October 31 wasn’t just about Halloween – it was also Windows 11 2023 Update day. The update arrived with some big banner changes and features, making it one of the most interesting and ambitious Windows 11 updates yet.
We’ve known about most of these features from an optional update, Windows 11 2023 Update (23H2), that was released last month. It packed a punch with features like the widely-publicized Windows Copilot artificial intelligence (AI) tool, Paint updates including the Cocreater generative AI bot, a revamped Snipping Tool app, a revised Photos app, RGB lighting support for gamer, a flashy new File Explorer, amongst other tweaks and changes. One other major update is the removal of the integration of Chat into Microsoft Teams.
Chat has now officially been absorbed into the free version of Microsoft Teams, which will now be pinned as a default app in your taskbar, as relayed by Microsoft’s VP of program management for Windows servicing and delivery, John Cable.
He emphasized that Teams is now a more fully-fledged “mini communications experience” that allows for even more ways to connect and create community groups. This is a sensible move because Teams is widely-used and recognised, especially post-pandemic (where many people found themselves working from home, and used Teams to keep in touch with coworkers).
Earlier iterations of the Microsoft Teams app also saw it included as part of Windows 11 and as a default app in the taskbar, but you wouldn’t be able to simply unpin it to remove it from the taskbar. Thankfully, that’s changed and you can now easily remove it if you don’t use it.
Chat was a sort of FaceTime clone-app that clearly even Microsoft understood wasn’t seeing much use by many users. Chat was only available on the personal consumer version of Windows 11, so if users or organizations wanted to use it with or within Teams, there wasn’t a work or enterprise version to do that.
More exciting changes coming to a Windows device near you
This Windows update also brings us some design changes to the user interface, specifically when it comes to app management. Windows 11 system component settings will now be grouped under a “System” label which can be found in the Settings app. Microsoft Store, Game Bar, Phone Link, and Tips apps will all be listed there, and The Verge speculates that Microsoft will allow users to remove these system components in a future Windows 11 update.
This is likely the last major update to Windows 11, as we suspect we’ll see the next version of Windows, rumored to be Windows 12, soon. Exciting times for Windows fans ahead.
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