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Windows 11's Current Version

2m ago

Here are all the feature updates in chronological order.

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Windows 11: Design Changes and New Feature Updates

02.08.23

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Windows has been a constant in my life for years.

I still remember the days of XP and Vista, when the OS felt purely functional.

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Updates back then were rare and mainly about bug fixes or security patches. Nothing too exciting.

But Windows-11 feels different.

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It’s starting to feel more like an app …

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Yes, a modern, AI infused app.

The regular updates nowadays often include UI tweaks and new features. 🔥

Windows 11, Version 24H2 (2024 Update)

Microsoft has relied on this straightforward versioning scheme for many major Windows releases now.

Mainstream Windows builds have always been marked “YYHX”, denoting the year and release half. So for example, Windows 11 version 22H2 came out in the second half of 2022.

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24H2 will be released in the second half of 2024?

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Yeah … that’s coming soon.

I’ll make sure to update this page when that comes out.

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What’s the current version?

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The newest Windows 11 update is Version 23H2, released in the second half of 2023.

Windows 11, Version 23H2 (2023 Update)

This 23H2 release includes all the fixes and features from previous 2022 updates, building on that foundation.

23H2 will be supported for 2 years on Windows 11 Pro and 3 years on Enterprise.

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So what’s new in this update?

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Copilot in Windows

Copilot is Microsoft’s new built-in AI assistant to help you get things done more efficiently.

It shows up as a sidebar on your desktop that you can access anytime by pressing Win+C.

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Copilot can provide relevant answers to questions, follow-ups, and can even generate images from prompts.

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Why does it look familiar though? 🤨

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Looks like Bing Chat yes?

It uses the same technology as Bing Chat, but tailored for the Windows environment.

Copilot also NOW remembers your previous chats so you can pick up where you left off.

Notepad Sessions

Notepad can now automatically save your work session when you close the app.

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No more annoying prompts asking if you want to save unsaved changes!

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Similar to Microsoft Word.

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When you reopen Notepad later, it will restore everything just as you left it.

All your previously open tabs will come back, complete with any text or edits you had made.

Recording in Snipping Tool

How often do you use the snipping tool?

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Like, every minute!

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In this update, it’s got a combined capture bar …

So you can switch between taking screenshots and recording your screen.

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Just hit Win + Shift + R (as you would) to open the capture bar for recording. 🎥

There you’ll see the new options to record your PC audio and voice overs using a microphone.

You can set up your default audio recording settings for new screen recordings in the app settings.

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RIP OBS Studio!

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👀 Moving on …

Explorer Makeover & Support for New Archive Types

Windows 11 now supports 11 archive file types

.tar, .tar.gz, .tar.bz2, .tar.zst, .tar.xz

.tgz, .tbz2, .tzst, .txz, .rar, and .7z

Thanks to the Windows Update KB5031455. This means you no longer need third-party apps to extract these file types. 📂

Although it doesn’t yet support password-encrypted files or creating these archive files. 

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RIP WinRar and 7Zip!

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The KB5031455 update also added more features to File Explorer, like a redesigned address bar that recognizes local and cloud folders.

… and a new Gallery

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Windows Photos Gets Background Blur

Open your photo in Edit mode.

Select the Background Blur option. The app will automatically find the background in your photo.

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With just one click, your subject will be highlighted and the background will be blurred out.

You can adjust the Blur Intensity or use the Brush Tool to modify the areas being blurred.

A New Volume Mixer

Windows 11 is getting a new enhanced audio mixer that lets you adjust individual app volumes and switch between audio outputs directly from the taskbar. 🎚️

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Access it from Quick Settings panel on the taskbar.

Or using the shortcut, Win + Ctrl + V.

The mixer lets you quickly switch between audio outputs (like headphones or speakers), adjust the volume of individual apps, and toggle spatial audio technologies like Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos.

End Task from The Task Bar

End Task option in the Taskbar to close unresponsive apps.

This feature is available from the app’s button context menu in the Taskbar.

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This is an option that you must turn on manually from the “For Developers” Settings > System.

Passkeys in Windows

Instead of using Passwords … Passkeys are a more secure and convenient way to sign in.

Users Create Passwords, While Passkeys Are Auto-Generated via Public Key Cryptography.

