Major Windows 11 feature update brings Bing Chat to the Taskbar, tablet mode improvements, and much more
New features are now available on Windows 11.
What you need to know
- Microsoft has unveiled new features coming to Windows 11 users starting today.
- New features include Bing Chat in Windows Search, a new tablet-optimized Taskbar, and many other features and enhancements.
- Users can manually download the update today, or have it automatically installed with the March 2023 security update.
Microsoft has unveiled the first big Windows 11 feature drop for 2023, which brings with it a handful of new features and changes that are designed to enhance the Windows 11 user experience. The update is available starting today and will roll out to all users as part of the March 2023 security update on March 14.
Microsoft's Chief Product Officer, Panos Panay, unveiled the new update in a blogpost earlier today:
"It’s an exciting time in technology, not just for our industry but for the world. The Windows PC has never been more relevant in our daily lives, and this is increasingly the case as we approach the next wave of computing led by the mass adoption of AI. Today’s major update to Windows 11, that I am pumped to introduce meets this new age of AI and reinvents and improves the way people get things done on their PCs."
Microsoft touts several new features as part of this release, including an optimized Taskbar for tablets and 2-in-1 devices, an updated Teams Chat interface, full-screen Widgets, tabs in Notepad, and screen recording in Snipping Tool, among many other additions. The company has also announced Phone Link for iOS, which will roll out later in the year but is available in preview for Windows Insiders starting today.
Microsoft is also highlighting a new search box interface on the Taskbar, which ties in with Microsoft’s recent Bing Chat AI launch. The search box can now display the Bing Chat icon, and the Search panel now features the new Bing with the ability to launch into a chat session with suggested chat prompts quickly.
For business customers with PCs managed by Active Directory, the Start menu is being updated with AI that will better surface files and content that it thinks might be most relevant to the user. There’s also the new Cloud PC app, which lets businesses create PCs in the cloud for employees to connect to.
These new features arrive as part of Microsoft's commitment to "continuous innovation" on Windows 11, which lets the company regularly update the OS with new features and enhancements. The last feature drop arrived in October and introduced Tabs in File Explorer along with other minor additions.
Microsoft's next feature drop for Windows 11 is internally scheduled for sometime in May or June. For now, here's what's new in today's feature drop:
What's new in the Windows 11 February 2023 feature drop?
Here's a quick rundown of what's new in this second feature drop for Windows 11:
- Bing Chat in Windows Search
- New search bar options for the Taskbar
- Touch-optimized Taskbar for tablets and 2-in-1 devices
- Modernized Taskbar system tray overflow menu
- Phone Link for iOS (preview)
- Tabs in Notepad
- Screen recording in Snipping Tool
- Search in Task Manager
- Energy recommendations in Settings
- Voice access improvements
- Redesigned Quick Assist app
- Full-screen Widgets panel with third-party widget support
- AI powered file recommendations in Start for AAD joined devices
- Windows Studio Effects in Quick Settings
How to get the Windows 11 February 2023 update
If you'd like to install this update now, you can head to Windows Update and install the optional cumulative update that should be waiting.
If you don't see the update, it might still be rolling out, so you'll have to wait a short while. (The update is now live as of 1 PM ET.)
All users will automatically get these new features as part of the March 2023 security update rolling out on March 14.
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Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.