Microsoft’s next major Windows 11 update could bring the biggest AI upgrade yet

It’s beginning to look like we’re getting another Windows 11 update in the second half of 2024 which could bring even more artificial intelligence (AI) features to the operating system. 

Windows Latest spotted references to the update, dubbed “Hudson Valley” and also known as Windows 11 24H2, in a support document – and it looks like Microsoft might not have wanted the existence of this update to be made public.

However, Windows Latest spotted references to the EnumDeviceDrivers function, used by system admins and developers to interact with Windows 11’s drivers.

The document that references this function also mentions Windows 11 Version 24H2. The document elaborates that update 24H2 will modify how Windows 11 retrieves information from the EnumDeviceDrivers function.

You can check out the document for yourself, but it’s intended for developers and other similar professionals, so it’s a bit of a dry read.

AI for the Windows guy

So, there you have it – Microsoft is planning to update 24H2, which we can assume it’s actively working on, and we can look forward to it sometime in Q3 or Q4 of 2024 if Microsoft doesn’t change course. This news follows recent reports that made reference to a new preview build that’s currently being internally tested, which suggests it could be the biggest AI upgrade coming to Windows 11 to date. 

The last major Windows 11 update we saw was Windows 11 23H2, which  Microsoft rolled out at the end of 2023, which included a preview of the Windows Copilot AI-powered digital assistant.

While insiders, tech experts, and Microsoft enthusiasts are eagerly watching for any news about the next iteration of Windows, unofficially known as Windows 12, Windows Latest also speculated that we may not be getting this for a little while. The former head of Windows and Surface at Microsoft, Panos Panay, left Microsoft in a surprising move and this leads some to think that whoever takes over probably won’t begin their tenure at Microsoft by heading up the next huge Windows release.

Microsoft’s been clear and consistent with its intent to integrate AI into multiple Windows features and apps, like Windows Copilot and Cocreator AI-powered assistants for apps like Notepad and Paint. This looks like it’ll be the Windows 11 update that will carry on this process and we’ll have to keep watching for when more information about Windows 11 24H2 comes out, and if Microsoft is indeed putting more AI efforts into Windows 11, it could mean Windows 12 won’t be here any time soon.

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These new Intel drivers for Windows 11 fix a major Wi-Fi problem – so download them now

New drivers for Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices have just been released by Intel aimed at resolving several network issues, like the dreaded blue screen of death popping up under heavy workloads or the ‘No Wi-Fi networks found’ pop-up when connecting to Miracast devices. 

According to Neowin, the drivers will also address other bugs creeping up on some user's devices including a Windows System Event ID 5002 and 5010. 

The former code usually appears when the DFS Replication (a role in Windows Server that lets you replicate folders across folders and sites) is unable to establish communication with the desired partner. Windows System Event 5010 refers to an event that is caused when a process serving an application stops responding to a ping. 

Better safe than sorry

The above bugs seem to be triggered after users' PCs are resuming from standby or restart mode, which is… pretty often. You can download the Intel Wi-Fi driver 23.20.0 from the official site and bat the blue screen of death away. Not only are these kinds of bugs relatively annoying to have to deal with – especially if you’re constantly getting blue-screened for no real reason – but they also leave your devices vulnerable to viruses. 

Even if you haven’t noticed these bugs on your device just yet, we still recommend downloading the drivers anyway just to stay on the safe side. 

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ChatGPT has now fixed a ‘major outage’ – and reopened its Plus subscriptions

ChatGPT is back online after suffering a “major” outage, according to the OpenAI status log (as spotted by Bloomberg). It’s far from the first time the chatbot has gone down in recent months, and it comes amid increased competition from Google’s brand-new Gemini artificial intelligence (AI) tool.

OpenAI, ChatGPT’s developer, posted the note on its website stating that the company’s chatbot was down for just under 40 minutes yesterday, between 5:32pm and 6:10pm PST. Outage indicator website Downdetector logged almost 3,000 reports that ChatGPT had crashed, coinciding with OpenAI’s report.

Looking back through OpenAI’s incident report page, it’s far from the only time that ChatGPT has gone down recently. November was a particularly error-prone month, with another “major” outage on November 8, while a whole host of OpenAI services were inaccessible on November 11.

The latest crash comes at a potentially challenging time for OpenAI, as Google has just launched its Gemini large language model (LLM) that will power a range of AI services for the search giant. Yet Gemini hasn’t got off to the best start, as complaints have mounted over its abilities and Google’s decision to fake a “hands-on” video of the tool.

ChatGPT Plus resumes subscriptions

A laptop screen showing the landing page for ChatGPT Plus

(Image credit: OpenAI)

Just as ChatGPT was coming back online, OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman shared some more positive news on X (formerly Twitter), noting that the company had re-enabled ChatGPT Plus subscriptions. “Thanks for your patience while we found more GPUs,” Altman added dryly.

