Relax, IT depts: this year’s Windows 11 update isn’t a big deal

Microsoft is advising customers that this year’s annual update to Windows 11 shouldn’t require in-depth testing before deployment.

Windows 11 Version 23H2 is due for release this autumn. However, unlike previous annual or biannual updates, this one shares the same servicing branch and code base as last year’s release (22H2).

This year’s update will consequently be released as an “enablement package”, and Microsoft says that means IT departments shouldn’t need to do as much testing of the new OS as they have done in previous years.

“Since both versions share the same source code, you don’t need to worry about application or device compatibility between the versions,” states a Microsoft blog post on the Windows 11 release schedule.

As Microsoft further explains in a white paper explaining its policy on Windows updates, that doesn’t mean IT departments can put their feet up and try to hit the bin with scrunched up pieces of printer paper. But it does mean less work than previous major updates.

“It is the same source code, the same update package to install,” Microsoft’s white paper explains. “This is not to say you shouldn’t test; but those tests should focus on the new features, not a full complement of application and device compatibility tests or certifications.”

New Windows 11 features

What are the new features that might need to be tested in Windows 11 23H2? Well, the big new one that’s currently being tested on Windows Insiders in the Developer channel is the integration of the Windows Copilot AI assistant into the operating system.

Reports from early testers suggest this isn’t currently as deeply integrated into the OS as Microsoft’s early demos suggested, with most of the available tasks – such as generating text for blog posts or emails – already available via the same tools in the Edge browser.

Microsoft’s demos suggested that the AI tools would be able to suck files from one application and use them in another, taking a logo designed in Adobe Express and sharing it with colleagues in Teams, for example. However, that doesn’t appear to be available in the initial version released for testing.

IT departments will have a big decision to make on whether to permit employees to use AI tools, with the inherent risks of AI-generated content not being accurate or reflective of company policy.

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Barry Collins

Barry has 20 years of experience working on national newspapers, websites and magazines. He was editor of PC Pro and is co-editor and co-owner of He has published a number of articles on TechFinitive covering data, innovation and cybersecurity.