Windows 11 23H2: Rollout chaos; no copilot in Europe thanks to DMA

Windows[German]As of September 26, 2023, Microsoft has started to distribute the "fall update" (internally called Moments 4 Update) for Windows 11 22H2. This is supposed to enable the feature upgrade to Windows 11 23H2 "later" – but is likely to lead to a rollout chaos. First, it is now not clear when certain features will be unlocked on individual Windows 11 systems. Secondly, the heavily advertised Copilot will not be released in Europe for the time being. The following is an outline of this topic.


Fall update: Big balloon blown up

As of September 26, 2023, Microsoft has released preview updates for Windows 10 and Windows 11, including the Windows 11 22H2 Preview Update (see Windows 11 22H2: Preview Update KB5030310 (September 26, 2023)).

Windows 11 22H2 Sept. 2023 Preview Update

The whole thing was accompanied by "fireworks of announcements" from Microsoft. The above tweet refers to the Techcommunity post Enhancing Windows 11 security, accessibility, and management for enterprises, which deals with the improvements for enterprises.

  • Windows Firewall has been tweaked to allow administrators to securely set firewall rules on specific applications without an absolute file path (done through Application Control for Business app ID tagging with firewall rules via Microsoft Intune).
  • Firewall rules can be set for inbound and outbound ICMP types and codes. ICMP stands for Internet Control Message Protocol.
  • Administrators can configure more detailed firewall logging settings for domain, private and public firewall profiles.
  • Administrators can now configure Network List Manager settings to determine if a Microsoft Entra device is on the local domain subnets. This helps ensure that firewall rules are applied correctly by using the Network List Manager settings for firewall location detection.

All innovations for enterprise environments can be read in the Techcommunity article linked above. Mike Harsh, Partner Director, Product Management, also posted the article New experiences designed to make every developer more productive on Windows 11, which is aimed at developers.

Then Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President & Consumer Chief Marketing Officer at Microsoft, pointed out in the following tweet the bouquet of innovations that should now start rolling out with the next "major" Windows 11 update.


Windows 11 22H2 Sept. 2023 Preview Update

The details are described on the Microsoft page The most personal Windows 11 experience begins rolling out today. Already in the tweet above, it is indicated that this Moments 4 or Fall update will have over 150 new features and come with modernized apps as well as Copilot. I had already made the "mistake" in the blog post Windows 11 23H2 will be released on September 26, 2023 (with Copilot) of giving details and dates that turned out to be moot.

In the article How to get the latest Windows 11 innovations, John Cable, Vice President, Program Management, Windows Servicing and Delivery, still tells how one should be able to obtain these innovations for Windows 11. But this is a piece of "smoke and mirrors", as I will explain in the following paragraphs.

New Windows 11 feature rollout by "bunch of amateurs"

I have used such a procant headline, because what Microsoft is announcing at the moment is nothing more than an "inflated empty bag" that bursts with a bang when you hit it. If you read the above announcement The most personal Windows 11 experience begins rolling out today carefully, you probably will be amazed.

A (heavy announced) preview update (internally called Moments 4) for Windows 11 22H2 has been released on September 26, 2023. People can also install this. But it's till now not clear, when the individual new features will be enabled really (or delivered later) by Microsoft. And also the date, when the "Fall 2023 Update" to Windows 11 23H2 will be released/enabled exactly is still open – it shall come sometime in Q4 2023.

It is also completely unclear when individual Windows 11 users will be able to "enjoy" the (dubious) innovations of Windows 11. I'll keep it short here, for blog readers who are interested in all this, I refer to the German article Windows 11: Gewolltes Update-Chaos zur schnellen Einführung des Copiloten by Martin Geuß on Dr. Windows. There, Martin Geuß already stated yesterday that it has finally become unpredictable when a certain feature will land on a Windows 11.

