Windows 11 is set for a major change to the Copilot interface, or at least this is something that’s being tried out in testing.

With Windows 11’s preview build 26080 (in both Canary and Dev channels), Microsoft is adding a choice to free Copilot from the shackles that bind the AI assistant to the right-hand side of the screen.

Normally, the Copilot panel appears on the right, and you can’t do anything about that (although Microsoft has been experimenting with the ability to resize it, and other bits and bobs besides).

With this change, you can now undock Copilot, so the AI is in a normal app window, which can be moved wherever you want on the desktop, and resized appropriately. In other words, you’re getting a lot more versatility regarding where you want Copilot to appear.

Also in this preview build, more users are getting Copilot’s new abilities to alter Windows 11 settings. That functionality was already introduced to Canary testers, but is now rolling out to more of those folks, and Windows Insiders in the Dev channel too.

The extra capabilities include getting the AI assistant to empty the Recycle Bin, or turn on Live Captions, or Voice Access (there are a fair few new options on the accessibility front, in fact).

Analysis: Under the hood tinkering, too

Not all testers in the mentioned channels will see the ability to fully free Copilot and let the AI roam the desktop for a while yet, mind. Microsoft says it’s just starting the rollout – and it’ll only be for those in the Canary channel initially. A broader rollout will follow, with Microsoft asking for feedback as it goes, and adjusting things based on what it hears from Windows 11 testers, no doubt.

There are also some ‘under-the-hood improvements’ coming for Copilot as well, as mentioned in the blog post, but mysteriously, Microsoft doesn’t say what. We can only guess that this might be performance related, as that seems the most obvious way that tinkering in the background could improve things with Copilot. (Perhaps it’s to do with ensuring the smooth movement of the undocked panel for the AI, even).

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