Windows 11 2023 Update (23H2) released

Windows[German]A week ago there was speculation about when the upgrade to Windows 11 23H2 would probably be rolled out. Now Microsoft has released this feature upgrade on the evening of October 31, 2023 (it's the "Halloween" edition of this OS, so to speak, hope it won't be too spooky). The new version is available both via installation ISO files (via Media Creation Tools), and as an upgrade (offered via Windows Update) to lift compatible machines to the new build.


Official release by Microsoft

I got the press releases from Microsoft on the evening of October 31, 2023 and John Cable announced the official release of Windows 11 2023 (version 23H2) around 19:00 German time also on the Windows Blog in the post How to get the Windows 11 2023 Update. It is the second feature update for Windows 11, which was released in the fall of 2021.

New features already introduced in September

Windows 11, Version 23H2 is a cumulative upgrade, which means that the operating system includes all the recently announced features, as well as some new improvements. For example, Chat has now been renamed Microsoft Teams (free) and is pinned to the taskbar by default. In addition, entries for the system components of Windows 11 are labeled "System" in the Start menu under All Apps.

An overview of the new features was already published a few weeks ago in September 2023 on this Microsoft page. I had addressed this in the blog post Windows 11 23H2 will be released on September 26, 2023 (with Copilot). I had mistakenly believed that Microsoft would provide the update on that date – but that was not the case.

At the time, the innovations in Windows 11 22H2 were installed via update, but not really released yet. And the much-vaunted Copilot is not released in the European Union for the time being (if the release is also possible via registry intervention). The background is the Digital Service Act (DSA), where Microsoft still has to clarify things with the EU Commission.

For administrators, Microsoft has still provided a contribution to the Security Baseline in the Techcommunity. And there is the Techcommunity contribution What's new for IT pros in Windows 11, version 23H2,, in which the new features for IT admins are described.

Rollout in waves

Windows 11 2023 Update is available immediately on compatible machines worldwide. But as with previous Windows 10/11 feature updates, the rollout will happen in waves. The upgrade will only be offered in Windows Update when telemetry data shows that the device in question is ready for the upgrade. At first, only newer devices will likely enjoy the upgrade. However, Microsoft will increase the availability of the new Windows 11 version in the coming weeks, using telemetry to monitor the quality of the upgrades.


If Microsoft detects an issue with a device, such as an incompatibility with an application, the update will not be offered via Windows Update until the issue is resolved.

Microsoft plans to begin the automatic update rollout in the coming months, and will post more information (on the status of the Windows 11 rollout, protections, and what protections can be applied to your device) in the Windows Release Health Hub.

How to get Windows 11 2023 Update

As usual, Microsoft is making the feature update to Windows 11 2023 Update available through various channels, both as an ISO file and as Windows Update.

Available as Enablement Update KB5027397

Because Windows 11, version 23H2 uses the same code base and maintenance branch as Windows 11, version 22H2, this feature update is provided via Enablement Update KB5027397.

This update is available via Windows Update as well as via Windows Server Update Service (WSUS). However, a running Windows 11 22H2 is required, which has installed the preview update KB5031455 from October 26, 2023 (see Windows 11 22H2: Preview Update KB5031455 (October 26, 2023)) or a later update.

Home users with suitable devices running Windows 11, version 22H22, can get the new Windows 11 2023 by going to Windows Update on the Settings page and checking Get the latest updates as soon as they're available and then selecting the Check for updates button.

Check for Windows 11 23H2

The steps are descript within the support article Get Windows updates as soon as they're available for your device. Microsoft has provided more information on how to retrieve the update in this video. If it is determined that there is an issue on the system, such as an incompatibility with an application, Microsoft will delay the update installation and thus the feature upgrade until the issue is resolved.

In managed enterprise environments, the distribution of the enablement update will be done by administrators; that scenario is left out of the blog post here.

ISO download and MCT

Windows 11 2023 (Version 23H2) is available as an ISO installation file in addition to the Enablement Update. Microsoft provides the ISO installation files and a customized version of the Media Creation Tool (MCT).

  • For private users, Media Creation Tools (MCT) for Windows 11 22621 is available for direct download from this website.
  • Alternatively, one can go to this Microsoft site and select the download offers there.

By means of Media Creation Tools (MT), an installation image can be downloaded and, for example, placed on a USB-USB stick as an installation medium.

Currently, however, I'm not sure if all downloaded versions of the MCT already generate the installation images for Windows 11 2023 Update – I saw a few hours old tweet where someone complained that he still received Windows 11 22H2 as ISO installation media via MCT.

One more tip: If the Microsoft website is visited with a non-Windows device (e.g. iPad, Android phone), Microsoft also offers to download an ISO image file directly. I had described in the post Tip: Windows 10 ISO direct download from MS via Chrome, how you can pretend a foreign device (iPad, iPhone, Android device) via the developer mode of the browser to be able to select the ISO download from a Windows desktop.

Windows ISO-Download im Browser The screenshot above (click to zoom) shows the options in developer mode are marked with arrows to get the direct download page. Then, after selecting the language, the desired Windows 11 23H2 ISO file can be downloaded directly (just tried it) and transferred to a USB stick as installation medium with tools like Rufus.

Note: It seems that Microsoft allows a direct download of Windows 11 ISO files without using the above trick with developer tools and device emulation. But for Windows 10 ISO downloads the developer mode and a device like iPad need to be used within a desktop browser to get the download option.

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