Frustrations are being aired about Windows 11’s new Copilot app – but here’s why we’re not worried (just yet)

Microsoft is seemingly going backwards with Copilot in Windows 11, and things certainly don’t look great in testing for the AI assistant right now.

Windows Latest spearheads a complaint – echoed elsewhere by other denizens of various forums and social media outlets – that the latest incarnation of Copilot sees Microsoft ‘downgrading’ the AI to a “Microsoft Edge-based web wrapper” (we’ll come back to that point shortly).

To take a step back for a moment, this is all part of Microsoft’s recent move – announced in May 2024, and implemented in June – to switch Copilot from being an assistant anchored to a side panel (on the right) to a full app experience (a window you can move around the desktop, resize and so on, like a normal app basically).

As Windows Latest points out, in the latest update for Windows 11 (in testing), changes that are rolling out to some users turn Copilot into a basic web app – although in fact, Copilot has always been a web app (even when in its previous incarnation as a locked side panel, before the standalone app idea came about).

What the tech site is really complaining about is how basic and transparent Copilot’s nature really is in this freshly deployed take. This means the Copilot window shows Edge menus and options, and just opens in an Edge tab – and you can even open any old website in the Copilot app with a bit of fudging and a few clicks here and there. And all that feels rather disappointing and basic, of course.

Acer Swift laptop showing the Copilot key

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

Analysis: Strip it back, then build it up

We get the criticism here, although as noted, all that’s really happening is that Copilot is being more obviously exposed for what it is – a simple web app that basically just pipes you through to the same AI chatbot experience you get with the Copilot website.

However, there is a twist here – namely that the extra options Copilot offered for manipulating Windows 11 settings in some respects (in the pre-standalone app days) have reportedly been ditched. Not that these abilities were any great shakes to begin with – they’ve always been fairly limited – but still, it does feel like a step back to see them vanish.

Ultimately, this leaves the new Copilot experience in Windows 11 feeling very disjointed and not at all well integrated into the OS – just slapped on top, really. However, we do have to remember that this is still in testing.

Stripping features back in preview can be expected – even if it isn’t a pretty sight right now, presumably Microsoft is going to build it back up, make the new Copilot app more seamless, and reintroduce those powers related to Windows settings. In fact, we’d be shocked if that didn’t happen…

Unless Microsoft does have plans to make Copilot a more basic entity in Windows 11, but that seems very unlikely unless many more future AI powers are going to be forked off exclusively for Copilot+ PCs, perhaps (like Recall – which is another controversial topic in itself).

Time will tell, but eventually, we expect Copilot to become a more well-rounded and seamless app, and crucially, when powerful NPUs become more widespread, the AI assistant will be able to perform a good deal more AI workloads on-device (rather than hooking up to the cloud to get the necessary processing power). That’s when a more fully-fledged app with greater powers to operate locally will likely become a reality.

In its current format, though, which has always been pretty basic, Copilot in Windows 11 doesn’t really need to be any more than a simple web wrapper.

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Want Wi-Fi 7 on Windows 10? Forget it, Microsoft has confirmed it’s for Copilot+ PCs only

Microsoft has confirmed that the superfast wireless speeds that have arrived courtesy of Wi-Fi 7 – for devices and routers with support – will only be coming to the very latest version of Windows 11.

That’d be Windows 11 24H2, of course, and as you might know, this version is only currently available for Copilot+ PCs, but the big update for 2024 will roll out to all Windows 11 users later this year (maybe in September).

For now, though, the new Wi-Fi support is for Copilot+ PCs only, as Windows Latest spotted a Microsoft support document that confirmed this.

In the document on the latest wireless technology in Windows, Microsoft states: “Wi-Fi 7 is available starting with Windows 11, version 24H2.”

Now, that doesn’t mean that Wi-Fi 7 will always be limited to that specific incarnation of Windows 11 – 24H2 (or later) – just that Microsoft is kicking off availability with this version. It might be the case that it’s added to earlier versions of Windows 11 (well, 23H2) before too long.

