Last month, Microsoft announced one of the key features of Windows 11 – Windows Copilot At its developers’ conference, they promised a preview in June. True to their word, Microsoft unveiled the developer preview update supporting Windows Copilot on the last day of June! June 30th! Let’s follow me to know more about Windows Copilot and how to use it!
What is Windows Copilot?
Windows Copilot is a feature introduced by Microsoft for Windows 11 as a centralized AI assistance for customers. It’s designed to enhance the user experience by providing intelligent, personalized, and proactive help directly within the operating system.
The AI-powered Copilot is integrated into Microsoft 365 and works alongside the users. It is embedded in the apps they use every day such as Word, Excel, etc. It’s also available in the Windows 11 preview builds. The main goal of Windows Copilot is to improve productivity for both customers and developers.
The term ‘Copilot’ originates from aviation, referring to the person who assists the main pilot in controlling the aircraft. In the context of Windows, it means every user is a ‘pilot’. And AI serves as our ‘copilot’. It aids us in our digital journey.
How Does Windows Copilot Work?
Windows Copilot is an AI-powered tool that’s integrated into Windows 11 to assist users in navigating and optimizing their computer usage. It’s designed to be intuitive, easy to use, and accessible right from the taskbar on your desktop.
Once you invoke Windows Copilot, you can interact with it using natural language commands. Much like how you would converse with a human assistant. This AI assistant can provide suggestions, perform tasks, and even generate content based on your inputs and preferences.
What does Windows Copilot DO?
Microsoft’s definition of Copilot: An application or component that uses natural language processing technology or large language models (such as GPT-4). It can help people to complete complex or cognitive tasks.
Copilot cannot completely replace your work. But it can save you a lot of unnecessary repetitive labor. Thus, people can reduce the time spent on ‘digital trivia’. It not only could help you draft emails, create presentations, summarize long texts, and more. It’s also capable of providing personalized recommendations. Like suggesting features like focus mode or dark mode based on your work habits.
Improving Efficiency & Save Your Labor
Windows Copilot extends its capabilities to other Microsoft products. Therefore, it can summarize web pages on Microsoft Edge or documents on Microsoft 365.
For example, if you’re working on a document and need assistance, it can jump-start your creative process. If you receive an excessively long document that you can’t get through, you can drag it onto Copilot. Then AI will summarise the document for you, achieving a form of ‘quantum speed reading’. Therefore, you can quickly grasp the key points of lengthy articles. You can also ask it to rewrite or explain the content of the document, thereby improving work efficiency.
For instance, when you are about to start working, you can activate Copilot in Windows 11 and input your requirements: “How can I work more efficiently?” Windows Copilot will suggest activating the focus mode and adjusting the system interface to a more immersive dark theme.
If you feel like listening to some music, you can simply type: “Play some suitable music for work.” Depending on your music preferences, Windows Copilot will play the corresponding playlist on Spotify or other music apps.
How to Use Windows Copilot?
Firstly, you need to join the Windows preview experience program and upgrade to Windows 11 Dev Build 23493 version. After updating, the Windows Copilot icon will appear in the taskbar. If it doesn’t, you can right-click the taskbar to open the corresponding switch.
Once you’ve installed Copilot, you can either click the icon or press the ‘Win + C’ shortcut to bring up the Copilot interface. If you’ve used Bing Chat or the Bing sidebar in the Edge browser, you’ll find the interfaces very similar. You can choose different chat styles: more creative, more formal, or strike a balance.
Is Windows Copilot Useful?
Before we delve into this, let me reiterate that Windows Copilot is still in the feature preview stage, so please temper your expectations accordingly.
Execute simple operation commands
Currently, Windows Copilot can execute some simple operation commands.
For example, when you enter “Close/Open Dark Mode”, it will extract the key information of the command. Then understand it and execute it.
when you type ‘screenshot’, it will first tell you how to use the screenshot shortcut. Then respond to the screenshot request and help you take a screenshot.
May not distinguish between ‘search commands’ and ‘execution commands’ Sometimes
Sometimes, Windows Copilot may not distinguish between ‘search commands’ and ‘execution commands’. For instance, when you ask it to open the file explorer, it might interpret this as a search command and call Bing Chat to answer. This might be related to the limited system functionality that Windows Copilot can currently invoke.
It is a preview version
From the preview version, Windows Copilot can indeed implement natural language control of the system to some extent. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the simplest way. From invoking Copilot, typing in the command, to its understanding and execution, there is a response time. You could have switched the dark mode on and off several times in the control panel in the bottom right corner within this waiting response time frame.
Of course, this is just the preview version, and we look forward to Microsoft implementing functionalities like ‘uninstalling programs with a single sentence’ that genuinely provide convenience in future updates. It’s worth noting that before executing any command, Windows Copilot will pop up a ‘execute or not’ window for you to confirm again because you are the real ‘Pilot’.
Readily available Bing Chat chat window
Most of the time, Windows Copilot acts as a readily available Bing Chat chat window. You can ask it about the weather in your area, and it will search the internet for the latest data. You can also ask it to generate AI images, using OpenAI’s Dall-E 2 model to generate images based on your requirements. Although the results are not as good as mainstream AI drawing tools like Midjourney, Bing Chat’s image generation is free of charge.
Integration with the Edge browser
One of the most useful features of Windows Copilot at present is its integration with the Edge browser, summarising web pages in a single sentence.
How to Summarise the Webpage?
The method is simple.
- Open the Edge browser (version 115 or above) and Windows Copilot at the same time
- Type in the dialogue box: ‘Summarise this webpage’
- Copilot will automatically read the content of the webpage and summarise it for you.
Compared to ChatGPT or other plugins, this saves time on selecting, copying, and pasting. Making it much faster.
Interestingly, when you open Copilot, it will occupy your window space like a taskbar. When you open the Edge browser or other applications in maximized mode, they will automatically fill the remaining window space, displaying side by side with Copilot.
In summary, the biggest problem with Windows Copilot at present is that it supports a limited number of system functions and the response speed is relatively slow. This might be related to the GPT-4 model used by Bing, causing users to feel like they are waiting for a DOS computer to respond when using Copilot. Hopefully, Microsoft can improve this issue in subsequent versions.
In conclusion, Windows Copilot represents a significant step forward in integrating AI assistance directly into our day-to-day computing experience. As a feature of Windows 11, it harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to offer personalized and proactive help, from simplifying tasks to enhancing productivity. Whether it’s summarizing web pages within Microsoft Edge or providing smart recommendations to optimize computer usage, Copilot exemplifies the future of intelligent computing.
However, as it’s still in the preview stage, its full potential is yet to be realized. As Microsoft continues to refine and expand its functionalities, users can look forward to an increasingly seamless and intuitive digital experience with Windows Copilot.
It’s time to get started with Copilot and enjoy a more convenient, secure, and customized Windows 11 experience. Let’s try it！