Copilot in your face? Microsoft is testing a Windows 11 change that's bound to be controversial

Microsoft is experimenting with having Copilot AI appear as soon as Windows 11 boots, but it's not clear which users this will affect.

2 minutes & 29 seconds read time

In a change that could prove controversial - who are we kidding, it will prove divisive, for sure - Microsoft is making it so that the Copilot side panel pops up right on your desktop when you boot the PC.

Not everyone wants to use Copilot, and certainly not now in its early life when the AI is very limited in its usefulness (Image Credit: Microsoft)

Not everyone wants to use Copilot, and certainly not now in its early life when the AI is very limited in its usefulness (Image Credit: Microsoft)

This behavior is only being tested right now, with some Windows Insiders in the Dev channel, coming packaged with Windows 11 preview build 23615.

So, only a small number of testers will get this (at least to begin with - there's going to be a wider rollout), and there is a way to turn it off (in Settings > Personalization > Copilot for those interested).

There's also another point to bear in mind, and as Microsoft explains in the blog post for this build, this immediate manifestation of Copilot will only happen for PCs with a 'widescreen' display. The catch is that what widescreen means isn't made clear.

All monitors are widescreen, of course, so is Microsoft basically saying it'll happen on every device save niche cases with displays that have odd aspect ratios? Or does Microsoft mean 21:9 aspect ratio screens, in which case it really should have specified ultra-widescreen displays.

We're guessing it could be the latter, and the blog post has just been badly phrased, because these monitors have additional width to fit the Copilot side panel in easily without eating too much desktop real-estate. But who knows what's the case - we'll find out when we get some feedback from testers in the Dev channel, no doubt.

For those who hate this idea, the positives here are that as mentioned, you can turn this off. And just because this is in testing doesn't mean it'll get through to the release version of Windows 11 anyway.

Elsewhere in build 23615, Microsoft has introduced support for USB4 to facilitate seriously speedy data transfers - upping the theoretical maximum speed to 80Gbps from 40Gbps (the latter was already very nippy anyway).

Naturally, you'll need a device with the right port (USB4), and initially that's limited to laptops that have Intel 14th-gen (Meteor Lake) HX series CPUs (such as the new Razer Blade 18).

The other main change with this build is that for browsers which invoke the Windows share panel, this feature now supports the ability to share URLs to a bunch of platforms directly. That includes Gmail, X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, WhatsApp. and LinkedIn.

Note that the reliability of the Windows share panel has been a problem in the past, but these issues have now been smoothed over - as have flaws that were making Task Manager less stable for Windows Insiders.

Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

What's in Darren's PC?

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