Windows 11 Sept. 26 Update
Microsoft started the gradual rollout of some innovations that are part of the Windows 11 2023 Update (version 23H2) on September 26, and the deployment continues on October 10. The update represents the major refresh of the operating system for desktops, laptops, and tablets that ships with a new scope of features and a slew of improvements.
Since this incremental update shares the same core file system as version 22H2, it'll install as a cumulative update for devices already running the 2022 Update. On the other hand, computers using an older release (such as Windows 10 or the original version of Windows 11) will require complete reinstallation to upgrade.
Also, since this is technically a new version, you can install the part of the 2023 Update through the Windows Update settings starting on October 10. Other supported methods will be available, including Installation Assistant or ISO file, when the update becomes fully available before the end of 2023.
This guide will review the Microsoft servicing approach to upgrading devices to the Windows 11 2023 Update.
What devices will get the Windows 11 2023 Update first?
Microsoft plans to offer Windows 11 version 23H2 in multiple stages. On September 26, the company will release an update for version 22H2 that will enable some new features, including Copilot, but the version won't change. Also, the update will first be available for seekers, meaning for users that manually trigger the installation from the "Windows Update" settings.
On October 10, the same update previously available on September 26 will roll out as a mandatory update for devices running version 22H2.
At a later date, an enablement package will become available to enable the rest of the features and change the version number 23H2 for everyone. However, since the feature update is based on the same file system as version 22H2, it won't require reinstallation. Only devices known to have a smooth upgrade experience will be among the first to receive the update. Then, as the update proves more reliable, it'll roll out to other devices.
Typically, the rollout will target devices with newer hardware and configurations that do not show hardware or software problems with the 2023 Update. However, many other factors may affect availability, such as issues with the components, incompatible drivers, apps, security software (such as third-party antivirus), and the device's location.
Windows 11 2023 Update will be available as a manual upgrade, but devices nearing the end of service will eventually download it automatically through Windows Update, but this won't happen immediately. It could take months before the update applies automatically.
If you have a computer still on Windows 10, you'll first receive an option to upgrade to the most current version (the Windows 11 2022 Update). After installing the new version, you can proceed to download the latest update with the new feature. If you want to keep using the older operating system release, you must choose the "Stay on Windows 10 for now" option.
Can I force the upgrade to the Windows 11 2023 Update?
On October 10, you can only update through the "Windows Update" settings. You can still use the Installation Assistant or the ISO file, but only to upgrade to version 22H2. After the upgrade, you must use the "Windows Update" settings to download and install the new set of features with the October update. Only when the company makes version 23H2 in November (or December), you may be able to use the other tools to upgrade directly to the newest version.
The easiest way to install version 23H2 is to let the system download and install the update automatically when it's ready for your computer. However, you can open the Settings app in the "Windows Update" settings, turn on the "Get the latest updates as soon as they're available" toggle switch, and use the "Check for updates" option to force the upgrade.
The Installation Assistant tool lets you update to the latest version when the Windows Update service isn't working. However, anyone can install the Windows 11 2023 Update on a computer as it becomes available.
After version 23H2 becomes available, click the "Download Now" button to download the tool from this Microsoft support website. Once you have the utility, you only have to launch the installer and click the "Accept and install" button.
Alternatively, you can mount the official ISO file on File Explorer to launch the same setup experience as when using a USB flash drive.
You can download the Windows 11 2022 Update ISO file from the Microsoft support website under the "Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO)" section using the "Download" button.
Whether you choose to use the Installation Assistant or ISO file, the process will perform a complete reinstallation. Also, creating a temporary backup is recommended in case you need to roll back or recover files.
For additional clarification, the September or October update only includes some of the new features of version 23H2, and the update WON'T update the version number. After the installation, the system will continue to read version 22H2. Once the company finishes rolling out the new features, sometime before the end of 2023, an enablement package will be released to complete the upgrade, deploying the rest of the new components and changing the version number to 23H2.
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