Copilot is creeping into another corner of the Windows 11 interface, it seems, with the AI assistant seen in the context menu of File Explorer.

This is still in test builds of Windows 11, mind, and not officially either. Windows Latest flagged up the change, which was first noticed by PhantomOfEarth, a well-known leaker on X (formerly Twitter) who previously picked up on clues that File Explorer integration was inbound for Copilot back in January 2024.

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Now we can see how the context menu option will work, enabling you to right click on a file, and choose to send it to Copilot – open the AI’s panel with the file active, as if you’d dragged it in there – or to elect to ‘summarize’ the file. The latter choice being the standard option for Copilot to summarize a document or PDF for example.

Even though we’ve caught a glimpse of the menu now, it still doesn’t work (which is why it isn’t officially running in Windows 11 previews – yet). As Windows Latest makes clear, if you click to summarize, a summary isn’t provided.

Other options may be added down the line, too. In fact, it’s very likely we’ll see a ‘rewrite’ choice for example, allowing for rewriting a document, another task Copilot is currently capable of.


Analysis: Copilot’s future flight path

We can expect to see Copilot’s tendrils snaking into all parts of the Windows 11 interface eventually, which may not be to everyone’s tastes.

Those who don’t want to use the AI, or even see it in Windows at all, can ignore it, or turn off the functionality for the time being (one way or another) – but there will come a point where Copilot will be the beating heart of Microsoft’s OS, and you’ll have to use AI, like it or not. Although the functionality provided will probably be pretty advanced and undeniably useful (or indeed indispensable) at that stage.

This particular move is not a big intrusion into the desktop, though. We’re talking about an extra line in the right-click menu, and perhaps Microsoft will be incorporating an option to turn it off as well. In the same way you can remove the Copilot icon from the taskbar if you wish – maybe there’ll be a way to switch all the AI’s functions off with an easy flick of a toggle. (Or an instruction, perhaps: “Copilot, remove yourself from all parts of my Windows 11 interface” – we wouldn’t bank on it, mind).

As long as users have a choice, that’s a good thing, but as we’ve already said, in the future we feel there likely won’t be a choice as such because Copilot will pretty much become Windows, or the central pillar of the OS. Windows 2030 might just be called Copilot 2030.

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