However, it looks like Windows 10 users are out of luck though, as there’s no mention of the OS – as was the case with Wi-Fi 6E, the advancement on Wi-Fi 6 that previously came through.

Analysis: Wi-Fi 6E misstep unlikely to happen again

So, it seems like Wi-Fi 7 won’t debut for Windows 10, but that isn’t really a massive surprise. Firstly, Windows 10 runs out of support in not that much more than a year now, so it’s going to be limited in terms of new features being introduced anyway (though there will be some new additions into the mix, we know that much – enough to prompt Microsoft to resurrect the Beta testing channel for the OS).

And secondly, Windows 10 didn’t get Wi-Fi 6E as noted above, so it seems unlikely that it’d receive Wi-Fi 7 support. We can’t completely rule it out, of course – as it’s not explicitly stated that Windows 10 won’t – but that seems to be the heavy hint Microsoft is dropping by only mentioning Windows 11 versions.

Now, there is a slight twist here, in that Windows 10 did receive Wi-Fi 6E in what seemed to be a mistake with a single Intel driver that erroneously added support (somehow) – but that driver is reportedly buggy and not to be used (if you can find it at all). So, you could hope this might happen with Wi-Fi 7, but we’re betting it won’t – and Intel has learned from this mistake.

In short, don’t expect speedy Wi-Fi 7 for Windows 10, and of course remember that even on Windows 11, you need a router and PC that supports the new wireless standard to benefit from Wi-Fi 7.

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Windows 11’s controversial Recall feature hasn’t just been ditched from Copilot+ PCs – Microsoft’s reportedly stripped it out of test builds of the OS

Microsoft has seemingly pulled its Recall feature – the AI-powered search that screenshots your PC activity and has caused controversy aplenty – not just from Copilot+ PCs at launch, but now from Windows 11 test builds, too.

If you cast your mind back to a week ago, June 14, Microsoft came forth with an announcement that Recall had been withdrawn from Copilot+ PCs, where it was supposed to be in ‘preview’ at launch, and would instead be available to preview in the “Windows Insider Program (WIP) in the coming weeks.”

In other words, Windows test builds – but of course, the mention of the ‘coming weeks’ suggests that testing of the feature won’t happen immediately in the Canary channel (or other preview channels for that matter).

Still, as Tom’s Hardware observes, Recall functionality was present in build 26236 in the Canary channel – with well-known leaker Albacore uncovering new pieces of functionality – and then, on the day of the launch of Copilot+ PCs, that build had its rollout paused by Microsoft.

Following that, build 26241 emerged in Canary testing, and as Tom’s makes clear, it has no sign of the Recall feature – it has all been stripped out.

Analysis: Recall won’t be ready until it’s ready – and that’s a good thing

Really, then, this is to be expected. As we noted above, Microsoft has said Recall is going into testing, but only in the coming weeks, hinting it’s still a little way off reaching that point. But it’s still interesting to see that Microsoft has stripped it out completely in the Canary channel, after pausing the preview build which had the feature (albeit with changes discovered by Albacore that were hidden in the background).

To us, this indicates that it might be a bit more of a long haul than Microsoft suggests for Recall actually going live even in test builds of Windows 11. But frankly – if this turns out to be the case – we think that’s something to be grateful for, being very much of the opinion that Recall likely isn’t remotely ready yet.

If Microsoft is taking the time to pull it completely, and really get the Recall house in order, before deploying it to Windows 11 testers, that’s a good sign. It’s a kingpin AI feature for Copilot+ PCs, after all, so Microsoft needs to get Recall right, and if that takes time, all well and good as far as we’re concerned.

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Windows 11 loses keyboard shortcut for Copilot, making us wonder if this is a cynical move by Microsoft to stoke Copilot+ PC sales

What’s going to drive Copilot+ PC sales, do you think? Superb AI acceleration chops? Windows on Arm getting emulation nailed for fast app and gaming performance (on Snapdragon X models)? No – it’s the Copilot key on the keyboard, dummy.

