This Week in IT, September’s bringing a fresh wave of features to Windows 11. Discover what’s changing and why it matters in my deep dive. Plus, Microsoft 365 Copilot is coming for commercial customers – we know the date, and Azure Update Manager is now generally available, and Microsoft Planner is getting personal.
This week in IT,(…) September’s bringing a fresh wave of features to Windows 11. Discover what’s changing and why it matters in my deep dive. Plus,(…) Microsoft 365 Copilot is coming to commercial customers soon and we know the date. And Azure Update Manager is now generally available and Microsoft Planner is getting more personal.
Hi, welcome to the show where I cover all the latest news connected to Windows, Microsoft 365 and Azure for IT pros. But before I get started, I’ve got a quick favour to ask you. 80% of all the people who watched last week’s video weren’t subscribed to the channel. As this video goes live we’re at about 730 subscribers. So I’d really love it if we could get up to 800 with this video. So subscribe to the channel and don’t forget to hit the bell notification to make sure that you don’t miss out on weekly uploads. So there’s a whole load of changes coming to Windows 11 in two future updates. So the first of those updates is coming as an optional preview at the end of September, September 26th to be precise. And of course the changes in that update will become more generally available in October’s patch Tuesday, which is the second Tuesday of the month. And of course there is Windows 11 23 H2 and there are some updates coming with that as well, probably most notably an updated file explorer that’s based on Windows SDK.
But what I want to talk about are the updates that Microsoft announced yesterday. They had a special event in New York talking about all of the artificial intelligence pieces coming to Windows 11. Most of them are part of the September update. There were some other stuff about Surface devices as well. We’re not going to cover that in this video. But what I want to concentrate on today are the updates to Windows 11. So let’s start with Windows Co-Pilot. So Co-Pilot for Windows is coming in preview form in the September update. And really what this is, is some kind of access to Bing Chat built into the operating system. So you get this as kind of a side window. I believe it’s a floating window. It’s based on Microsoft Edge View 2.
And Bing Chat gives you all of the things that you of course get in Bing Chat on the web and access to some other features that allow you to do things in Windows. So for instance you could ask it “Please configure Windows to dark mode” and it will go off and do that for you. So you don’t have to go looking through the settings to try and find where and how you do that. Now the idea going forwards with this is it will be much more integrated into the operating system in that there are a lot more will be a lot more capabilities things that it can do. Now I haven’t used it myself and I’m sure that the Bing Chat element of Windows Co-Pilot is probably useful but the integration in terms of Windows itself is quite limited and there’s not much it can really do at this stage. But obviously Microsoft is going to move that forwards going down the line. Now there are some things that you should know about this. So while this is in preview with the September update it’s going to be made generally available as part of Windows 11 23H2. With the 23H2 update Windows Co-Pilot will be turned on by default but systems administrators will be able to turn it off using a group policy or MDM so in tune. The 23H2 update we don’t know exactly when it’s coming it could be the October patch Tuesday update.
I think it might be a little bit later. I’m not sure Microsoft hasn’t said exactly just that it’s coming in quarter four of this year. And sorry European customers this isn’t going to be available to you. Microsoft isn’t saying exactly why you know that could be to do with you know all of the antitrust stuff that’s going on with Microsoft and the EU Commission right now. I don’t know but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. You’re not really missing out on very much at this stage. I think there are lots more important updates coming to Windows 11 and that’s what I’m going to talk about now. Do you think that Windows Co-Pilot is going to be a worthwhile addition to Windows 11 or just another marketing gimmick from Microsoft? I’d love it to know what you think in the comments below. Windows 11 passkey support. Microsoft has been talking about this for a while and this is now coming with the September update.(…) So what does this mean exactly? So if you’re familiar with Windows Hello this is very similar in that passkeys are a technology that is a standard really. It’s a FIDO standard that isn’t limited just to Windows Hello although Windows Hello and Windows Hello for Business will be supporting passkeys. And what it allows you to do is have that same kind of passwordless authentication experience that you get with Windows Hello but across many different sites. So instead of being limited just to Microsoft Windows and Microsoft services you’ll be able to use passkeys across anything the entry ID supports and of course that means Microsoft 365,(…) Apple are supporting it, Google is supporting it. So that means a whole load of websites that support those logon methods in theory will be able to support this passwordless authentication or passkeys that’s coming to Windows 11.
