Microsoft confirms Narrator issue in Windows 11 version 23H2

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 24, 2023
Windows 11 News

Windows 11 users who install the latest version of the operating system via ISO or media may not be able to start Narrator during installation. Microsoft confirmed the issue today on a support site that it uses to list known issues publicly.

Narrator is a key accessibility feature of the Windows operating system. It may read aloud text that the operating system displays on the screen. It is commonly started with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Windows-Enter. Other options include opening the Start Menu, typing Narrator and selecting the result, or by typing Narrator in a command prompt window or the run box (Windows-R). Narrator is also baked into the setup process of the operating system to assist users who want to use it or require it.

Tip: you can stop Narrator from reading aloud with the shortcut CapsLock-Esc.

Microsoft notes that Narrator is present on the Windows installation, but that it may launch in an "unresponsive state" when it is started using any available option during setup.

The issue may affect Windows 11 installations only if the operating system is installed using physical media or disc images, e.g., from an USB stick after using Microsoft's official tool or third-party tools such as Rufus or Ventoy. The installation via media or ISO images offers some advantages over installations via Windows Update. Besides the ability to reuse the installation media as often as necessary, it also supports making some configuration changes, e.g., to bypass hardware requirement checks.

Only Windows 11 version 23H2 appears to be affected by the issue. No other client or server version of Windows is affected, at least according to the information that Microsoft provides.

Microsoft notes that Narrator should work fine after setup furthermore saying that the assistive tool "should continue to work as expected once the installation is completed".

A workaround is not available at this stage. Some Windows 11 users may overcome the issue by installing the latest feature update using Windows Update. Others may want to wait with the installation, if possible, until the issue is resolved.

The Narrator issue is the first Windows 11 version 23H2 issue that Microsoft confirmed publicly.

Now You: do you rely on assistive technology in Windows?

Microsoft confirms Narrator issue in Windows 11 version 23H2
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Microsoft confirms Narrator issue in Windows 11 version 23H2
Microsoft confirmed that the company's Windows 11 version 23H2 operating system doesn't launch Narrator during setup from installation media.
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  1. Anonymous said on February 21, 2024 at 7:41 pm

    Narrator only reads when started. Unable to navigate, type text, toggle Scan Mode, etc.
    Any key command entered gets the “Not a narrator command” response. It is un-usable.
    Using Windows 11 23H2

  2. VioletMoon said on November 24, 2023 at 4:05 pm

    “The Narrator issue is the first Windows 11 version 23H2 issue that Microsoft confirmed publicly.”

    Yes, and how many other issues are hiding in the shadows which is commonplace for MS upgrades/updates.

    Yet, users continue to flock to tech news informing of “the new and greatest of Windows is ready.”

    They then scramble to install the “alpha-at-best-we-will-use-the-masses-for-testing” file(s), only to find out there are numerous issues that can’t be resolved and their once perfectly running OS is now “dead” or complete with major issues.

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