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How to Enable and Use the Copilot AI Assistant on Windows 11

A comprehensive guide to enabling and using Copilot, the new AI assistant in Windows 11. Learn how to install, customize, and leverage Copilot to boost productivity and unlock creative potential.

Windows Copilot
Copilot | Source: Microsoft

Microsoft's new Copilot AI assistant for Windows 11 aims to revolutionize productivity and content creation on PCs. Still in preview mode as of late 2023, Copilot represents a major advancement in bringing natural language AI capabilities directly into the Windows operating system.

Powered by OpenAI, Bing, and other Microsoft technologies, Copilot allows users to invoke an intelligent sidebar interface from the Windows 11 taskbar or keyboard shortcut. You can then ask Copilot questions, get research summaries, automate workflows, and generate text or images through conversational prompts.

Key features and use cases of Copilot include:

  • Controlling Windows settings and automating tasks
  • Integrating with Microsoft apps like Outlook, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint to enhance productivity
  • Generating written content like emails, reports, and articles
  • Creating multimedia like images, diagrams, and data visualizations
  • Summarizing documents, webpages, and other content
  • Rewriting and improving text through AI revisions

As an AI assistant built directly into the Windows operating system, Copilot has the potential to profoundly augment how we work and create on PCs. This guide will walk through how to enable Copilot and leverage its capabilities to boost your productivity and unlock new creative possibilities.

Enabling Copilot in Windows 11

The key to getting access to Copilot on your Windows 11 PC is upgrading to the latest version of the operating system.

As of September 2023, Copilot is officially available in the Windows 11 2023 Update version 22H2, so you'll want to make sure your device is up to date.

To check for updates and install the latest version with Copilot:

  • Go to Settings > Windows Update, or simply click this link Check for updates
  • Click "Check for updates"
  • If the 2023 Update (version 22H2) is available, it will download and install automatically
  • Allow your PC to restart to complete the installation
Windows update (Windows 11 version 22H2)
Windows update (Windows 11 version 22H2)

Once your PC comes back up after restarting, Copilot should now be enabled!

Look on your taskbar and you should see the colorful Copilot icon next to the search box. You can also invoke it anytime with Windows logo key + C.

Windows 11 taskbar
Windows 11 taskbar

If for some reason you don't see Copilot after updating, here are a few things to try:

  • Make sure you're signed into Windows with a Microsoft account
  • Double check that your Windows version is 22H2 or newer
  • Click "Check for updates" again in case you need a smaller bug fix update
  • Reboot your PC and check the taskbar again
Windows update history
Windows update history

Or you can also try the following things:

  • Go to Personalization > Taskbar
  • In the Taskbar items section, make sure the Copilot status toggle button is ON
Windows taskbar items
Windows taskbar items

According to Microsoft, the roll out of Copilot is gradual, so it may take a bit more time to appear for some users. In the 23H2 update, Copilot will be on by default but can be controlled via policies for business users.

If you still don't see it after updating and restarting, you can opt into receiving Insider Preview builds for early access to the latest features.

Here's how to get Insider builds:

  • Open Settings > Windows Update > Windows Insider Program
  • Link your Microsoft account
  • Choose Dev Channel
  • Download the Insider Preview build

This will give you the freshest version of Windows 11 with the newest capabilities like Copilot.

Keep in mind Insider builds may be less stable, so don't install them on your primary work device. Consider a separate test machine if you can.

But for most mainstream users, updating to the latest stable version of Windows 11 should now enable you to start using Copilot. Just look for the colorful icon on your taskbar!

Interacting with Copilot

Alright, let's dive into the good stuff! We'll walk you through all the ways you can chat, collaborate, and create with your new AI buddy Copilot.

First things first—launching Copilot. There's a few ways to get the party started:

  • Click the colorful Copilot icon on your taskbar
  • Use the Windows logo key + C shortcut on your keyboard
  • If you highlighted text or took a screenshot, just click the popup notification to send it to Copilot!

Once the Copilot sidebar slides into view, you'll see some options at the top to customize your conversation:

  • More Creative - Copilot gets quirky with more original responses
  • More Balanced - The default, middle-of-the-road conversation mode
  • More Precise - Focuses on accurate facts and specific instructions

We'd recommend starting with Balanced until you get a feel for Copilot's personality. You can switch it up anytime!

Below the conversation modes, you'll see some example questions and commands to inspire you. The real magic happens when you start typing or speaking your own questions into the text entry box at the bottom.

Some things you can ask Copilot to do:

  • Change Windows settings like enabling dark mode or focus assist
  • Open apps like Word, Outlook, or Spotify
  • Automate workflows like scheduling meetings or emails
  • Generate text like articles, reports, poems, jokes
  • Create images based on your prompt or uploaded image
  • Summarize documents, webpages, presentations
  • And lots more! Just use natural language.