Surprised? Well, we certainly are, but apparently one of Microsoft’s selling points for Copilot+ PCs is the dedicated key to summon the AI on the keyboard.

We can draw that unexpected conclusion from a move Microsoft just made which seems pretty mystifying otherwise: namely the removal of the keyboard shortcut for Copilot from Windows 11.

As flagged up by Tom’s Hardware, the new Windows 11 preview (build 22635) in the Beta channel has dumped the keyboard shortcut (Windows key + C) that brings up the Copilot panel. This is an update that just happened (on June 19), after the preview build initially emerged on June 14.

Microsoft explains very vaguely that: “As part of the Copilot experience’s evolution on Windows to become an app that is pinned to the taskbar, we are retiring the WIN + C keyboard shortcut.”

An Acer Swift Go 14 on a desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

Analysis: A cynical move by Microsoft?

What now? How is removing a useful keyboard shortcut part of the ‘evolution’ of Copilot? Surely, it’s a step backwards to drop one of the ways to invoke the AI assistant to the desktop?

Now, if Microsoft had big plans for the Windows + C shortcut elsewhere, say another piece of functionality that had come in which required this particular combo, the reasoning might at least be a little clearer. But by all accounts, there’s no replacement function here – Windows + C now does nothing.

As for the reason somehow being tied to Copilot shifting to become an app window, rather than a locked side panel in Windows 11, we don’t see how that has any relevance at all to whether you can open the AI with a keyboard shortcut or not.

As Tom’s Guide points out, seemingly the driver for this change is to make the Copilot key on the keyboard a more pivotal function, replacing the shortcut, but guess what – you only get that key on new Copilot+ PCs (right now anyway). So, the logical conclusion for the skeptical is that this is simply a fresh angle on helping to stoke sales for Copilot+ PCs.

It’s not like you can’t just click on the Copilot icon, of course, so you’re not lost at sea with no AI assistance all of a sudden – but that’s not the point. It is a lost convenience, clearly though, and it feels like a cynical move by Microsoft.

Tom’s Guide points out that you could use third-party key mapping software to restore the functionality of this particular shortcut, but the point is, you really shouldn’t have to bother jumping through such hoops. Come on, Microsoft – don’t pull stunts like this, or, if there is a good reason behind the change, share it, not some waffling soundbites about evolving Copilot.

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Windows 11 24H2 officially debuts for Copilot+ PCs, and nobody else – but don’t worry, you’re not missing much

Microsoft has made Windows 11 version 24H2 available – but right now, it’s for Copilot+ PCs only, at least officially.

This means that to begin with, the 24H2 update is only being released for those specific devices, which means to begin with, Windows on Arm laptops with the new Snapdragon X (Arm-based) chips – and no other PCs.

As Windows Latest spotted, Microsoft states in its release notes: “Windows 11, version 24H2 is only available for Copilot+ PCs devices.”

However, there’s a twist in that what Microsoft means here is that 24H2 is only available in its finished version for Copilot+ PCs. These devices go on sale tomorrow (June 18), and when you fire up your Copilot+ laptop, it’ll be running 24H2 and will immediately apply KB5039239 (it’s the cumulative update for June).

Those who don’t have a Copilot+ PC can actually download and run KB5039239, but only as a Windows Insider. In other words, 24H2 is only available as a test build (26100.863) which is in the Release Preview channel.

As Windows Latest points out, though, if you do run this preview on a standard (non-Copilot+) system you may experience a rough ride in terms of bugs, more so than a normal test build (certainly one in Release Preview which is, as the name suggests, the final step before release).

Analysis: Missing out? Not really

If you're afraid that you’re missing out by not getting Windows 11 24H2, we wouldn’t worry about that. As we already noted, yes, this is only for Arm-based Copilot+ PCs, and while you can technically put the preview spin on a PC running an AMD or Intel CPU, there isn’t much in the way of new features anyway. (And the one huge feature for Copilot+ PCs, Recall, was pulled as you may remember, and put into testing for the foreseeable).