  • AOn September 26, 2023, some features of the Moments 4 update were rolled out via Preview Update – and will then be installed on all Windows 11 22H2 systems on the next patchday on October 10, 2023.
  • When the new features mentioned by Microsoft in above posts as well as the upgrade to Windows 11 23H2 will come to specific users is currently still open. Microsoft may release the new features (as feature drops) incrementally, and even as A/B tests on individual users' systems. So it's not possible to compare two Windows 11 system.
  • The Copilot for Windows, for which Microsoft has been drumming for months, will not be released in Europe for the time being – more on that below.

Kind of a deadly combination for administrators who want to roll out consistent functionality across the enterprise. However, administrators do have the option to block certain features from being unlocked. Here we will have to wait and see what happens in October, November or December 2023 after Microsoft has sorted itself out internally.

At this point, I would like to point out that the linked Microsoft articles, such as The most personal Windows 11 experience begins rolling out today by Yusuf Mehdi, should be read very carefully, including the footnotes. In the following, I will discuss Copilot – and Paint Cocreator also has its own special requirements.

Sorry, no copilot for Europeans now

The funniest thing about all these pirouettes Microsoft has been doing is something that has pleased me immensely. Copilot for Windows (11) has been touted by Microsoft for months as the ultimate ration. And Copilot is, after all, supposed to be flushed out to Windows 11 22H2 systems with Preview Update KB5030300 on September 26, 2023. Even the Microsoft articles linked above still claim this or prominently feature Copilot as a new feature.

But if you read the extensive article The most personal Windows 11 experience begins rolling out today by Yusuf Mehdi more closely, you'll notice a footnote (I found it by searching for "North America"). There it says:

1 Copilot in Windows will start to release in preview to select global markets as part of our latest update to Windows 11. The initial markets for the Copilot in Windows preview include North America and parts of Asia and South America. It is our intention to add additional markets over time.

So for the time being, Copilot will only be introduced in North America, parts of Asia and South America. German blogger Martin Geuß had asked at his Microsoft channels and received an answer, which he published in his Dr. Windows article. There they answered Martin as follows:

Initial markets for Copilot in Windows include North America and parts of Asia and South America, with the European Economic Area (EEA) coming online as soon as we can provide a service that complies with EEA rules.

Our goal is to make Copilot available in Windows in the EEA as soon as possible, and the timeline for this is currently being developed.

When asked what that means exactly, Microsoft explained that they are working on an ambitious schedule to bring Copilot for Windows into the EEA in full compliance with the DMA. And they continue to work with the European Commission as those compliance efforts move forward. Translated, this speak means that the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is just starting in Europe, has led Microsoft to avoid launching its Copilot to European guinea pigs (the European Economic Area, EEA, includes the countries of the European Union, plus Iceland and Norway).

Microsoft further told Martin Geuß that they have started testing and implementing changes to bring certain services fully in line with the EU's Digital Markets Act by March 2024. You have to know that Copilot is currently still a preview that is being unleashed on people. And you can see from the statements above that this Copilot does not comply with the DMA (where fair competition for so-called gatekeepers is supposed to be enforced). So Microsoft gives itself roughly half a year to bend this stuff so that it is usable for the EEA.

But what hasn't been addressed at all yet is the question of whether the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is also affected by Windows Copilot – I assume that this is exactly the case. Every user need to know, that Microsoft is stealing your data, because they reserve the right "…in order to improve Microsoft's products and services, you grant Microsoft a worldwide, royalty-free intellectual property license to use your content."

The above comments refer to what is legally and officially provided and rolled out by Microsoft for the mass of users. For hobbyists, Bolko points out in this German comment that you can show the features (if already delivered in Windows 11 22H2) via the so-called staging tool. I had written about that tool in the blog post Microsoft accidentally releases Windows 11 "staging tool" to unlock features.

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One Response to Windows 11 23H2: Rollout chaos; no copilot in Europe thanks to DMA

  1. EP says:

    Copilot gets "backported" to Window 10 22H2 with the recent KB5032278 update:

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