ChatGPT Plus is OpenAI’s subscription service. For $ 20 / £16 a month, users gain access to a more advanced LLM (powered by GPT-4 rather than GPT-3.5, which runs the regular version of ChatGPT), faster response times and “priority access to new features and improvements.”

ChatGPT Plus had become so overrun in recent months that OpenAI was forced to pause subscriptions. According to Altman, a surge in use after OpenAI’s DevDay developer conference “exceeded our capacity and we want to make sure everyone has a great experience.”

With the rise of Google Gemini, you might be taking this moment to consider whether ChatGPT Plus is worth it. Google says Gemini can beat GPT-4 in a majority of tests, yet that’s with its high-end Ultra model, which isn’t available yet. So for now, ChatGPT Plus is still probably the best AI chatbot you can get – at least until Gemini Ultra launches.

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Facebook Messenger gets its biggest ever update – including a major privacy boost

Big changes are coming to Facebook Messenger, covering everything from photo and video sharing to user privacy. The changes are rolling out from today, although it may take some time for everyone's account to be updated.

Perhaps the biggest upgrade is the switch to end-to-end encryption as the default option for conversations – this had previously been available as an option in individual chats, but will now be automatically applied to all conversations and audio and video calls.

As on other similarly secured messaging apps like WhatsApp, end-to-end encryption means only you and the person or people you're chatting to can see the conversations – so no one else can intercept or unlock your communications, including staff at Meta, malicious actors, and law enforcement agencies.

The existing disappearing messages feature is getting tweaked, too: all messages now vanish after 24 hours (previously you could customize this), and Meta is making it easier for users to see when disappearing messages are enabled. You'll be alerted if anyone tries to take a screenshot of a disappearing message, too.

More upgrades

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Message editing in the Facebook Messenger app

Message editing is coming to the Messenger app (Image credit: Meta)
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Photo layouts in the Facebook Messenger app

Get ready for new photo and video layouts (Image credit: Meta)

In addition, Messenger is now joining Apple's iMessage in letting you edit messages after you've sent them. You get a 15-minute window after a message has been sent to revise it, if you've made a glaring typo or want to change the tone of your latest communication.

Another change is that read receipts can now be switched off, if you don't want other people knowing when you've seen their messages. As is the case with other messaging apps, there's a trade-off: you won't be able to see read receipts from other people either.

Photo and videos will now be shared at an “upgraded” quality, Meta says – so expect files that are less compressed when you share them around. Photos and videos will be easier to access in the Messenger interface, with some “fun” layouts applied when you share them in batches, and instant reactions to photos and videos are being added too.

Lastly, voice messages are going to get controls for variable speed playback, and the app will now remember where you left off in a voice message if you come back to it later. Voice messages will also continue to play if you navigate away from the chat or the app.

All in all, it's a big range of upgrades that'll be welcome for regular Messenger users, even if it might not convince others to switch from WhatsApp or iMessage.

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Windows 11’s final major update before Windows 12 could drop soon – and here’s what it will look like

Keen-eyed observers have spotted ISOs of the next version of Windows 11, Windows 11 23H2, on Microsoft’s servers. This suggests that the company is preparing the update for public rollout very soon. 

ISO files are digital versions or copies of a whole disk like CD, DVD, or Blu-ray – but all in a single smaller file. In this case, ISO files (or sometimes called ISO images) of Windows 11 23H2 have been seen on Microsoft’s servers. 

It’s also expected that Windows 11 23H2 will have all the new features from the recent “Moment 4” update to Windows 11 22H2, and introduce some new changes like an enhanced notification center, a System Components page, and Microsoft's shiny new AI assistant, Copilot.  While the Windows 11 23H2 update isn’t the most ground-breaking in Windows 11’s history, it’s still worth installing to get the new features and ensure your PC gets support from Microsoft.

With rumors that Windows 12 could be coming sooner rather than later, this may be the last major update we get to Windows 11.  The last major update to Windows 11 was version 22H2, which was released in September 2022, and has seen regular updates. Windows 11 22H2 Home, Pro, Pro Education, and Pro for Workstations editions will be supported by Microsoft until October 8, 2024, according to its lifecycle policy. Meanwhile, Windows 11 Enterprise and Education editions will be supported a little longer until October 14, 2025.

Young woman using a laptop inside at night

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to get the new Windows 11 update

Microsoft will continue to put out security updates, bug fixes, or technical support for the above versions of Windows 11 22H2 up until those stated dates. That means you shouldn’t wait too long to upgrade to Windows 11 23H2, as upgrading will ensure you get the latest features and fixes. If you want to make the change sooner, we hope to see it available as an optional update in Windows Update very soon – and we’ll let you know as soon as it’s available to download.

