What’s new in Windows 11 2024 Update (version 24H2)?

What’s new in Windows 11 2024 Update (version 24H2)?

The latest version of Windows 11, called the 2024 Update or version 24H2, will be released in phases: a partial release on June 18, 2024, for new ARM-based Copilot+ PCs, featuring core updates, followed by a full release for all compatible devices sometime in September or October 2024. Though not launched at the time of writing, it’s available for testing in the Release Preview Channel of the Windows Insider Program. I got it on my desktop computer in order to see what’s new, and in this article, I’ll tell you all about it. So, if you’d like to find out which are the most exciting features and improvements coming with Windows 11 24H2, read on:

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AI and Copilot features and improvements in Windows 11 24H2

First and foremost, Windows 11 24H2 focuses on enhancing AI integration across the operating system and its apps. Here’s what to expect:

Copilot becomes an independent app

In Windows 11 version 24H2, the Copilot becomes an independent app. It no longer shows up as an icon in the system tray, but you’ll find its icon on the taskbar. When you open it, you discover that you can now resize and move it across the screen and that you can also pin or unpin it from the taskbar, just like any regular app.

Copilot becomes an independent app

Copilot becomes an independent app

Another change is that the new Copilot is actually a web app, and a consequence is that it’s no longer able to change system settings on your Windows 11 computer. This is a frustrating downside if you ask me, and I’m curious what you think.

Windows Recall lets you see your past activities

This is one of the most exciting and intriguing new features of Windows 11 24H2. Windows Recall is a new AI feature that helps you review your past activities on your computer. It’s kind of an upgraded version of the Timeline feature we had in older versions of Windows 10, but with enhanced AI capabilities and offline functionality.

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Windows Recall will be running in the background permanently, capturing snapshots of your activities and using on-device (offline) AI models to make everything searchable. Here’s a presentation of how it will actually work:

Unfortunately, it looks like Windows 11’s 24H2 system requirements for Windows Recall will make it exclusive to Copilot+ PCs. This means computers equipped with powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon X series processors, at least 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. For the time being systems with AMD and Intel processors will be left out.

Voice Clarity enhances sound

Another new AI feature, Voice Clarity will make calls and audio recordings sound better by removing background noise, as well as unwanted echo and reverberation. You don’t have to enable any switch or change any setting in the operating system to activate Voice Clarity. If your Windows 11 device has an NPU (Neural Processing Unit), this feature is enabled automatically in supported apps.

Windows Studio Effects improves video and audio calls

This feature uses AI and the NPU inside your Windows 11 device to enhance the quality of video and audio calls. It allows you to use effects such as background blur, automatic framing, or voice focus.

Live Captions automatically translates audio

Windows 11’s Live Captions give you automatic audio transcriptions, which can be very useful if you have hearing issues. In version 24H2, Live Captions can also offer live translations from over 40 languages into English. Moreover, Live Captions can also work offline.

Live Captions automatically translates audio

Live Captions automatically translates audio

Auto Super Resolution improves gaming quality

Auto Super Resolution, or Auto SR in short, is a feature that’s coming to Windows 11 version 24H2, designed to improve your gaming experience. Similar to NVIDIA’s DLSS, AMD’s FSR, and Intel’s XeSS, Microsoft’s Auto SR uses AI to upscale games and enhance both frame rates and image quality. Unfortunately, this feature also seems to be exclusive to Copilot+ PCs, requiring a Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite processor. Furthermore, it’s likely that it will be available only for some games, not all of them.

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Other features, changes, and improvements coming to Windows11 24H2

In addition to the headline AI and Copilot features, there’s a host of other improvements and changes coming to Windows 11 24H2:

Taskbar’s Quick Settings get better

The Quick Settings flyout on Windows 11’s taskbar becomes a scrollable interface that allows you to access its buttons more easily. All the available shortcuts are displayed in it now, but you can still move them around by dragging and dropping them wherever you wish. Furthermore, the Quick Settings flyout also includes a button for turning Live captions on or off now.

Taskbar’s Quick Settings get better

Taskbar’s Quick Settings get better

File Explorer gets a few improvements

The Windows 11 version 24H2 update enhances File Explorer too. One of the improvements many of us have been waiting for is the ability to create archives in formats like 7z and TAR. This is finally happening.