Copilot really shines when you take advantage of its conversational nature. Ask follow-up questions, clarify or elaborate on something, and let the chat evolve organically.

You can even upload images or paste text directly into the chat box and ask Copilot to work with that content. Maybe turn a report into a presentation, or make a meme from a photo. The options are endless!

Some examples of creative ways to chat with Copilot:

  • "Write a poem from the perspective of my cat Pepper who loves treats and sitting in boxes."
  • "Summarize this 5 page research paper in 2 concise paragraphs."
  • "Convert these handwritten notes into an email draft."
  • "Make a flyer for my yard sale with the address 123 Maple Lane and dates May 15-17."
  • "What oil painting style would make this photo of a bowl of fruit look like a Renaissance masterpiece?"

Pretty neat right? Copilot really does feel like chatting with a helpful human assistant.

We'll let you in on a little secret though...Copilot does make mistakes sometimes. It's an AI after all!

Here are a few tips to get the best results:

  • Be specific with your requests - don't leave room for incorrect interpretations
  • Ask it to rephrase responses that seem off or nonsensical
  • Clarify if Copilot seems confused. Rephrase your question.
  • Provide examples or context to guide Copilot if needed
  • Double check accuracy of any factual information

And don't forget - you can always click the refresh icon in the corner to restart the conversation if needed. Copilot's responses will gradually improve over time based on user feedback.

Oh, one last thing - Copilot currently has a limit of 30 questions per session to prevent overload. No worries, just refresh the chat or restart your PC to continue the fun!

Now get out there and unlock your creativity with the power of AI! Copilot is the perfect sidekick for any project on Windows 11.

Customizing Copilot

So you and Copilot are officially BFFs now, but it never hurts to set some boundaries in any healthy friendship. Let's chat about how to tailor your Copilot experience.

In the top right corner of the Copilot panel, you'll see a little settings icon (the three dots). Give that a click!

Copilot more settings
Copilot more settings

The menu that pops out has a few options:

  • Terms of Use - The contractual stuff
  • Privacy Statement - How Microsoft uses your data
  • Send Feedback - Help Copilot improve!
  • Learn More - Get additional guidance
  • Settings - Customize Copilot behavior

Not too much to overwhelm you here. The Settings page is pretty minimal so far, with just a single toggle:

  • Let Copilot use content from Microsoft Edge
Copilot settings
Copilot settings

If you enable this, Copilot can summarize web pages you have open in Edge. Handy if you want quick digests of online content!

We'd suggest playing around with this setting to see if you find it useful. You can toggle it on and off anytime.

The other key customization is restarting the Copilot chat. Since there's a limit of 30 questions per session, you'll need to refresh it every so often.

Here's how to restart your Copilot conversation:

  • Click the three dot menu
  • Select Refresh
  • The chat history is cleared and you get 30 more queries!

Pretty straightforward right? You can refresh and toggle the Edge setting as needed to keep Copilot working optimally for you.

Now let's chat troubleshooting in case Copilot starts acting up:

  • If Copilot fails to launch, try rebooting your PC
  • Make sure you have internet access - Copilot needs connectivity
  • Check for Windows updates in case a bug is fixed
  • Try adjusting the conversation mode between Creative, Balanced, and Precise
  • Use simple, clear language and be as specific as possible

Still having issues? You can click the Feedback link in Copilot's menu to report bugs or problems directly to Microsoft.

The dev team is continually improving Copilot, so feel empowered to share any areas that need polish. Your input helps steer progress!

Oh, and about the Copilot interface itself:

Unfortunately there's limited options for resizing or repositioning the panel right now. It's not movable or resizeable.

We're hoping Microsoft adds more flexibility soon. But for now, think of Copilot as a helpful sidekick who follows you around!

If the static sidebar bothers you, some workarounds are:

  • Use a secondary monitor to keep Copilot there out of the way
  • Maximize or resize app windows to avoid overlap
  • Toggle Copilot closed when not needed to free up screen space

So in summary:

  • Customize with the Settings toggle for Edge
  • Refresh to restart the chat when needed
  • Report issues through the feedback channels
  • Work around the fixed interface size and position

Copilot's Integration with Windows and Microsoft Apps

One of Copilot's superpowers is its tight integration across Windows 11 and other Microsoft apps. This AI assistant can do way more than just chat!

Let's start with how Copilot can help customize Windows 11 itself:

  • Change settings like enabling dark mode, focus assist, night light
  • Tweak accessibility features like text size or narrator
  • Open apps and documents
  • Automate workflows like emailing your boss every Monday
  • Control media playback for Spotify or YouTube
  • Take screenshots and add edits or annotations
  • Change wallpapers and themes for personalized flair

The key is that Copilot has direct access to operate Windows and modify settings. So you can use natural language to control your PC!

