Microsoft is adding a Copilot AI assistant to Windows 11. Much like the Copilot sidebars we’ve seen in Edge, Office apps, and even GitHub, Windows Copilot will be integrated directly into Windows 11 and available to open and use from the taskbar across all apps and programs.
“Once open, the Windows Copilot side bar stays consistent across your apps, programs, and windows, always available to act as your personal assistant,” explains Panos Panay, Microsoft’s head of Windows and devices. “It makes every user a power user, helping you take action, customize your settings, and seamlessly connect across your favorite apps.”
The Windows Copilot can summarize content you’re viewing in apps, rewrite it, or even explain it. It looks very similar to the dialog box that’s found in Bing Chat, so you can ask it general questions and things you might usually ask a search engine.
It won’t directly replace the search bar on the Windows 11 taskbar and is a separate Copilot button alongside it instead, much like how Cortana had its own dedicated space on the taskbar in Windows 10. Windows Copilot is a “personal assistant,” according to Microsoft, which sounds a lot like how Microsoft described Cortana as a “personal productivity assistant.”
Since Copilot is integrated into Windows, you can also do things like ask this assistant to “adjust my settings so I can focus” or take other actions on a PC. It’s a lot more than the basic Bing Chat link that Microsoft added to the taskbar earlier this year.
As Windows Copilot is built on the same foundations as Bing Chat, Microsoft is even allowing developers to extend plug-ins written for Bing or OpenAI’s ChatGPT to this AI-powered assistant. That opens up Windows Copilot to a lot of new functionality that developers are creating for ChatGPT and Bing and for future improvements to be automatically carried forward to Windows Copilot.
Microsoft has been hinting about building AI features into Windows over the past six months, after Panay claimed in January that “AI is going to reinvent how you do everything on Windows.” Many had been expecting Microsoft to wait until the next major version of Windows, but the company is clearly pushing ahead with its Windows AI ambitions instead.
Microsoft will now start testing Windows Copilot publicly in June before rolling it out more broadly to existing Windows 11 users.