Windows Latest, which reported on the existence of the ISOs, concludes that update 23H2 will be the last major update for Windows 11, with Microsoft expected to announce the next generation of Windows (which many people are calling “Windows 12”, despite Microsoft being understandably tight-lipped about any potential successor to Windows 11). Windows Latest also states that it’s known for some time that we’re to expect Windows 11 23H2 at some point in October or November of this year, and that seems spot on now that the ISOs of the update have appeared on Microsoft’s servers over the weekend, suggesting the launch is imminent. 

Apparently, there are two versions of the update ISOs, English (United States) and China, and we can reasonably conclude that the update is done and dusted (at least for these languages), and being prepared for commercial dispatch to users. What’s left is to watch for Microsoft’s official communications about the update.

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Windows 11’s next major update might be a bit disappointing

Windows 11’s feature update coming later this year may not be all that extensive in terms of what it introduces to the OS, as we’ve just been told that it’ll be an enablement package.

We’ll come back to what that means in a moment, but this discovery was made in an update Microsoft issued about the Windows client roadmap (for businesses, but this still applies to 23H2 for everyone, of course – it’s the same update wherever it’s applied).

As Thurrott.com spotted, Microsoft said: “The upcoming Windows 11, version 23H2 shares the same servicing branch and code base as Windows 11, version 22H2. What does it mean for you? If you’re running Windows 11, version 22H2, it will be a simple update to version 23H2 via a small enablement package.”

To explain this more fully, Microsoft has used these enablement packages with Windows 10 for the past few feature updates. What this means is that an upgrade is preloaded to the PC before it goes live, and then when that time comes, all Windows has to do is download a small enablement package. That, as the name suggests, is effectively a switch that enables all the features which are already preloaded on the PC (making for a swift and painless installation).

So, the Windows 11 23H2 update being delivered by an enablement package means that it runs on the same code base as 22H2, as Microsoft points out in the above statement. Meaning there likely won’t be any big (fundamental) changes coming with 23H2.

That’s typically the case with these enablement packages – they are relatively minor updates, and sharing the same code base, can be preloaded in this way. This is certainly what we’ve seen with Windows 10 upgrades delivered via the enablement route.


Analysis: Copilot not cleared for take-off in 2023?

Shouldn’t we expect all that much from the next Windows 11 update, then? That’s certainly the strong hint imparted by this announcement from Microsoft (which confirms speculation previously buzzing around the rumor mill).

But, you might be thinking, isn’t there a lot of stuff coming with Windows 11 23H2? Well, maybe not so much, if this latest move is any indication. True, we are expecting a big File Explorer revamp, and there’s something else rumored in the way of a major move: the introduction of Microsoft’s Copilot AI.

This certainly makes us think that maybe Copilot won’t be turning up ready to assist you on the desktop in 23H2. The rumor mill has indicated the AI is supposedly inbound with 23H2, but we’ve always been skeptical about that. Especially looking at the early working version of Copilot currently in testing, which is very basic indeed (and hardly does anything with the Windows environment – it’s more or less just a glorified integrated Bing chatbot in a side-panel on the desktop, at this point).

This enablement news, for us, is a strong indication Copilot won’t be coming with Windows 11 23H2. And really, it makes sense for Microsoft to take more time over the AI assistant – to ensure that Copilot is done right.

After all, first impressions very much count, and if Copilot gets branded as ‘another Cortana’ (or worse yet, Clippy), getting off on the wrong foot in this way could be very difficult for Microsoft to recover from.

Really, we believe it would be foolish for Microsoft to rush out Copilot in 23H2, and indeed, it makes perfect sense to keep it as a ’game-changing’ new feature for Windows 12 (or whatever next-gen Windows ends up being called in 2024).

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Apple rumored to be announcing major Siri updates at WWDC 2023

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference for this year – WWDC 2023 – gets underway tomorrow, June 5. We've already heard plenty of rumors about what to expect, and it would seem that Apple's digital assistant Siri is in line for some major updates too.

According to well-known Apple tipster Mark Gurman (via MacRumors), there's a possibility that Apple will announce that the “hey Siri” phrase used to trigger Siri on iPhones and other devices is being shortened to simply “Siri”.

While this might not sound major from a user perspective, it has apparently required a significant amount of engineering work: accurately recognizing a single word rather than two words is a lot trickier, and Apple's AI engines have been updated to cope.

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Listen up

Gurman first suggested this update was on the way back in November, though at the time it wasn't clear exactly when “hey Siri” would become simply “Siri”. Deeper Siri integrations with third-party apps and a better understanding of context have also been rumored.

At the moment, Google Assistant still requires a “hey Google” wake up command, though you can disable it for certain quick commands, and there has been talk of further changes here. As for Amazon Alexa, just an “Alexa” command is enough to get started.

