Microsoft Copilot: Here’s everything you need to know about the company’s AI assistant

Microsoft’s new Copilot AI has wormed its way into nearly every aspect of Windows 11. However, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. We’ve put together a primer on the company’s new AI assistant, along with step-by-step instructions on how to both enable and disable it on your Windows computer.

What does Microsoft Copilot do?

Microsoft’s Copilot is a suite of AI tools that work together to create a digital personal assistant of sorts. Just like other modern AI assistants, the tech is based on generative artificial intelligence and large language models (LLM.)

You can use Copilot to do a whole bunch of things to increase productivity or just have fun. Use the service to summarize a web page or essay, write an email, quickly change operating system settings, generate custom images based on text, transcribe audio or video, generate a screenshot and even connect to an external device via Bluetooth. It also does the sorts of things other AI chatbots do, like creating lists of recipes, writing code or planning itineraries for trips. Think of it as a more robust version of the pre-existing Bing AI chatbot.

How to enable Microsoft Copilot

Update your computer to the latest version of Windows 11

First of all, you need the latest Windows 11 update, so go ahead and download that first. 

1. Head to Settings and look for the Windows Update option. 

2. Follow the prompts and reset your computer if required. 

You’re now ready to experience everything Copilot has to offer. If Microsoft just dropped an update, you may have to wait a bit before it reaches your region. Click the tab to automatically install the latest update when available.

Once your computer is updated, click the Copilot button

As for enabling the feature, click the Copilot button on the taskbar or press Win + C on the keyboard. That’s all there is to it.

How to disable Microsoft Copilot

Engadget/Terrence O’Brien

Microsoft Copilot isn’t an always-on feature. Once it shows up in the taskbar, it only works when you ask it something. However, if you want to disable or delete the feature entirely, you have a couple of options.

The easiest method is to remove it from the taskbar. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Open up Settings and click on Personalization. Next, tap the Taskbar page to the right side. Look for Taskbar Items and then click on the Copilot toggle switch to remove it from the line-up. This ensures you won’t ever accidentally turn it on via the Taskbar, but you can still call up the AI by typing Win + C.

If you want to delete the toolset entirely, the process is a bit more involved. Start by opening a PowerShell window. Search for Windows PowerShell, right-click on the results and select the option to run as an administrator. Next, click yes on the UAC prompt. This opens up a command prompt.

Paste the following into the window: reg add HKCUSoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindowsWindowsCopilot /v “TurnOffWindowsCopilot” /t REG_DWORD /f /d 1

That should do it. Every trace of Copilot will disappear from your system.

What are the limitations of Copilot?

This is new technology, so the limitations are extensive. Like all modern LLMs, Microsoft’s Copilot can and will make up stuff out of thin air every once in a while, a phenomenon known as hallucination. It also doesn’t retain information from conversation to conversation, likely for security reasons. This means it restarts the conversation from a blank slate every time you close a window and open another one. It won’t remember anything about you, your preferences or even your favorite order from the coffee shop down the street. Finally, it doesn’t integrate with too many third-party sources of data, beyond the web, so you won’t be able to incorporate personal fitness data and the like.

What’s the difference between Github Copilot and Microsoft Copilot?

There is a primary difference between the two platforms, despite the similar names. Github Copilot is all about helping craft and edit code for developing software applications. Microsoft Copilot can whip up some rudimentary code but it’s far from a speciality. If your primary use case scenario for an AI assistant is code, go with Github. If you only dabble in coding, or have no interest at all, go with Microsoft.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at 

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