For example:

  • "Hey Copilot, turn on dark mode please"
  • "Can you increase text size to 150%?"
  • "Open the OneNote app and create a grocery list"
Copilot's integration with Windows
Copilot's integration with Windows - turn on dark mode

Pretty handy right? Think of Copilot as your virtual assistant to tweak and streamline Windows.

Now let's talk Microsoft 365 integration. Copilot can seriously enhance your workflow with apps like:

Outlook

  • Email drafting and scheduling
  • Meeting organization and calendaring
  • Inbox organization and prioritization
  • Email insights and follow-ups

Excel

  • Data analysis and visualization
  • Formula help and auditing
  • Table formatting and styling
  • Chart creation
  • Pivot table generation

Word

  • Writing assistance like proofreading and rephrasing
  • Text summarization
  • Document drafting from outlines
  • Research and reference checking
  • Style and formatting suggestions

PowerPoint

  • Presentation outlining from prompts
  • Slide design and theme recommendations
  • Image and graphic creation
  • Data visualization and chart insertion
  • Presentation summary and analysis

And it keeps going! Copilot is like having your own AI assistant researcher, writer, editor, and designer rolled into one.

It can ingest reference material you provide and rapidly synthesize outputs tailored to your needs. Think of how much time and manual effort this saves!

Now let's discuss using Copilot in Teams:

  • Meeting transcription and note taking
  • Summarizing long chat threads to get up to speed
  • Generating follow-ups based on meeting recordings
  • Creating visual recaps, minutes, and action items
  • Scheduling calendar events and assignment of tasks

Copilot almost acts like an extra participant in your Teams meetings! It remembers what was discussed and can take action based on the conversation.

And again - you can use natural language to guide Copilot on what you need. Some examples:

  • "Summarize the key points from this meeting in 5 bullet points"
  • "Generate a timeline diagram of the project plan we just discussed"
  • "Schedule a 30 minute follow-up call next week for the team and send calendar invites"

The integration with Microsoft apps helps turn Copilot into an indispensable AI colleague. Give it a spin during your everyday workflow and see how much efficiency you can unlock!

Future Outlook for Copilot

Copilot wit Bing Chat
Copilot with Bing Chat | Source: Microsoft

Copilot may still be in its infancy, but this AI assistant has huge potential going forward! Here's a sneak peek at what the future likely holds.

For starters, Microsoft will continue expanding Copilot's capabilities and functionality. Some areas they're working on improving:

  • More seamless integration across even more apps and services
  • Expanded options for customizing Copilot's appearance and settings
  • Multitasking abilities like opening multiple apps at once
  • Proactive features where Copilot suggests actions to take
  • Accessibility upgrades like automatic alt-text for images

Exciting stuff! With continuous improvements, Copilot will get smarter and more versatile.

As for availability, the plan is to eventually roll out Copilot to all Windows 11 devices. The staggered preview approach is cautious, but good news for consumers is that Microsoft is committed to bringing this AI assistant to the masses.

In terms of privacy, Microsoft faces the challenge of ensuring Copilot handles personal data responsibly as it expands the tool's capabilities. But the company states their principles include transparency, fairness, accountability, and avoiding harmful bias.

There's debate around whether Copilot will remain free or eventually require a subscription model. We'd guess Microsoft will monitor public reception and make that call down the line.

Some other possibilities to watch for:

  • Mobile app version of Copilot for on-the-go assistance
  • Integrating Copilot directly into Office 365 web apps
  • Business-focused Copilot features like data analysis for reports
  • Wake word activation and voice commands for hands-free use

The sky's the limit for Copilot's future! Of course new innovations carry risks too, like potential misuse of AI or job automation concerns. But Microsoft seems committed to developing Copilot responsibly for the long haul.

Using Copilot for Content Creation

Copilot isn't just a helpful assistant - this AI can be a prolific content creator too!