Indeed, for now, all the initial 24H2 release does is apply some bug fixes – including one to ensure games with BattlEye anti-cheat work with Windows on Arm – and security tweaks.

There is one sizable change with Copilot, though, which will become an ‘app experience’ so the desktop assistant can be treated like any app within Windows 11. In other words, you can move the Copilot window, snap or resize it and so forth – rather than having it locked to a side panel – but even that’s something you can likely wait for.

When the full release of the 24H2 update comes, likely in September if rumors are right – though it could slide until later in 2024 – there will be a lot more features on-board (though some of them will be for Copilot+ PCs only, like Recall).

So for now, you’re not really missing out on anything, and indeed this preview build returning to testing is a good sign for everyone in terms of the release timeframe of the full Windows 11 24H2 update. If you recall, the rollout and testing of the preview was paused due to various nasty bugs, and we were worried there might even be a delay to 24H2 – but with the build having its rollout resumed in the Release Preview channel, that’s a good sign that things remain on track regarding the launch schedule.

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Microsoft finally removes mysterious Copilot app that installed itself and freaked out Windows 11 users

Remember the weird Copilot app that was quietly installed on some Windows 11 PCs earlier this year? Well, Microsoft has announced that the mysterious and tiny app – which was just 8KB in size and did nothing save to cause some users to worry about exactly what it was – has now been removed from these systems.

As Neowin reports, Microsoft stated that the program – which was visible on the ‘Installed apps’ list in Windows 11 – was harmless and did not run any background code. Microsoft has now marked the issue as resolved, and the app will no longer be seen in your list of installed applications.

While this whole affair was rather odd, it is reassuring to know that nothing was amiss with this random bit of software that suddenly appeared. However, with the Copilot app being first spotted in March 2024, it has taken Microsoft quite some time to deal with the issue, and we’ve got to admit, we’re curious as to why the process of fixing the glitch moved so slowly. 

Microsoft wrote in a post on its release health dashboard: “This package was intended to prepare some Windows devices for future Windows Copilot enablement and was not intended for all devices. Although the component installed as part of this issue can cause the Microsoft Copilot app to be shown as part of the Installed apps, this component does not fully install or enable Microsoft Copilot.”

The app was introduced via an Edge browser update and has been removed in the same way. Microsoft notes that you need to update to Edge stable version 126.0.2592.56 and restart your browser once you’ve done so – then you’ll be good to go!

It seems like a turbulent time for Windows 11 currently, with Microsoft dropping the Recall feature from Copilot+ PCs (at least for now), a move that doesn’t speak well in terms of the confidence behind the product, but seems to be the best course of action given all the controversy around the AI feature.

Evidently, Microsoft has a fair few loose ends to tie up right now and needs to be careful not to rush so that mistakes are made. This misfiring Copilot app installation triggered by an Edge update may have been harmless in the end, but perhaps the next misstep might not be so benign.

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Microsoft dumps Windows 11 Recall feature from Copilot+ PCs at launch – an embarrassing turn of events, but ultimately for the best

In a very surprising move – albeit the right one, in our books – Microsoft has pulled the rug on its big Recall feature, so it now won’t launch as planned with Copliot+ PCs.

Microsoft just issued an update on Recall (hat tip to Tom’s Hardware) as follows: “Recall will now shift from a preview experience broadly available for Copilot+ PCs on June 18, 2024, to a preview available first in the Windows Insider Program (WIP) in the coming weeks.

“Following receiving feedback on Recall from our Windows Insider Community, as we typically do, we plan to make Recall (preview) available for all Copilot+ PCs coming soon.”

To recap briefly, Recall is the feature which constantly takes screenshots of the activity on the host PC, allowing the user to search these leveraging AI (Copilot), offering an undoubtedly powerfully ramped up search experience.

But there have been issues aplenty raised around Recall before its (now canceled) launch, and much controversy stirred by those who have fudged their Windows 11 installation to enable and test the feature.

