Microsoft extends Copilot in Windows for Insiders

Don't want to learn how Windows works? Copilot can help you with that

Windows Insiders are set to receive more Copilot in Windows features, following an update for the Canary and Dev Channels to add extra functions for users unwilling to click through icons.

The update landed earlier this week as a new runtime for Copilot in Windows intended to expose more settings via the chatbot.

The update means you can ask CoPilot for available wireless networks, to empty the recycle bin, or show the device's IP address. In fact, pretty much everything that a user could already do themselves using little more than a mouse click or two. Which is, at present, the point of Copilot in Windows.

For inexperienced users, however, being able to bark orders at Windows in something approximating natural language does have an appeal – especially when you compare it to having to query a search engine or reach for a telephone to ask a friendly IT-savvy friend for help changing the text size for accessibility purposes.

Besides adding some Windows settings and accessibility features to Copilot's repertoire, the update also introduces the Power Automate plugin in Copilot for Windows. Once Power Automate is installed, a user can activate the plugin in the plugins section in Copilot for Windows. Microsoft gave examples of tasks that could be asked for, including "Write an email to my team wishing everyone a happy weekend."

Other examples include renaming PDF files and moving Word documents around, both of which indicate how Copilot might become more than just a substitute for learning how a search engine works or getting training on operating system basics.

Power Automate is a useful tool for automating everyday tasks and creating business workflows, although according to Microsoft: "This first release of the plugin offers automation features for Excel, PDF manipulation and file management." Should future versions extend this, and Microsoft is looking for suggestions for automation scenarios, then Copilot in Windows stands a chance of becoming an integral part of office automation.

Microsoft also noted: "Currently plugins are only accessible if you are signed in to Copilot in Windows with a Microsoft account."

However, if a user is sufficiently keen on the concept of Copilot and is a member of the Windows Insider program, then the requirement for a Microsoft account is unlikely to prove too onerous. ®

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