Let's explore some of the ways Copilot can generate written, visual, and multimedia content for you:

Written Content

  • Articles & blog posts - Outline key points and let Copilot draft full posts
  • Emails - Copilot can compose professional emails from basic prompts
  • Reports & documents - Provide Copilot reference materials to pull from for long-form documents
  • Creative writing - Get Copilot to flex its storytelling skills with poems, jokes, dialogues, and more
  • Summarization - Distill the essence of documents, articles, or other content into concise summaries

Visual Content

  • Images - Supply a detailed prompt and Copilot will generate photos, illustrations, diagrams
  • Presentations - Copilot can craft full slide decks if given a presentation outline and goals
  • Infographics - Ask for charts, graphs, timelines, and other dataviz to liven up boring numbers
  • Design mockups - Copilot can whip up website layouts, product renderings, app prototypes
  • Photo editing - Apply filters, backgrounds, and other enhancements to existing images

Multimedia Content

  • Videos - Provide a script and get AI-generated visuals to accompany narration
  • Podcasts - Copilot can research talking points and write a complete podcast transcript
  • Social posts - Give Copilot your brand voice and target audience and get shareable social content
  • Ads - Outline the product, goals, and platforms and Copilot can craft engaging ad copy and assets

The key is providing Copilot with clear direction and any source material to pull inspiration from. But the results can be incredibly helpful for saving time or sparking new creative ideas!

Some tips when using Copilot as a creator:

  • Provide as much context as possible - don't assume Copilot will read your mind
  • Specify a clear call to action for what you want the AI to generate
  • Give examples of the tone and style you are looking for
  • Offer constructive feedback to improve Copilot's results over time
  • Always double check Copilot's work for accuracy before use

With practice, you can learn to tap into Copilot's creative side while still guiding it to stay on brief. Think of it as your own virtual writer, designer, and artist!

What are you most excited to see Copilot do next? We'd love to hear your vision for how this technology could evolve!

Privacy and Security Considerations with Copilot

Look, we don't want to be a downer here. Copilot is super cool! But as with any new technology, it's smart to keep in mind some potential downsides.

Mainly, there are legitimate privacy concerns around how much of your personal data Copilot can access. This includes:

  • Files and content on your local device
  • Browsing history and activity if you enable the Edge integration
  • Potentially conversations and information exchanged with Copilot

Microsoft does claim to be handling this access responsibly and following ethical AI principles. But it's something to be aware of.

Related to that is the issue of information security. As Copilot expands in functionality, it may end up managing sensitive info like passwords, emails, documents and more.

Some best practices We'd suggest:

  • Be selective in what content you allow Copilot to view
  • Turn off its access to Edge if not needed
  • Avoid sharing confidential data with the chatbot
  • Verify anything important that Copilot generates or stores
  • Use enterprise policies that IT provides to control Copilot

It's also key to remember Copilot is an AI system - it can make mistakes or have blindspots. So always double check its work for accuracy and sound judgement before relying on it for anything mission critical.

Look, we don't want to scare you away from this cool new tool! Just giving some friendly advice to use Copilot carefully and wisely. Have fun with your new AI buddy but be smart.

WATAFAQ

How do I get access to the preview version of Copilot for Windows 11?

Excellent question! You'll need update to the latest version or join Windows Insider program and install a preview build from the Dev channel. Check out Enabling Copilot in Windows 11 section of this guide for step-by-step instructions to get up and running.

What are the hardware requirements for running Copilot on my PC?

At minimum you'll need a PC that supports Windows 11 and has at least 4GB of RAM. An internet connection is required for Copilot to access cloud services. A microphone also comes in handy for voice commands. Otherwise, no fancy hardware needed!

Can I use Copilot offline or does it require an internet connection?

Good thought, but an internet connection is necessary for Copilot to tap into Bing and other web resources. Offline mode isn't possible yet. Maybe someday!

Is there a limit to how many questions I can ask Copilot in one session?

Unfortunately yes - there's currently a 30 query limit per Copilot session. But no worries, just hit the refresh button to reset it and get another 30 questions!

What kind of user data does Copilot have access to on my device?

Valid concern! Copilot can view your local files, browsing history if you enable Edge access, and usage data. Microsoft claims it handles this access securely, but it's worth being thoughtful about what you share.

Does Copilot work with non-Microsoft apps like Chrome and Slack?

At the moment, no. Copilot is limited to interacting with Windows 11 itself and Microsoft apps. Integration with third-party apps may come later on.

Can Copilot automate complex multi-step workflows for me?

To some extent, yes! Though very nuanced workflows may be beyond Copilot's current skills. Provide clear step-by-step instructions and examples to get the best results.

How accurate is Copilot at generating written content like emails and reports?

It's hit or miss - sometimes great, sometimes nonsensical! Always review Copilot's work thoroughly before relying on it. Be ready to refine and redo sections as needed.

What troubleshooting steps should I try if Copilot stops responding?

First, reboot your PC and check for any Windows updates. If issues continue, try adjusting Copilot's conversation mode or simplifying your queries. And feel free to contact Microsoft support!

How does Copilot compare to Alexa or Siri for assisting with digital tasks?

Copilot is far more advanced given its tight integration with Windows and Microsoft apps. But virtual assistants like Alexa may be better for quick voice commands based on web queries alone.

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