We're expecting a whole host of software and hardware announcements at WWDC 2023 this year, including all the news about iOS 17 and a big reveal for the Apple VR headset – and of course you'll be able to read all about it here on TechRadar.


Analysis: expect yet more AI

Amidst the flurry of generative AI updates we've had in recent months, it's easy to forget that digital assistants like Siri have been around for many years now, with AI models leveraged to recognize and interpret voice commands from users.

At Google I/O 2023, Google seemed keen to remind everyone that it has a lot of artificial intelligence tools to show off, and the company has since been busy pushing more AI into more of its products – such as Google Messages.

We can probably expect the same from Apple at WWDC 2023: a look back at the AI that it's already been using, and a look forward to new innovations on the way. Siri, based on tech Apple acquired in 2010, is likely to play a big part in those new innovations.

AI is a hot topic at the moment, and we know that Apple isn't going to want to miss out or fall behind, whether that's with Siri or any of its other software: Google, OpenAI, Microsoft and others have set the pace, and Apple needs to catch up.

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Adobe rival launches major update update to creative suite

Serif has announced some major upgrades to its Affinity page layout and graphic design software – just six months after unveiling the feature-filled V2 of its award-winning creative suite. 

Dubbed V2.1, the developers are promising “better-than-ever workflow and user experience” thanks to a sweeping combination of new features and smaller, incremental updates. 

And no-one’s left behind, with the all new feature set for Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, and Affinity Publisher, available across Windows, Mac, and iPad apps.  

What’s new in Affinity V2.1? 

The list of updates and fixes for Affinity V2.1 is vast – we did say it was major – so it’s worth checking out the full release notes.

When it comes to headline items, Affinity Designer’s new Vector Flood Fill tool and Running Headers in Affinity Publisher both make the cut. 

The former lets users fill areas created by intersecting objects and curves with one click. The latter provides a way to add the name of your document’s topic to headers and footers. Users will also finally get support for keyboard shortcuts for changing the blend mode in whatever layers they’re working on. 

Alongside the likes of snappable Vector warp modes and an Auto-select toggle come a raft of smaller tweaks. This includes balanced dash lines, an enhanced cropping tool in its photo editor and Brush Panel improvements based on community feedback. 

“We pay meticulous attention to what our customers tell us their requirements are for improved professional workflow and usability,” said Serif CEO Ashley Hewson. “Sometimes a very small improvement can make a huge difference and give somebody their best experience of using Affinity. All the new features have been requested heavily by our customers, and thousands of those users have helped us put 2.1 through its paces during the beta period.”

Existing Affinity users get the latest update to the design and DTP software completely free. For everyone else, V2.1 is available for a one-off cost that’s surprisingly affordable given the power of the tools. Cheerfully, there’s no subscriptions either. That alone is one of the main reasons why we named Publisher as the best alternatives to Adobe InDesign, while Affinity Photo is a serious contender for best Photoshop alternative. With the latest advances in the creative suite rolling out now, that position is only strengthened.  

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Web.com has made a major move into the ecommerce game

Popular web hosting and website builder platform Web.com has unveiled  its new ecommerce product.

Built with the same drag-and-drop feature, Web.com’s ecommerce website builder now gives sellers a single location where they can manage all the day-to-day tasks that go with running an online business.

The new product comes with a marketplace manager and links to social media platforms allowing users to reach customers on Instagram, Facebook and other social sites. 

Web.com SMB ecommerce builder 

Available now, the ecommerce platform offers 25, 50 and unlimited eShop pages, each with unlimited email accounts.

Web.com’s Marketplace manager also allows online sellers to reach more customers through popular marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy. Online sellers can now list products and update existing product listings from inside the platform without having to log into separate services.

The essential ecommerce plan for small businesses includes one hour free design support, a free domain and private registration for $ 13.95 per month. Its ecommerce premium plan starts at $ 19.95 per month and includes automated sales tax, multi-currency, and restock/purchase orders.

“For a small business looking to launch an online store, the process can be overwhelming with several moving pieces. Web.com’s new solutions make it easy to get an online store up and running in one place quickly so small businesses can start taking orders from customers,” said Ed Jay, President of Newfold Digital, parent company of Web.com

“Online sellers can quickly launch with Web.com’s intuitive drag-and-drop builder and easily list products from anywhere. Once live, online sellers can leverage the platform’s powerful integrations like the online marketplace manager to reach more customers.”

Through the ecommerce platform, Web.com is also offering 24/7 automated inventory sync technology to show where customers sell. The plan also comes with the assistance from Web.com’s team to help new ecommerce sellers launch their online presence.

“Our new eCommerce platform is backed by an expert support team that is available for customer questions via chat, phone, and email support,” added Jay. “Included in every package is a one-hour professional design consultation, so customers can launch with confidence.” 

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