Windows 11 is a really good operating system, and microsoft has been adding lots of new things, fixing problems, and making improvements in the Windows Insider channels for a while now. The highly anticipated Windows 11 23H2 update will enable a broader range of users to benefit from these extensively tested changes and improvements. Despite the numerous exciting additions, there are a few special features that, in my view, really make the whole experience a lot better for users.
Dynamic lighting (New RGB Color Controls) for Windows 11
If you really like peripherals with RGB lights, you probably know about the problems that come up when you try to make the lights on devices from different makers work together. Companies like Corsair, Logitech, and Hyper having their own software development kits (SDKs). Therefore, you end up having to use different apps to set up the RGB lights on all your devices.
While there are apps like OpenRGB and SignalRGB that claim to work with many devices, Personally, my attention is drawn to the new Dynamic Lighting controls included in this update. I have to admit, though, that Dynamic Lighting is quite basic for now and only works with a few Razer keyboards and mice.
Still, this is a move in the right direction. This is because Dynamic Lighting is Microsoft's first try at making a single place to control RGB devices. Unlike many third-party apps, Dynamic Lighting doesn't use up a lot of your computer's power. Also, it doesn't keep showing you ads and offers all the time.
From what we've seen, it seems like Dynamic Lighting has a promising future ahead. Microsoft says that companies like Asus, Acer, HP, and Logitech are on board to use Dynamic Lighting in their products. If Microsoft can make Dynamic Lighting work with lesser-known and generic brand devices, it could become the user-friendly way to customize RGB lights that we've been hoping for!
Support for More Archive Formats
For a long time, Windows fans needed programs like WinRAR or 7-Zip to open archive formats other than .zip files. But the upcoming 23H2 update will use tools from the Libarchive Project. This will let you open .gz, .tar, and .rar files right from the File Explorer, without needing extra software.
Because Libarchive tools work well with formats like .pax, .cpio, and others, I'm optimistic that when the 23H2 update arrives, we might finally have built-in support for nearly all the important archive formats.
Dev Home and Dev Drive in Windows 11
Debuting in Windows 11 Preview Build 23466 in May, Dev Home is a hub designed for application developers. Along with tools for monitoring hardware and direct access to GitHub repositories, Dev Home lets you install more than 20 extensions, such as android Studio, Visual Studio, and PyCharm. This way, you can work on and change your projects all in one place. Microsoft has also provided detailed guides for developers to make extensions for this app. They plan to introduce an extension store to offer more widgets for Dev Home in the future.
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Additionally, you can use Dev Drive as well. This is a special drive format made for storing source code and project information, right from Dev Home. Unlike using the New Technology File System (NTFS), Dev Drive is built on the Resilient File System (ReFS). It utilizes a method called Copy-on-Write (CoW) linking and other ReFS features to enhance performance while you're creating apps.
Support for HDR Wallpaper in Windows 11
In the Windows Preview build 23516, Microsoft has at last included proper support for HDR wallpapers. But there are some limitations. The picture needs to be in .jxr format. You'll also have to adjust a few settings and set up the HDR settings on your monitor to make it work correctly. Despite the added steps, I'd prefer dealing with this setup process rather than having no support for HDR wallpapers at all.
The availability of this feature in the upcoming 23H2 update is not confirmed yet. However, multiple rumors have hinted on the coming of this feature. Hopefully, Microsoft will release it as part of this upcoming update for Windows 11.
Official Backup App for Windows
Microsoft introduced the Windows Backup app together with the Dev Drive in Build 23466. This new app lets you easily create backups of all your files and folders to your OneDrive storage by clicking a button. It also helps you transfer your app preferences, settings, and credentials when you're setting up a new PC for the first time.
The process of restoring has been significantly improved as well. When you restore your old system, the backup will remember where the apps were pinned on the Start menu and Taskbar. So, when you switch to your new PC, you can click on the app icons to reinstall them from the Microsoft Store. This works for apps not from the Microsoft Store as well. However, clicking on their icons will lead you to their website instead.
Now, with the inclusion of Windows Backup and the enhanced restore process, transferring your data to another computer while switching from an older PC or laptop will become a much simpler task.
The Windows 11 23H2 update brings in additional helpful features. These include a fresh look for the file explorer, Windows Copilot, and improvements to Windows Ink. What's even better, this 23H2 update will come as a small package. Therefore, you won't need to wait for a long time while it downloads. We don't know the exact date when this significant update will arrive. Based on previous patterns, Microsoft will probably release it around October.