Forward-looking: Recent Windows updates, experimental builds, and rumors indicate that Microsoft wants Copilot – its generative AI-based virtual assistant – to take an increasingly central role in the operating system. A new Insider beta tests new functionality that could automatically integrate Copilot with specific processes.
The release notes for Windows Insider build 26052 include notable information and updates in several areas. Chief among them is Copilot, which Microsoft hopes to use to optimize workflows with its generative AI.
The experimental Copilot build can automatically help perform some actions more quickly based on context. For example, when users copy text, the Copilot icon in the taskbar animates to get a user’s attention. Clicking it opens a selection of tasks the assistant can execute with the text, like pasting it into the chatbot field, searching for information about the contents, or summarizing the text.
It works with other media as well. Dragging an image onto the Copilot icon automatically opens the assistant. Users can then drop the image into the chat field and ask Copilot to perform actions based on the picture’s content.
Copilot began as an experimental AI-enhanced search field in Microsoft’s Edge browser before the Windows 11 23H2 update made it a separate application. Microsoft’s manufacturing partners have even begun adding a dedicated Copilot key to keyboards. Developers have also recently added image generation functionality to the virtual assistant. Microsoft intends to leverage NPU-enhanced PCs to make Copilot even more powerful with the Windows 11 24H2 update later this year.
Systems armed with AMD’s Strix Point processors, Intel’s Meteor Lake and Lunar Lake CPUs, or Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon X Elite platform could help Copilot understand nuanced commands and perform complex tasks using numerous parts of Windows. For instance, a user could ask it to retrieve a file based on a description of who sent it and when. It could also change system settings based on text instructions, alleviating the need to navigate the increasingly complex Windows settings screens.
Insider build 26053 also introduces the sudo command to Windows, improves hearing aid settings, lets users join Wi-Fi networks by scanning QR codes, and makes various UI adjustments. The confirmation of Windows 11 24H2’s development also comes from this update. Prior rumors suggested that this year’s major revision might have been Windows 12, but Microsoft has opted for another annual refresh.
In an unusual move from the company, the Canary and Dev channels are temporarily on the same build. Until they diverge again, users can switch between channels.