Windows 11 2024 Update (version 24H2): New features, Arm improvements, Copilot+ PCs, and everything you need to know

Windows 11 Start Logo
(Image credit: Windows Central / Zac Bowden)

Windows 11 version 24H2 is the next big Windows version update that's now shipping on new Copilot+ PCs and is expected to roll out to more Windows 11 devices later this year. It's a significant update that touches everything from the underlying platform to top-level features and experiences, including much-needed performance and security improvements, quality-of-life updates, and much more.

Even though this next version is already shipping on Copilot+ PCs, Microsoft is yet to formally announce the next major Windows feature update, which we expect will be titled "Windows 11 2024 Update" when it's announced later this year. This is likely to happen sometime in September or October.

So, what can you expect to see in the Windows 11 2024 Update, also known as version 24H2? Let's break it down.

Windows 11 2024 Update: Release date & availability

The big annual OS update is coming. (Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

Windows 11 version 24H2 is already available on new Copilot+ PCs that began shipping on June 18. If you recently purchased a device with a Snapdragon X chip, you are already running the Windows 11 2024 Update. If you are using a device that was purchased before June 18, the Windows 11 2024 Update is not yet available to you.

According to my sources, Microsoft is targeting a September or October release window for version 24H2 on PCs that aren't Copilot+ compatible. I'm told Microsoft intends to finalize version 24H2 for all other PCs in August, with a rollout expected to begin in the weeks following. Version 24H2 is based on a new release of the Windows platform. 

A new release of the Windows platform means the update will be installed using the "OS swap" method. An OS swap update is one that is applied by replacing the entire OS with a newer version. This is different from version 23H2, which was applied by servicing the existing OS install. This is only possible when the platform release doesn't change between versions.

When the update does begin rolling out in September or October, it will do so in waves. This means you may not get the update right away, as Microsoft likes to make sure the update is working as intended before a broader rollout. You will be able to manually update to Windows 11 version 24H2 if you don't want to wait. In fact, you can do that right now.

Windows 11 2024 Update: Copilot+ PC Features

Copilot+ PCs have a special new wallpaper. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Windows 11 version 24H2 is the first version of Windows to ship with new features that are exclusive to new PCs with a dedicated NPU that can output at least 40 TOPS of power. These PCs are called Copilot+ PCs, the first of which began shipping on June 18 and are powered by Qualcomm's new Snapdragon X chips. Here are the new AI features that are only available on these new devices.

Windows Recall

Windows Recall

The Windows Recall app. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Recall is the most significant new feature, which is expected to arrive later this year. It's an app that runs in the background and captures snapshots of everything you see and do on your computer, enabling the ability to search for anything you've ever done on your PC with natural language. 

The app has a timeline interface that runs along the very top of the screen and lets the user scroll back through all the snapshots that have been captured over the period of time you've set. Recall can document everything it sees on screen, including apps, sentences, webpages, documents, photos, videos, and more. 

With Recall, you can search for pretty much anything that you've done or seen. For example, a user could type “find that picture of a dinosaur that Sarah sent me on WhatsApp” and the AI will be able to bring up the exact moment when that image was shared with you.

Microsoft says this feature is 100% privacy-focused. All the data Recall creates is handled by the on-device NPU, and is never sent to the cloud to be processed. Microsoft says it does not use any of the Recall data to train its AI models, and are assuring us that the data simply never leaves your computer. The user is free to turn off Recall if they don't want to use it.

Windows Studio Effects

The new Windows Studio Effects on Copilot+ PCs. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Copilot+ PCs are also capable of a new set of Windows Studio Effects that can be applied to your webcam and microphone and utilize AI to "enhance" your video and audio feed no matter the app, whether it be Teams, Skype, Zoom, Slack, Google Meet, or the camera app.

Windows Studio Effects can be accessed via the Windows 11 Control Center, and from there you can enable several different visual effects including background blur, eye correction, portrait light, and illustrative filters that smooth out your skin or give you an animated/cartoon appearance. 

Live Captions

Live Captions

(Image credit: Windows Central)

An impressive new accessibility feature available on Copilot+ PCs is a new Live Captions feature, which uses AI to translate 40+ different languages from live or pre-recorded audio and video in real-time, directly on the device.

Microsoft has also elevated the Live Captions button to the very top level of the Windows 11 Control Center, making it even easier to access and enable when you need it. Now, you can be on a call with people who don't speak your language, and still understand them thanks to AI in Live Captions.