File Explorer lets you compress data in 7Z and TAR formats

File Explorer lets you compress data in 7Z and TAR formats

Additionally, the context menu gets a small but useful improvement. The right-click menu is more clear now, displaying labels to icons like Cut, Copy, Rename, and Delete.

The right-click menu gets labels for icons

The right-click menu gets labels for icons

Wi-Fi 7 and QR codes for sharing network passwords

The Windows 11 24H2 update is also bringing major improvements to networking. This new version of the operating system includes support for Wi-Fi 7, plus it makes sharing Wi-Fi passwords easier as the Settings app also gives you QR codes now.

Wi-Fi 7 and QR codes for sharing network passwords

Wi-Fi 7 and QR codes for sharing network passwords

Energy Saver helps you reduce power consumption

Windows 11 24H2 replaces Battery Saver with Energy Saver. This feature is designed to not only extend battery life but also reduce energy usage, even on computers without a battery.

Energy Saver helps you reduce power consumption

Energy Saver helps you reduce power consumption

Windows Protected Print Mode increases security

Windows 11’s 24H2 update also introduces a new Windows Protected Print Mode, designed to improve security by disabling the ability to load third-party drivers and implementing a wide range of new protections.

Windows Protected Print Mode increases security

Windows Protected Print Mode increases security

This mode supports only Mopria certified printers, which means that older printers might not work with it. However, most modern printers from Canon, HP, Samsung, Brother, Epson, etc. will be able to benefit from the new security standard used by Windows Protected Print Mode.

Sudo command lets you execute elevated tasks

Windows 11 24H2 brings support for the sudo command, a tool familiar to users of operating systems such as Linux or macOS. The sudo command lets you run elevated programs without starting the Terminal, Command Prompt, or PowerShell as an administrator. This makes it easier to run tasks like partitioning, formatting, or deleting protected files from a normal command-line app.

Sudo command lets you execute elevated tasks

Sudo command lets you execute elevated tasks

Security improvements (SMB, LAPS, DNR)

Windows 11 24H2 also comes with changes to the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol, enforcing SMB signing and disabling guest fallback on Windows 11 Pro editions. This helps prevent tampering and relay attacks. The Local Administrator Password Solution (LAPS) also gets new features like secure boot, virtualization-based security, and Windows Hello integration. Additionally, parts of the core of the operating system now use Rust, a memory-safe programming language. And last but not least, Windows 11 version 24H2 introduces support for the DNR (Discovery of Network-designated Resolvers) protocol, enabling DoH (DNS over HTTPS) and DNS over TLS (DoT), which improves user privacy and security on the internet.

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Settings gets more options

Windows 11 version 24H2 is also adding some options to the Settings app. Among them, it’s worth noting the Color Management ones. They get their own page in Settings now, moving away from the old Control Panel.

Color management moves to Settings

Color management moves to Settings

We also get a new Settings page called AI Components. Here, you’ll find the list of all the AI features available on your Windows 11 device. This means things like Windows Recall or Windows Studio Effects, which I talked to you about earlier in this article.

AI components can be checked in Settings

AI components can be checked in Settings

Windows 11 24H2 also removes some features

The Windows 11 24H2 update is also shedding some features and applications. Notably, the AC-3 audio codec is getting removed, and Cortana, Tips, and WordPad will no longer be available. The same happens for Windows Mixed Reality, which is now discontinued.

Are you eager to get Windows 11 24H2?

As you’ve seen, Windows 11 24H2 is shaping up to be quite a major update. Emphasizing AI features, Copilot, ease of use, and security, this new version of the operating system should be better than all the ones before it. However, I wish that Microsoft had also included other much-requested features. I still miss the option to move and resize the taskbar on my desktop. I still dislike the fact that I can’t resize the Start Menu, and I continue to frown upon the spammy Widgets in Windows 11. What about you? Do the new features and improvements make you want to install Windows 11 24H2 as soon as possible? Or will you wait until all the inherent bugs and problems get ironed out? Let me know in the comments section below.

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