You can use Windows Hello to sign in with a PIN, facial recognition, or fingerprint. You can also use your phone or tablet to sign in by scanning a QR code or via Bluetooth.

They are unique to each website or application, resistant to phishing attempts, and can be used across all your devices.

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To use a passkey, open a website or app that supports passkeys, select “Sign in with a passkey”, and complete the passkey unlock process on the chosen device. 🚀

Snap Layouts and Snap Groups

Snap isn’t new, but it wasn’t customizable. Now it kind of is.

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Isn’t that the one where you drag windows to the edge of the screen … And it automatically adjusts?

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Yes, now you can also use layouts by pressing Windows + Z, or hovering over the minimize or maximize button in the upper-right corner of your window, or drag a window to the top center of your screen.

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You can customize your Snap layouts and Snap groups in the Settings > System > Multitasking.

More Features

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Search Box Improvements

Windows 11 includes a dedicated search box in the start button, reducing time spent navigating to File Explorer for file searches. Plus, File Explorer now allows web-based search results, enhancing file discovery. These improvements can save significant time over the course of a day.

Auto HDR

Increases the range of colors both new and old games can produce. Available only on Windows 11, this new calibration app increases control of color.

Dev Drive

A new type of storage volume that builds on ReFS (Resilient File System) technology to employ targeted file system optimization that is specifically designed to enhance performance for developer workloads.

Education Themes

You have the ability to install and use education-themed settings on your devices. These education themes are specifically created with students in mind, making them perfect for use on devices within a school environment. See more features here.

When was Windows 11 released?

Windows 11 was released on October 5, 2021. “On this day, the free upgrade to Windows 11 began rolling out to eligible Windows 10 PCs,” Remarked Aaron on the Official Microsoft Blog.

Windows 11 Vs Windows 10: Which is Better?

By definition Windows 11 is better than Windows 10.

As the newest operating system from Microsoft, Windows 11 is engineered to deliver a seamless and effortless user experience. It emphasizes improved performance and stability, marking a significant advancement in the evolution of the Windows operating system.

Why skip Windows 9?

Microsoft skipped Windows 9 and jumped to Windows 10 for two main reasons. 

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That didn’t make much sense, but okay …

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First, they wanted to make a bold statement that this was a major update, signaling a new chapter in Windows history.

Second, naming it “Windows 9” could have caused confusion due to old code from the ’90s.

Do you have to pay for Windows 11?

Nope, Upgrades to Windows 11 (from Windows 10) are free.

Min System Req. to Install Windows 11

  • You can upgrade from Windows 10, version 2004 or later.
  • 1 GHz or faster 64-bit processor with 2 or more cores on a compatible SoC.
  • 4 GB RAM.
  • 64 GB or larger storage device.
  • UEFI and Secure Boot capable system firmware.
  • TPM version 2.0.
  • DirectX 12 compatible graphics card with WDDM 2.0 driver.
  • HD (720p) Display greater than 9” diagonally with 8 bits per color channel.
  • Internet Connection and Microsoft Account

Feature-specific requirements:

  • Windows Subsystem for Android requires 8 GB of RAM and is not available on devices running Windows 11 in S mode.
  • 5G support requires 5G capable modem where available.
  • Auto HDR requires an HDR monitor.
  • BitLocker to Go requires a USB flash drive (available in Windows Pro and above editions).
  • Client Hyper-V requires a processor with SLAT capabilities (available in Windows Pro and above editions).
  • Cortana requires a microphone and speaker and is currently available in select regions.
  • DirectStorage requires an NVMe SSD and a DirectX12 GPU with Shader Model 6.0 support.
  • Intelligent Video Conferencing requires a video camera, microphone, and speaker.
  • Windows Hello requires a camera configured for near infrared (IR) imaging or a fingerprint reader.
  • The Xbox app requires an Xbox Live account.

Summary✨

Windows 11 is a significant update that brings a fresh look and feel, boosts productivity, enhances performance, and introduces new features. However, like any product, it may have some downsides such as compatibility issues with older hardware and software, user adoption, learning curve, and initial performance issues.

Key features of Windows 11 include a sleek, modern design, Snap Layouts for easy window arrangement, faster wake times, smaller update sizes, enhanced gaming with Auto HDR and DirectX 12 Ultimate, and support for Android apps. Not all older computers can upgrade due to stricter minimum hardware requirements.

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