So, as noted in Microsoft’s statement, the expectation was very much that Recall would be live next week, when Copilot+ PCs finally emerge blinking in the sunlight, but that will no longer be the case.

Instead, Microsoft is going to have the Recall preview made available to testers in early builds of Windows 11 in the “coming weeks,” and there’s the second major admission here. That makes it sound like testers won’t be getting the feature to play with next week, let alone buyers of Copilot+ PCs, and it may be some weeks before it arrives in whatever preview channel Microsoft deploys Recall.

In short, Microsoft isn’t sure whether Recall will even be ready for testing any time soon.

Person with a laptop

(Image credit: / ImYanis)

Analysis: A major setback, but still the right decision

This has all been a bit of a fiasco, frankly. Microsoft announced Recall with a big fanfare for Copilot+ PCs, then proceeded to batten down the hatches as flak and doubts were fired at the feature left, right, and center. Defensiveness and evasion gave way to big changes being implemented for Recall to shore up security in the light of all the negative feedback, and also ensuring it’s turned off by default (something we argued strongly for).

Now, even after that, it’s been canned for the time being, at least for Copilot+ PCs. It’s not a good look, is it? It feels like Microsoft has been taken aback by all the salvoes fired at Recall by security researchers, rushed to implement some hefty changes, realized that there isn’t time to do all this properly – Copilot+ PCs are almost upon us – so put the full launch on ice to go back to testing.

There’s no doubting that this will be damaging to Copilot+ PCs to some extent. These are AI PCs, after all, and Windows 11’s key feature for them was Recall – there is other AI functionality for these devices, but nothing on the same scale. Just look at Dell’s Copilot+ PC web page, and how it’s built around Recall – it’s the key piece of the AI puzzle, and now it’s missing.

However, we’re glad Microsoft has taken the PR hit here, as it were, and pulled Recall, rather than putting its head down and trying to forge through with the feature. That would have proved even more damaging, most likely, so we understand, and approve of this move in the end.

Honestly, though, we don’t think Recall – given that it’s a sensitive and tricky piece of AI functionality with all those privacy and security aspects – should be pushed out to finished versions of Windows as a ‘preview’ at all. This should be done, dusted, tight and secure, before leaving testing – shouldn’t it?

Speaking of tight and secure, this is especially bad timing for Microsoft, given that Apple Intelligence was just unveiled, with the rival AI offering looking super-sharp on the privacy front, while Copilot appears to be stumbling about from blunder to blunder for the moment. Again, it’s not a good look, made much worse by Apple’s confident and professional revelation of its AI rival for Macs and iDevices (though we should note, we need to see Apple’s promises in action, not just words, before we get carried away with any comparisons).

Still, awkward days for Microsoft, but we’re hoping the company can now take the time to get things right with Recall. In fact, we’d argue it must take the time to do so, or risk blemishes on the Copilot brand that’ll quite probably cause lasting damage in terms of public perception.

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Still using classic Outlook? You can get Copilot features without migrating to the ‘new’ Outlook version

You may remember that Microsoft introduced a new Outlook app for Windows 11 (and Windows 10) at the end of last year, though plenty of users have stuck it out and held onto the ‘classic’ Outlook email app. If you aren’t willing to move over to the new app but don’t want to be left behind, don’t fret – Windows Copilot, Microsoft’s AI assistant, is finally coming to the older app.

Yes, this is a major feature that diehard old Outlook users won’t miss out on. According to a blog post, Microsoft stated that the classic Outlook app will get a trio of Copilot features: Summarize, Coaching, and Draft.

The Summarize option will be available in the top-right corner when you’ve got an email thread open. As you might guess, it gets Copilot to summarize the main points of that thread.

Coaching will offer tips on how to write the perfect email and hit the right tone in the message, as well as considerations such as clarity of the writing. That’s about honing an email you’ve already written, whereas Draft will let Copilot take the reins and create the entire email on the basis of a few prompts. You can then edit the results naturally as necessary.

Microsoft Outlook Screenshot

(Image credit: Microsoft )

With these AI-powered features on tap, you can still cling to the original Outlook app without missing out on some very useful time-saving functionality.

