Windows 11 is already a great OS, and over the past few months, Microsoft has added a ton of new features, bug fixes, and patches through the Windows Insider channels. With the much-anticipated Windows 11 23H2 update, more people will be able to use these well-tested changes and improvements. Even though most of the new features are great on their own, I think a few of them improve the general user experience a lot more than the others.
Changing lights (RGB controls)
If you’re a big fan of RGB-lit gadgets, you probably already know how hard it can be to sync the lighting effects on devices made by different companies. Heck, since Corsair, Logitech, Hyper, and other makers have their own SDKs, you’ll have to use a bunch of third-party apps just to set the RGB settings for all your devices.
There are apps like OpenRGB and SignalRGB that say they work with a lot of devices, but I’m more excited about the Dynamic Lighting features that are coming with this update. Dynamic Lighting is pretty basic right now, and it only works with a few Razer keyboards and mice.
Support for different types of archives
For years, Windows users who wanted to open any archive type other than.zip files had to use WinRAR, 7-Zip, or another third-party app. But the planned 23H2 update will use tools from the Libarchive Project to let you extract.gz,.tar, and.rar files right from File Explorer.
Since Libarchive tools work with. pax,.cpio, and many other file types, I’m hoping that once 23H2 comes out, we’ll finally get native support for almost all of the major archive formats.
Dev Home and Dev Drive
Dev Home was first shown off in May with the Windows 11 Preview Build 23466. It is an all-in-one launcher for app makers. Dev Home comes with built-in tools for monitoring hardware and gives you direct access to GitHub repositories.
It also lets you install over 20 extensions, such as Android Studio, Visual Studio, and PyCharm, so you can build and change projects from a single interface. After giving developers a lot of information about how to make extensions for this app, Microsoft plans to open an extension shop to increase the number of widgets that can be used with Dev Home.
On top of that, you can use Dev Home to get to Dev Drive, which is a unique drive format made to store source code and project data. Dev Drive is built on the Resilient File System (ReFS) instead of the New Technology File System (NTFS). When building apps, it uses Copy-on-Write (CoW) linking and other ReFS features to improve speed.
HDR wallpapers can be used
In the Windows Preview build 23516, Microsoft finally made it possible to use real HDR wallpapers. There are some limits to this feature, though. The picture has to be in.jxr format, and you have to enable a few settings and calibrate the HDR settings on your monitor for it to work properly. Still, I’d rather deal with a little more trouble than have no support for HDR backgrounds.
It’s not clear if this function will be part of the 23H2 update, but I sure hope it will be!
App for backing up
In Build 23466, Microsoft first released the Windows Backup app along with the Dev Drive. With the click of a button, the new app will let you back up all your files and folders to your OneDrive storage. It will also help you load your app preferences, settings, and login information the first time you set up a new PC.
The restore feature has also been updated in a big way. When you make a backup of your old system, the location of the apps you pinned to the Start menu and Taskbar will be saved. Once you have your new PC, you can click on the app icons to reinstall them from the Microsoft Store. This feature also works with apps that aren’t in the Windows Store. When you click on their icons, you’ll be taken to their website instead.
With the addition of Windows Backup and the better ability to restore, it will be much easier to move data from an older PC or laptop to a new system.
The Windows 11 23H2 update will introduce several new features and improvements, including RGB controls, support for various archive types, Dev Home and Dev Drive, HDR wallpapers, and a new app for backing up. The update will use tools from the Libarchive Project to extract.gz ,.tar, and.rar files from File Explorer, allowing users to access and modify projects from a single interface.
Additionally, the update will support HDR wallpapers, but the exact functionality is uncertain. The Windows Backup app, which backed up files and folders to OneDrive storage, will also be updated, allowing users to save app preferences and login information. The restore feature will also be improved, allowing users to reinstall apps from the Microsoft Store or their website.