 or Windows 10 to Windows 11 24H2, this piece of hardware will be required for specific AI tasks. (We can confirm this because of the requirement of the new version to support the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chips.)

It hasn’t been confirmed, but the new version may require at least 16GB of RAM to run certain AI tasks.

Furthermore, Microsoft is also expected to increase the processor requirements, but not the way you think. It has been discovered in preview builds that version 24H2 will require the “POPCNT” instruction to start, and this will affect AMD and Intel processors released before 2007.

Since the operating system requires processors from Intel 8th Gen, AMD Zen 2, Qualcomm 7 and 8 Series processor, or newer, if you have a supported device already running Windows 11, this requirement won’t be an issue.

Windows 11 24H2 upgrade process

Similar to previous releases, the easiest way to upgrade to Windows 11 24H2 is to use the “Windows Update” settings. However, you will be able to install the new version with the Installation Assistant or a USB flash drive. Alternatively, you will be able to perform an in-place upgrade with the official ISO file.

I have also created a guide outlining the steps to upgrade early to version 24H2.

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. The process will keep your files, settings, and apps. Although this is a non-destructive process, it is always recommended that you create a full backup before proceeding.

If you perform a clean installation of Windows 11, the process will delete your files, apps, and settings.

Unsupported hardware install to version 24H2

Although it’s not recommended to install the operating system unsupported, if you have a computer that doesn’t meet the hardware requirements, you will be able to upgrade to version 24H2.

The only caveat is that this process won’t happen through the “Windows Update” settings. You will have to perform a clean installation with specially crafted USB bootable media.

Also, the device will be in an unsupported state, which means that Microsoft won’t be able to support the installation, updates, and drivers.

If you upgrade anyway, the device will still require a 64-bit processor with at least two cores, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and an enabled TPM 1.2 chip.

Early preview of version 24H2

If you are a Windows Insider Program participant with a computer enrolled in the Dev Channel, you are already testing the latest version of the Windows 11 2024 Update.

If you have a device in the Canary Channel, you should immediately switch to the Dev Channel to stay on version 24H2 and prevent the system from downloading previews for the next version of the operating system.

Once the new version is finalized, you should switch to the Release Preview Channel.

Whether the computer is in the Dev, Beta, or Release Preview Channel, once the new version becomes available, open the “Windows Insider Program” settings and turn on the “Unenroll this device when the next version of Windows releases” option.

After turning on the setting, the computer will gracefully opt out of the program and will continue getting updates for as long as version 24H2 is supported.

Windows 11 24H2 new features

The next major update of Windows 11 will include a slew of new features, visual changes, and improvements, but the focus will be AI innovations.

You can check my comprehensive guide with everything coming in 2024 as the information becomes available. However, in summary, this is what features and changes to expect with version 24H2:

  • Copilot auto start for devices with 27-inch monitors.
  • Option to change Copilot for other chatbot providers.
  • Copilot will now work as a regular app.
  • New Sudo command (like in Linux) for Windows 11.
  • New Super Resolution to upscale games using AI on-demand.
  • New Energy Saver feature for laptops and desktops.
  • Taskbar tweaks, including redesigned Quick Settings, Live captions, and more.
  • New Voice Clarity feature to enhance audio by canceling echo, suppressing background noise, and reducing reverberation in real-time with AI.
  • New Speak for Me feature to create voices with AI.
  • New File Explorer compression wizard to create archive formats with 7z, Tar, and Zip.
  • Updated context menu with labels for Cut, Copy, Paste, etc.
  • New support for Wi-Fi 7.
  • New option to share Wi-Fi credentials using the camera app.
  • Updated Display settings with the option to change color profiles.
  • New “Windows Protected Print Mode” (WPP) to set up printers without third-party drivers.
  • Support for hearing aids devices with Bluetooth Low Energy Audio (LE Audio) technology.
  • New pointer indicator feature to help low-vision users locate the cursor on the screen.
  • Updated Widgets dashboard with a new left-side rail to switch between widgets and news feeds.
  • New setup experience with a new interface and settings.
  • New update system to install updates without requiring a reboot.

In addition, Microsoft has yet to announce some other features, such as AI Explorer and other AI features.

Windows 12 won’t be released in 2024

In 2024, Microsoft was supposed to introduce “Windows 12,” but the company decided to release yet another feature for Windows 11.

One reason for keeping the same operating system version is branding to prevent further fragmentation of versions. Currently, the operating system has around 1.4 billion active users, and only around 400 million are running Windows 11. The remaining billion are still on Windows 10, primarily due to unsupported hardware that doesn’t allow users to upgrade.

If the company added another version, the fragmentation could grow, slowing down the addition rate even more.

Windows 12 or whatever the name the company chooses for the next version will eventually happen, but not in 2024.

What do you think about the next version of Windows 11? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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 About.me. Email him at [email protected].