Image generation

Paint Cocreator generate AI image

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)

Microsoft is introducing new on-device generative AI capabilities with Cocreator in Paint and Image Generator in Photos, which can generate images and text based on prompts provided by the user. In Paint, Cocreator can help bring your sketch to life. You can draw a basic outline and tell Cocreator what you want the image to be, and it will attempt to build upon your basic sketch. 

Image Generator in Photos lets you type in a query and have the Photos app generate that image directly on the device, without reaching out to the cloud.

Windows 11 2024 Update: Microsoft Copilot

Windows Copilot is now a fully-fledged app. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft is planning to deliver even more updates to the Microsoft Copilot for Windows with version 24H2, starting with the introduction of the Windows Copilot PWA. Unlike previous releases, Windows Copilot in version 24H2 is now a fully-fledged web app, which means it can be moved around your screen and snapped just like a normal app.

It also has an updated UI, with a dedicated area for chats with Copilot, alongside a sidebar interface that keeps track of the different topics of conversation you've had with Copilot. You can also access plugins and the Copilot notebook from this sidebar.

With Copilot now being treated like an app, you can finally position the icon wherever you like on the Taskbar or Start menu. Additionally, you can unpin it just by right-clicking the icon, and it can even be uninstalled if you don't intend to use it.

Windows 11 2024 Update: File Explorer

You can now compress to different archive formats. (Image credit: Windows Central)

As is the case with every new version of Windows, Microsoft is making more changes to the File Explorer app with version 24H2. Microsoft has updated the context-menu across the OS, now placing common actions such as copy, paste, and cut at the very top in much larger buttons that also include the name of the action. This makes them more easily accessible compared to previous versions of Windows.

This release also delivers the ability to create 7Zip and TAR compressed archive files in addition to ZIP files. The 23H2 release added the ability to extract these archive files but not create them. Microsoft also says it has improved the performance of File Explorer when opening large ZIP files.

Additionally, PNG files now support viewing and editing metadata. This means users can now set a star rating in the properties dialog, edit a PNG file description, and add keywords. 

Windows 11 2024 Update: Arm and emulation

The Surface Pro X runs better with version 24H2. (Image credit: Ben Wilson | Windows Central)

Windows 11 version 24H2 is a notable release for Windows on Arm PCs, as Microsoft says the OS has been "rearchitected" from the ground up for Arm chips. This means Windows PCs with a Snapdragon or Microsoft SQ chip will run better on Windows 11 version 24H2, with slightly better battery life and performance gains across the board.

This is partly helped by Microsoft's new emulation layer called PRISM for x86 apps on Arm, which the company says is more energy-efficient and performant. Indeed, in benchmark tests older Windows on Arm devices are seeing up to 10% better performance in emulated apps, which is noticeable in day-to-day usage.

Windows 11 version 24H2 is the first Windows update that actually improves things across the board for Windows on Arm devices. Whether you're using an older Surface Pro X or ThinkPad X13s, these devices are now better thanks to Windows 11 version 24H2.

Windows 11 2024 Update: Quick Settings

The new Quick Settings panel. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft is making some changes to the Quick Settings panel on the Windows taskbar. Starting with this release, the Quick Settings interface is now paginated, meaning you can scroll through all of the quick settings available on your PC instead of having a selection of them manually placed there by the user. You can still customize the positioning of the settings by clicking and dragging them.

The Wi-Fi list in the Quick Settings panel has also been updated with a new refresh button, which will refresh the Wi-Fi list when pressed. Users who use a VPN on Windows will also notice an improved UI for managing your VPN in the Quick Settings panel, with a new split toggle that lets you turn it on and off with a single click.

Live Captions have also been promoted to the top-level of the quick settings interface, allowing you to easily enable the feature with a single click. Lastly, Microsoft says it has improved the performance of the Quick Settings panel, which means it shouldn't take as long to open when attempting to open it for the first time upon a reboot. 

Windows 11 2024 Update: Phone Link

Phone Link in the Start menu. (Image credit: Mauro Huculak)

Microsoft is adding several improvements to the phone linking capabilities between Windows and Android devices with the version 24H2 update. There's a new "manage mobile devices" app that lets you link your phone to your PC outside of the Phone Link app for basic functionality like photo notifications, as well as the ability to setup your phone as a webcam for your PC. The Phone Link app still exists and will remain the best way to sync text messages and notifications between your phone and PC.

