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Microsoft’s AI-infused sidebar rolls out to Windows 11 beta testers Leave a comment


Microsoft is rolling out Windows Copilot in preview today. Windows 11 Insiders in the Beta Channel can install a preview build that offers the first semi-public availability for the AI-infused sidebar announced at Build 2023. “This first preview focuses on our integrated UI experience, with additional functionality coming down the road in future previews,” the company wrote in a blog post today.

Windows Copilot is a system-level version of the browser-based Copilot the company began previewing in February. Microsoft views the tool — also coming to Microsoft Office and Teams — as representing a monumental shift in how customers interact with Microsoft software. “AI is going to be the single largest driver of innovation for Windows in the years to come,” Panos Panay, Microsoft Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer, told Engadget’s Devindra Hardawar in an interview at Build 2023. “It’s going to change the way you work, change your interaction models to make it easier. It’s going to understand so much about what you need.”

Microsoft says the preview’s “controlled feature rollout” will hold back some of Copilot’s full functionality for future builds. The company also cautions that new Windows Insiders joining the Beta Channel today won’t be able to install this update. It says even some established Windows Insiders may not see the build immediately, but it will “increase the rollout in the coming weeks.” The rollout follows Microsoft’s release of a Copilot Preview in late June for developers running preview builds.

Microsoft screenshot showing its Copilot AI feature responding to questions about a Spotify playlist. The bot chat in the right sidebar asks about good playlists for working, and Copilot’s response suggests


Once you have the correct preview installed (Build 22631.2129 or higher), you can activate Windows Copilot by clicking the corresponding button on the taskbar (a blue ribbon ring with a yellow “PRE” badge) or typing the shortcut Win + C. “Windows Copilot will appear as a side bar docked to the right where it won’t overlap with your desktop content and will run unobstructed alongside your open app windows, allowing you to interact with Windows Copilot anytime you need,” the company wrote.

Microsoft listed some examples of queries Copilot can handle in this early stage. For example, you can ask it to perform basic Windows tasks like “Change to dark mode” or “Turn on do not disturb.” In addition, it can summarize active websites in the Edge browser, compose stories and generate AI art. The company says an ellipses button at the top right of the Copilot sidebar lets you submit feedback.


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