Shortly after releasing Windows 11 version 23H2 on October 31, 2023, Microsoft notified users that clean-installing its latest operating system might become a trouble if they rely on assistive technologies: Windows’ built-in Narrator would not start during the initial setup. Two months after the release, we finally have the promised new Windows images with the properly working Narrator.
The new Windows 11 23H2 images are now available for download with the latest December patches and fixes for Narrator during the initial setup (also known as OOBE or Out of Box Experience). You can download a Windows 11 ISO from the official website or via the Media Creation Tool app. For those unfamiliar, the latter can download ISO files or write them directly to your USB drive for clean installations or in-place upgrades.
Starting December 19, 2023, a new file is available to create an installation media to update to Windows 11, version 23H2. The new media does not encounter this issue and contains the December 2023 security update. It is available for download at the Software Download page for Windows 11 in the section “Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO) for x64 devices”. Guidance on installation can also be found at this site.
Note that the Narrator bug was only affecting the initial setup experience—it would work as usual after setting up a computer or getting to Windows 11 version 23H2 using Windows Update.
Fixed Narrator in Windows 11 ISO files joined a few other issues Microsoft recently resolved in its operating system. Those include broken Wi-Fi connections after installing the latest updates and all sorts of weird bugs with printers. Microsoft resolved the Wi-Fi bug with the Known Issue Rollback system, which does not require any action from end users. Fixing the printer problem, however, requires more effort: you must download a new troubleshooter from the official website and run it on affected systems.