Microsoft is also adding Phone Link integration to the Start menu via a new panel that will float alongside the menu with your phone's status and notifications. You can click any of the items in this panel to be launched directly into the Phone Link app.

Windows 11 2024 Update: Voice Clarity

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)

Microsoft is introducing Voice Clarity, an AI powered microphone enhancement feature that will remove background noise when on a call or recording. The feature was previously exclusive to Surface PCs with NPU hardware, but will now be rolling out to all supported Windows 11 PCs without the need for a dedicated NPU chip with version 24H2.

Windows 11 2024 Update: Energy Saver

The new Power & battery settings page. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft is reworking how battery saver and power options work with version 24H2, introducing a new "Energy Saver" mode that applies to both PCs with batteries and PCs without. 

The new Energy Saver mode will reduce your PC's energy consumption by reducing system performance. This should help extend battery life on laptops and reduce the power pulled from the wall on desktop PCs. 

When enabled, desktop PCs will even see an energy-saver icon in the system tray, similar to the battery life indicator on laptops, just without a battery percentage. The goal of Energy Saver is to make your PC more energy efficient, reducing your carbon footprint.

Microsoft has also added more power controls to the Power & battery area in the modern Settings app. You can now set lid and power button controls and even configure when your PC enters hibernate after a set amount of time. Previously, these controls were only configurable in the classic Control Panel app.

Windows 11 2024 Update: Sudo

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)

Version 24H2 for Windows 11 introduces support for Sudo (superuser do,) a command line first popularized on Linux. Sudo for Windows lets users run elevated processes via command line, with a number of different configuration options:

  • In a new window: A new window will open in which the elevated command will run.
  • With input disabled: The elevated command will run inline with its stdin closed in the window from which you’ve triggered elevation. You will not be able to interact with the elevated process.
  • Inline: The elevated command will run inline in the window from which you’ve triggered elevation. This mode is most similar to the sudo experience on other platforms.

By default, the new Sudo for Windows feature will be off for security reasons, but users will be able to enable it easily in the Settings app if it's something they intend to use.

Windows 11 2024 Update: Microsoft Teams

The new unified Microsoft Teams client. (Image credit: Microsoft)

This update introduces a unified Teams experience that merges both Teams for school and work, and the personal Teams client under one roof. This means starting with Version 24H2, users will be able to use the built-in Teams client to message friends and family, as well as join work meetings and conversate with colleagues.

Users can seamlessly switch between their work, school, and personal accounts within the app, and notifications will now be identified when they come in so you know which account they're coming from.

Windows 11 2024 Update: General

Quality of life improvements are also coming. (Image credit: Future)

As always, there are general quality-of-life improvements on the way with version 24H2 as well. There's a new offline installation interface that looks a little more modern. Microsoft is also testing a new "Install drivers" button during the out-of-box experience on the Wi-Fi setup page, which will be handy for system builders to install Windows cleanly without drivers.

Microsoft is removing a number of built-in Windows apps from the OS image. Starting with this release, Cortana, Mail, Calendar, Maps, People, and Movies & TV will no longer be installed by default. WordPad will also be removed in a future update.

On the Taskbar, Microsoft has added a little Wi-Fi icon animation when connecting to a Wi-Fi network, and right-clicking the icon will now present a "Diagnose network problems" context menu shortcut for jumping right into fixing connectivity issues. The Task Manager icon has also been updated with a new design.

There's also a new "Windows protected print mode" feature that will let your PC exclusively print using the Windows modern print stack, which works with Mopria-certified printers only. These printers don't depend on third-party software installers and are supposed to "just work."

Version 24H2 will be the first to support USB80Gbps speeds, which is a major version update to the USB4 standard and will be found on new hardware launching this year. This release also brings RUST support to the Windows Kernel.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

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 and Threads

  • Jeffery L
    I'm confused about the Energy Saver thing. Is there still going to be "Power Mode"? Power Mode remembers a setting for when plugged in, and when on battery. I set Power Mode to "Best Performance" when plugged in and best efficiency when on battery. I would not want to use Energy Saver when plugged in. I think an "Energy Saver" feature should be better nuanced in terms of settings. What I really want is to put background activity to a minimum, but not compromise the CPU clock speed.

    Regarding Voice Carity. I hope it defaults to "Default", and "Default" is zero processing. A lot of people use Windows as a music/audio production platform. A mic input should just receive the audio and not alter it. I'm thinking Microsoft could be overstepping the boundaries of an OS. Audio processing should be handled at the application level, and not right at the input by the OS.