In the blog post, Microsoft also noted that there are plans in place to add more Copilot features to the classic Outlook app for Windows in the near future. We assume these inbound features will debut on the new Outlook app first, then possibly the Mac version and even the mobile app, before reaching the classic Outlook app.

The reason for this is doubtless to persuade people to move over to the newer app by holding off on introducing new features to the old client. So, if you are planning to stay rooted in the classic Outlook, you may be in for a long wait as fresh features are drip-fed into the other app versions. 

Microsoft says that new Copilot features are expected to arrive in the classic Outlook app in the next 3 to 12 months, so at least you’ve got something to look forward to in the next year or so! 

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Apple reveals Apple Intelligence to take on ChatGPT, Copilot and Gemini

Apple has unveiled its own spin of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – and it's called Apple Intelligence. As expected, it was unveiled at WWDC 2024 (you can follow all the announcements as they happen at our WWDC 2024 live blog).

Here's everything we know so far about Apple Intelligence, and how it integrates with Siri and other Apple products.

Apple Intelligence will be free for users with iOS 18, iPadOS 18 and macOS 15 Sequoia – all operating updates announced at WWDC 2024.

This story is breaking. We'll continue to update this article – and check out our WWDC 2024 live blog for all the breaking news

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Windows Recall will no longer be enabled by default on Copilot Plus PCs – here’s what you need to know

Windows Recall has proven to be a highly controversial AI feature ever since it was first announced in May. What it does is it constantly takes screenshots of everything you do on your PC and then places the images into a searchable on-device database. And yes, that includes pictures displaying sensitive information. 

People were quick to call it a “security nightmare” after Microsoft openly admitted the software would not hide “passwords or financial account numbers.” The company attempted to defend its decision but has recently decided to make multiple safety improvements to Recall before its quickly approaching June 18 launch.

Arguably, the most important of these changes is that Recall will no longer be turned on by default upon activating your PC. According to a recent post on the Windows Experience Blog, the feature will instead be off by default, meaning you’ll have to enable it yourself during a computer’s setup process. 

Next, enrolling into Windows Hello is now a requirement to activate Recall and to view your screenshot timeline. This means you’ll have to authenticate yourself as the primary user through a biometric input or PIN before accessing the feature. 

Windows Recall's new setup page

(Image credit: Microsoft)

As for the final update, Microsoft is beefing up security by adding extra “layers of data protection [including] ‘just in time’ decryption” from Windows Hello ESS (Enhanced Sign-in Security). As a result, snapshots can only be viewed whenever a user proves their identity. Additionally, Recall’s search index database is now encrypted.

What's strange is this suggests the database that would’ve stored images containing bank account numbers was initially unprotected and vulnerable to outside forces. It may surprise you to hear how unsafe it was, but at least they’re fixing it before launch and not after.

Analysis: Remaining skeptical

The rest of the blog post reiterates the security functions of Windows Recall that were previously known. For example, snapshots will be stored locally on your computer and not uploaded to Microsoft servers. An icon representing the feature will sit in the system tray, “letting you know when Windows is saving” images. Plus, users can “pause, filter, [or] delete” snapshots whenever they want.

Microsoft also stresses that Recall will only be available on the upcoming Copilot Plus PCs since they have robust security to ensure privacy.

Does this mean we can totally trust Windows Recall to maintain data security? No, not really. 

Jake Williams, VP of R&D at the cybersecurity consultancy Hunter Strategy, told Wired he “still sees serious risks [as well as] unresolved privacy problems.” People could be hit with a subpoena forcing them to cough up PINs to gian access to Recall databases. 

Although Microsoft claims it can’t see snapshots, who’s to say the tech giant can’t change its mind a year or two down the line and decide to harvest all that sensitive information. They may find some legal loophole giving them carte blanche to do whatever they want with Recall data. It’s scary, though.

If you're looking for ways to improve your online security, check out TechRadar's massive list of the best privacy tools for 2024.

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