Microsoft Copilot integrates more tightly with Windows 11
Microsoft claims that this is the year of the AI PC. And judging from the company's recent announcements – incorporating Copilot into Microsoft 365, bringing a new Copilot key to Windows keyboards and launching Copilot Pro – it couldn't be more obvious that the Redmond-based company desperately wants Copilot to become synonymous with generative AI everywhere on Windows.
Microsoft has affirmed that this year's AI-centric OS update will decidedly not be the rumored Windows 12. Instead, this year's annual OS release will be a feature update to Windows 11 called version 24H2, which should roll out in the second half of the year. Already, insiders on the Canary and Dev channels may be getting a preview of the new Copilot integrations that are coming.
In the most recent Canary build 26052, Microsoft is testing the activation of Copilot when text or images are picked up from any window. The Copilot icon changes and even animates once you copy text, and hovering over the icon afterwards should display a menu that offers helpful actions Copilot can carry out immediately, such as explaining and summarizing blocks of test. The build notes also indicate that a similar experience is supported for images as well – essentially, you should be able to drag and drop any image into Copilot and it will launch right from the taskbar.
Microsoft is also bringing back a temporarily disabled feature that automatically launches Copilot whenever Windows boots up, although this will only be enabled for primary displays that are 27-inches or wider.
In another blog post, Microsoft is updating Notepad to integrate Copilot more directly in the app. Selecting any content written in Notepad – this could be log files, code snippets, or simply text – causes a context menu to appear that now includes an “Explain with Copilot” button.
This feature works exactly as it suggests: it opens Copilot with a ready explanation for whatever text was highlighted. There's a keyboard shortcut to access this : Ctrl + E. The new functionality is offered as a standalone update for Notepad, so it will likely be rolled out publicly much sooner than the 24H2 Windows 11 release.
Prior to the annual feature update, users should expect more AI Features embedded into Windows as Microsoft tries to make its AI PC takeoff. AMD, Intel and Qualcomm have already demonstrated their enthusiastic support. What's left is Microsoft's move to see if Copilot lives up to the hype of an “everyday AI companion”.