Windows 11 23H2 was released on 31st October 2023, and Microsoft offers a few ways of downloading its ISO files, including directly from Microsoft and using the Media Creation Tool (MCT). However, after testing out these methods at the time, the MCT downloaded the older version of Windows 11, which is 22H2.
This was not a feature by Microsoft, but rather a glitch that needed fixing. Now, almost 2 weeks later, Microsoft has finally fixed the problem and is now offering Windows 11 23H2 through the MCT as well. This has been confirmed in a Tweet on X by Gabe Frost, who is the Global Product Leader at Microsoft.
According to this Tweet, Microsoft has also made size optimizations to the 23H2 ISO file offered through the Media Creation Tool. This is likely why Microsoft took their sweet time in fixing the bug and rolling out Windows 11 23H2 via the MCT. This has been done to optimize Windows 11 packages before the broader rollout.
After having tested out the MCT download, I came to know that the downloaded package’s size has been reduced from 6.2 GB to nearly 5.2 GB – almost a whole gigabyte less! I confirmed this by performing the download myself.
As you’ll notice, the size of Windows 11 23H2 files has been increasing each year with a newer version. To get a hold of this situation, Microsoft has decided to optimize the packages going forward.
Download Windows 11 23H2 using Media Creation Tool
You can apply the following steps to download the Windows 11 23H2 ISO file using the Media Creation Tool with an optimized file size:
Download the Windows 11 Media Creation tool and then run the file.
You will now see a new window for MCT. Accept the license terms.
Check the pre-selected ISO details and click Next.
If you are downloading the ISO file to another computer, uncheck the box next to “Use the recommended options for this PC” and select the language you wish to download Windows 11 23H2 in.
Select the “ISO file” radio button to download the file and then click Next.
You will now need to choose where you wish to download the ISO image. Select a volume with ample free/available space and click Save.
The Media Creation Tool will now begin your download.
Once the download finishes, click Finish to close the tool.
You may find that the software then performs a setup cleanup. You can ignore this and let it run in the background.
Now that you have downloaded the Windows 11 23H2 ISO image, you may proceed to the next phase: Creating a bootable device.