October 31 was not only Halloween, it was also the day of the Windows 11 2023 Update. The update came with some major banner changes and features, making it one of the most interesting and ambitious Windows 11 updates yet.
We knew most of these features through an optional update, Windows 11 2023 Update (23H2), which was released last month. It was a hit with features like the much-publicized Windows Copilot artificial intelligence (AI) tool, Paint updates including the Cocreater generative AI bot, a revamped Snipping Tool app, a revised Photos app, support for RGB lighting for gamers, a flashy new File Explorer, among other tweaks and changes. Another major update is the removal of Chat integration in Microsoft Teams.
Chat is now officially included in the free version of Microsoft Teams, now pinned as the default app in your taskbar, as relayed by Microsoft’s VP of program management for Windows service and delivery, John Cable.
He highlighted that Teams is now a full-fledged “mini communications experience” that enables even more ways to connect and create community groups. This is a wise move as Teams is widely used and recognized, especially after the pandemic (where many people worked from home and used Teams to stay in touch with colleagues).
Previous versions of the Microsoft Teams app also included it 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. Fortunately, that has changed and you can now easily remove it when you’re not using it.
Chat was a kind of FaceTime clone app that even Microsoft clearly understood was not widely used 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 was no work or enterprise version to do so.
More exciting changes are coming to a Windows device near you
This Windows update also brings us some design changes to the user interface, especially when it comes to app management. Windows 11 system component settings are now grouped under a “System” label that you can find in the Settings app. Microsoft Store, Game Bar, Phone Link, and Tips apps are all 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 for Windows 11, as we suspect we’ll see the next version of Windows, reportedly Windows 12, soon. Exciting times are ahead for Windows fans.