When Microsoft unveiled its copilot for Windows 11 in May 2023, the impression was that the company might have managed something significant again after flops like Cortana, Windows 8 or Groove Music – perhaps comparable to Internet Explorer in Windows 95. After the web search Bing, the browser Edge and the Office collection Microsoft 365, the artificial intelligence (AI) based on ChatGPT is supposed to play a central role in the manufacturer’s flagship in the future and assist Windows users in the form of a chatbot that not only answers questions, but also starts programs, generates texts and pictures or changes settings. The company from Redmond (USA) has now released a first, still very early test version of the Windows Copilot. Ai-lookup has tried it out and shows how you can get your hands on it.
Unlock Microsoft Copilot for Windows 11
If you want to test the Copilot, you have to be willing to take some risks. You will need Windows 11 build 23493, which Microsoft is currently distributing in the developer channel of the Windows Insider program. This is an early test version that still contains bugs and does not belong on devices used productively or computers with irrecoverable data. Also, you’ll have to reinstall Windows if you want to revert to the regular version later. Here’s how to get it:
1. From the Start menu, click Settings and then Windows Update. Make sure the “Get the latest updates as soon as they’re available” switch is set to “On”.
2. After clicking Windows Insider Program and Get Started, log in to your Microsoft account. You may need to allow the transfer of optional diagnostic data beforehand. Follow the on-screen instructions to do so.
3. After clicking on Development Channel and Next, you will need to restart Windows.
4. Repeat step 1.
5. Click Check for updates and install the “Windows 11 Insider Preview 23493.100” update that appears. The PC will then restart.
If the Copilot is not already available in the taskbar, you are unfortunately not one of Microsoft’s chosen ones and have to help out as described below:
- Download the current ViveTool via the download button above.
- Unzip the file ViVeTool-v0.3.3.zip after right-clicking on it by clicking on Extract All. Shorten the displayed destination folder to C:\vive, for example, and finally click Extract.
- Press Windows key + X and click Terminal (Administrator) in the list, then click Yes. In the example, type cd C:\vive and press Enter.
- After typing .\vivetool /enable /id:44776738 (don’t forget the dot at the beginning) press Enter again. The program will then report “Successfully set feature configuration(s)”.
- After restarting Windows, the Copilot should appear in the taskbar.
Windows 11 Copilot AI: How it works
The Copilot for Windows 11 can be activated via a new button on the taskbar, which resembles the Microsoft 365 logo and bears the note “Pre” (preview). Alternatively, you can open it with the keyboard shortcut Windows key + C, which is now no longer assigned to the abandoned chat function. After the click, a sidebar opens on the right side of the screen, as in the image above, with the search slot familiar from Bing Chat and the choice of conversation style – Balanced, Creative or Accurate. In the “Ask me something…” field, you can type in questions and copy in text that will be summarized by the artificial intelligence. Just test it out, here are some examples of use:
Ask complex questions
Want to know what lunch to make for your picky toddler who only eats orange foods? Just type the question into the “Ask me something” field – in which case you might as well click on it, because the question is a serious example from Microsoft. The chatbot then makes quite workable suggestions such as sweet potato fries, carrot-potato puree or pumpkin-apple soup, provides further Internet pages and also masters queries such as “Which of the dishes goes the fastest?”.
Change Windows settings
Especially for newcomers, it is usually difficult to change Windows options due to the unmanageable settings. The Microsoft Copilot (Co-pilot) could help with this in the future. For example, if you type “Activate Dark Mode” and press Enter, the AI (so far still in English) asks whether you want it to switch to Dark Mode, which you have to confirm by clicking Yes, and that’s it! However, although the AI understands German, the conversation is sometimes difficult, for example when trying to end the dark mode again. For example, the co-pilot only performed a web search when asked to “Activate Lite Mode” or “Activate Light Mode” – it only returned to the desired action mode with “Deactivate Dark Mode”. By the way, this can be recognized by the message “Searching for suitable action”, while only the message “Cancel answer” appears in a general web search.
Thus, there is still a lot of room for improvement in this area. While the Bluetooth function could be turned on and off as described in the test, the Wi-Fi function could no longer be turned on and off. When asked to “Turn off Wi-Fi”, the Copilot completely lost its bearings and searched the Internet for the phrase “How do I turn off Wi-Fi on an Android device? As expected, the subsequently presented instructions did not help.
Perhaps the most important function: In the future, the Copilot will make many clicks and mouse movements superfluous, because it can also start programs. When prompted to “Take a screenshot”, it starts the snipping tool as described above, which in turn takes a picture of the desired screen section. Unfortunately, this did not work with program names in the test. For example, the AI only provided a short step-by-step instruction like “click here and click there” for requests like “start Word” or “start Word”.
Combine web pages and documents
A great strength of Copilot is its ability to evaluate and summarize complex documents. For a web page, first click on the three dots in the Copilot bar and set the “Let Copilot use content from Microsoft Edge” switch to “On”. Now launch the Edge browser and load the web page in question. If you now tap on “Summarize this website” in the still open Copilot, the AI writes a short overview with dots.
With documents, it works differently. To do this, highlight a text in Word, for example, and copy it to the clipboard with Ctrl +C. The Copilot then asks whether it should paste the text into the chat and offers the options Explain, Revise, Summarize and Expand after clicking Send – try it out. If you drag documents into the input field with the mouse button pressed, the AI only passes them to the Edge browser, which then only opens or saves them.
It has been known for a while that Bing Chat or ChatGPT delivers usable texts with little effort. Now you create suitable messages directly via the taskbar. The result of “Write a love poem for my wife, whom I love very much” could be improved in the test, but was still a useful basis for further lyrical editing.
Like Microsoft’s Bing Image Creator, the Windows 11 Copilot also generates new images based on your specifications. If you type in the example used there, “Create me a picture of a black Chihuahua with sunglasses on the beach, photo-realistic”, the message “Your image is being generated” first appears, and after a short time the AI spits out the four dreamlike “photos” as in the image above. Heart, what more do you want?
Conclusion: Windows 11 Co-pilot
The first test of the new Windows 11 copilot leaves an ambivalent impression. Enthusiasm is followed by disillusionment and so on. While the attempts to operate and configure Windows via the chatbot often fail simply because of the missing terms, the generative functions for generating texts and images offer especially creatively active users undreamt-of possibilities in the future without leaving Windows. Like Bing Chat itself, the Copilot based on it is still somewhat limited in terms of input and accepts a maximum of 30 queries per conversation topic. Since this is only a preview version so far, Microsoft will probably improve it.