So Microsoft is also enabling with this update passwordless from the get-go so that you should never need to use a password to ever sign into Windows 11. So that whole experience is going to be built into the setup procedure so that’s great and important for IT pros to understand as well. I think this is great. I’m a little bit tired of typing in my password to access Google Workspace or whatever they’re calling it these days so it would be great if I could log into those websites and services just using facial recognition or a fingerprint. If your device doesn’t have those things that are compatible with Windows Hello then you can use a pin to access your passkeys.
Another new security feature that Microsoft announced yesterday is config refresh for Windows 11. So what is this exactly? So I feel that they’ve talked about this a little bit in the past but then kind of didn’t really expand very much on it. I could be wrong about that maybe I’m confusing it with something else but this is basically a system that refreshes I believe every 90 minutes the configuration that you apply to Windows via a CSP so via mobile device management so that probably means Intune if you’re bought into the Microsoft 365 ecosystem let’s say. So it’s just really a way of making sure that users or malicious software if they change settings the settings that you want to enforce are applied again and again not just once. So it’s set by default to 90 minutes. I think you can change the update frequency to 30. I think that’s like the maximum frequency but I think this is a great thing of course it just helps to make sure that your devices stay secure. Microsoft isn’t saying a lot about it at this stage exactly how it’s going to work when it’s going to be available but they did announce that as part of the special event yesterday. Windows 365 boot and switch are going to be made generally available as part of this September update for Windows 11.
Now we talked a couple of weeks ago about Windows 365 switch on this channel so I’ll put a link to the video on the screen so you can see that if you want to get more details but let’s start with boot. Essentially that enables you to boot a device a physical device and jump straight to your Windows 365 PC so you never have to go into your local Windows 11 desktop. Note you go straight into Windows 365 that’s got to be a great usability feature. Windows switch gives you the ability to seamlessly switch between your local Windows 11 desktop and a Windows 365 PC so you get something that doesn’t really exist in any other virtualization solution like this something that’s really integrated that ability to switch between the two systems seamlessly.(…) So these things are now in general availability on September 26th. Windows 365 boot I just want to add is also getting general availability for some new features that were not supported before so you get support for Bluetooth, multiple cloud PCs, Windows 365 front line cloud PCs,(…) maximum timeout preferences and security baseline profiles so all those good things are coming in general availability as part of this September update.
There are some other changes coming to Windows 11, relatively minor things as part of this September update but I just want to cover them as well briefly.(…) So there are going to be some updates to the Windows Firewall so including targeting firewall rules to specific applications,(…) firewall location awareness updates and more granular firewall login so that’s really interesting set of changes there. There are going to be some updates to voice access just to make navigating a PC easier. Narrator is coming with more natural voices and a more inclusive user experience and MDM policies for Microsoft Edge are coming to any edition of Windows I think they mean, they say PC in their documentation but to any edition of Windows so if you want to manage Edge with MDM you should be able to do that now across any kind of Windows 11 device. Intune is getting a new feature called custom app control for business. I had to scratch my head a little bit about this one because Microsoft is saying well this is kind of Windows Defender application control but a little bit different but the same so what on earth is going on with this I had to dig a little bit deeper.(…)
So Microsoft is saying that app control for business is essentially replacing Windows Defender application control but not really saying how it differs but I think the differences are really under the hood at this stage. Microsoft is saying that with this application control feature in Intune you can control which applications run throughout your environment using MDM but Windows Defender application control also supported MDM so that’s not really different but I think what is changing are how it’s supported under the hood. So a couple of things that I found while I was digging for more information on this.(…) So Intune app control for business policies use the application control CSP. Intune’s attack surface reduction used a different CSP the app locker CSP to do all of that application control stuff.
Now what they’re saying is that they’re essentially deprecating that app locker CSP so it will remain in Windows and it will remain supported for the time being but they’re not going to add any new features to it and that this new feature in Intune so the custom app control for business is going to be based on the application control CSP. So I think it’s just they’re tweaking these things under the hood and at the same time renaming this feature and this is where you will get your new abilities and capabilities going forwards not in Windows Defender application control. So you know a little bit complicated there what’s going on with this but that’s what that is all about. So let’s head over to Microsoft 365. So around all of the Windows AI staff and the surface news for me probably one of the biggest announcements was that Microsoft 365 co-pilot is coming November 1st for commercial customers. So if you remember this has been part of an early access preview program for customers that were prepared to pay for it. I think there are about 600 companies on this program and you had to be chosen for it.
I think you could apply but you had to be chosen and you had to pay so we haven’t really seen this in action apart from a few glossy YouTube demos and that kind of thing.(…) Very few people have been able to actually get their hands on these features. So this is all the AI stuff that’s going to be built into the Microsoft 365 apps. So all of that intelligence that Microsoft showed off earlier in the year in applications like Word, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Loop it’s been integrated pretty much everywhere and I can’t wait to see how this actually works. Does it live up to expectations?
You could do things like get it to analyze data in an Excel spreadsheet and that could be really powerful if it works as well as they demonstrated. I’m a little bit suspicious of that but we’ll see.
And it’s going to cost basically 30 bucks per user per month so it’s pretty pricey so it had better work well that’s all I can say. So to make all of this very confusing of course this is Microsoft so there’s Microsoft Copilot,(…) there’s Microsoft 365 Copilot, there’s Microsoft Chat.(…) So how do all these things differ? So Microsoft Copilot is something that is just like a very high level chat interface as far as I can work out that gives you access to the Microsoft Copilot graphical user interface and Bing Chat. Then there’s Bing Chat Enterprise where you get the Microsoft Copilot UX,(…) Bing Chat and then of course you get that commercial data protection which is really what Bing Chat Enterprise is about. And then there’s Microsoft 365 Copilot where you get the whole range of features including all of that wonderful hopefully AI integration into the Microsoft 365 apps and Microsoft Chat, Microsoft 365 Chat and that brings with it all of that enterprise security, privacy and compliance controls that organizations are probably going to need. So Microsoft is saying that Microsoft Copilot is your everyday AI companion and that it will uniquely incorporate the context and intelligence of the web, your work data and what you are doing in the moment on your PC to provide better assistance with your privacy and security at the forefront and it will be available as a simple and seamless experience in Windows 11, Microsoft 365 and in the Edge web browser and Bing. Exactly what all of this is going to look like, how well it’s all going to work, of course we’re going to have to wait and see.
Before we move on from Microsoft 365 I just want to mention a new feature that’s coming to Microsoft Planner. I love Microsoft Planner so we couldn’t miss this out. So at the moment you can only create a plan based on a Microsoft 365 group or a roster. Yeah roster is another complicated thing that we also discussed a few weeks back. But going forwards you’re going to be able to create a plan that is just for you. So if you don’t want to share it with other people in your organization you don’t have to set up a group or it needs to be a roster in place, nope you can just set up your own plan. I think that’s a really useful thing going forward to encourage more use of Planner.
Now this is an interesting one because we had our Modern Endpoint Management Conference yesterday so there’s lots of talk about Intune, our Microsoft Configuration Manager and Microsoft announced this week that Azure Update Manager is now generally available. I mean there are so many technologies now available from Microsoft to manage servers endpoints and all the rest of it IoT. Where does this fit into the picture? So this is really designed for organizations that need to manage all sorts of different operating systems in lots of different places. So whether it’s Linux,(…) whether it’s Windows, whether those devices are on-premises or they’re in the Azure cloud or in the AWS cloud, Azure Update Manager is designed to help you manage those devices.
So you can do things like tracking update compliance, instant deployment of critical updates and management of extended security updates for Azure Arc-enabled virtual machines. This is a work in progress as ever. Microsoft is planning to add things such as pre and post update deployment scripts and the ability to create alerts based on update data. If you’re managing a big hybrid server environment across different multi-cloud and on-premises platforms then go and check out Azure Update Manager. If you found the video useful I’d really appreciate it if you gave it a like because that helps to push the video out to more people on YouTube and for us to grow this channel. Thank you for watching, I really appreciate it and I’m going to leave you with another video now on the screen that you might also find interesting. But that’s it from me today and I’ll see you next time.