My biggest issue with Copilot+ isn't Windows Recall, it's that Microsoft is ignoring millions of Windows users

Microsoft announcing the Surface Pro 11th Edition.
Copilot+ is exclusive to a small user base, and I think that's a mistake. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Copilot+ PCs are a big deal for Microsoft, Windows and the manufacturers that are making them. By all accounts, the Snapdragon X Elite chip powering most of the new breed is astonishingly good, and on the whole the members of our team that have begun testing them are impressed. 

But the hardware is only part of the equation, and Copilot+ has had its fair share of bad headlines since it was announced. Perhaps deserving, but nevertheless, Windows Recall isn't my own beef with it. It's how Microsoft has seen fit to handle its rollout. 

Copilot+ is all software, albeit with a hardware requirement. But I have here a laptop with a Ryzen 9 CPU and an NVIDIA RTX 4090 dedicated GPU inside that can easily run Copilot+, and yet it can't. It can't because of a conscious decision by Microsoft to keep one of the biggest advancements in Windows 11 exclusive to those who decide to drop at least $1,000 on a new laptop. 

And that stinks. 

NVIDIA will be getting Copilot+, but we have no idea when

NVIDIA-powered laptops will get Copilot+ but there's absolutely no confirmation exactly when.  (Image credit: NVIDIA)

NVIDIA has already announced that its RTX GPUs will be able to power Copilot+ and also that new laptops supporting the feature will be coming. The problem is that we don't know when this will happen, and if it happens at all in 2024, it'll be a surprise. All we do know is it'll be a free update "when available."

There have been rumors of a Microsoft exclusivity agreement with Qualcomm ending this year around ARM chips in laptops, backed by further rumors that NVIDIA is looking itself to get into the ARM game post-2024. The skeptical brain in my head would say this agreement is also going to cover Copilot+, which would suggest Microsoft chose to line its pockets over servicing millions of existing Windows users. 

This is all speculation, of course, but there has to be a reason why existing, more than capable hardware is being locked out of Copilot+. Let's face it, money talks, so it's not hard to believe it could be behind this decision. It doesn't make it any better, though. 

NVIDIA RTX GPUs will CRUSH current NPUs for AI

Qualcomm's NPU is impressive, but it can't compete for raw power with an RTX GPU.  (Image credit: Qualcomm)

The other baffling part of this to me is that existing laptops with NVIDIA 40 series GPUs inside have capabilities for AI far beyond the NPUs currently being deployed by Qualcomm. Copilot+ demands a minimum of 40 TOPS to operate locally. The RTX 4050, the bottom rung of the ladder, boasts up to 194 TOPS, while the RTX 4090 that I have goes up to a staggering 686 TOPS. Both of these are multiples more powerful than the 40 TOPS requirement for Copilot+ and, importantly, already in the hands of millions of Windows users worldwide. 

NVIDIA has risen to the lofty heights of claiming the title of the world's most valuable company, in part thanks to the AI boom. The company's ceiling is sky-high as all around the globe, businesses of all sizes scramble to get in on the action. NVIDIA itself has been building out its own AI software portfolio for some time, utilizing its hardware in apps such as NVIDIA Broadcast, and the more recent developments, RTX Chat and RTX Video. 

Copilot+ is clearly a big deal, and equally clearly a huge part of the future of Windows. Yet only a small subset of Windows 11 users can even try it right now. By the time this free update comes out, will anyone using an NVIDIA, Intel or AMD PC compatible with the feature remember what it is? Or even care? 

Mass adoption over marketing

The new Surface Pro 11 is one of a small batch of Windows 11 laptops that has access to Copilot+. (Image credit: Windows Central)

I firmly believe that mass adoption of Copilot+ immediately should have been a priority over any kind of deal or carefully crafted marketing campaign. And let's face it, with the Windows Recall debacle, the marketing has already fallen on its face. There's too much negative buzz over what should be a monumental shift in how we use our PCs, and it's unlikely to dissipate when the overwhelming majority can't even use it for themselves. 

The way to get people behind Copilot+ is simply to get them using it first-hand. We're going to do our absolute best to cover Copilot+ developments through the rest of 2024 and beyond, but it's already difficult. And this is what we do. The only members of the Windows Central team even able to contribute to our Copilot+ knowledge base right now are those who have been sent Snapdragon X Elite review units from the various manufacturers. 

I want Copilot+ to succeed. AI is an exciting development in technology, and I'm already using it plenty. But I'm also a firm believer in putting your best foot forward. The best foot here would have been to reveal it and get it into as many hands as possible, and that's not happening. It's hard to generate excitement for a feature nobody can use, and it's even harder to have any control over the narrative when nobody can see the product for themselves. 

It won't happen, but I beg of you Microsoft, get Copilot+ out to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. 

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at

  • Ron-F
    Seems like the desire to move to ARM suppressed Microsoft’s moto of empower its customers.
  • Jeffery L
    GPUs have to be coded using OpenCL or CUDA (NVIDIA only) for compute type of operations. I'm assuming the NPU based code needs to be ported to a GPU supported language. This will take time.
  • bradavon
    Most of CoPilot+ is gimmicks. Recall on paper looked useful but otherwise I can't say I care.

    With CoPilot+ PCs the draw is ARM, not gimmicky AI.
  • The Werewolf
    My biggest issue with Copilot+ isn't Windows Recall, it's that Microsoft is ignoring millions of Windows users

    I'm ok with that since I'm one of the ones "left behind". :)

    In any case, this is the new Microsoft trend.

    I mean Win 10 ran on anything. It even installed fine on an old IBM ThinkPad 240 from 2003.

    Win 11 brought seemingly arbitrary restrictions that even left out its own hardware. A lot of people got nailed on that one - it's why Win 11 adoption is still barely 27% two years after its initial release.

    Win11 + Copilot+ adds even more restrictions and is ARM only - which is bizarre since Microsoft has tried Windows on ARM before and it failed badly, and worse kind of dissed all the people who bought Intel Ultra series CPU based devices only to find that even though it has an NPU, it's 1/4 the horsepower needed.

    Add to that Microsoft growing trend of forcing features like Windows Backup on users and turning it on by default in order to try and game you into buying more storage... and ignoring user complaints when they arbitrarily remove features like pinning the taskbar to the sides.


    Maybe being left behind is a blessing here.
  • Kaymd
    bradavon said:
    Most of CoPilot+ is gimmicks. Recall on paper looked useful but otherwise I can't say I care.

    With CoPilot+ PCs the draw is ARM, not gimmicky AI.
    The problem is that Microsoft is quite aware that ARM based efficient machines are by themselves not nearly enough reason to move the vast majority of customers to upgrade or even switch from traditional x86 machines.

    The reason is that although the most recent Intel core ultra machines or AMD equivalents are not as efficient as their ARM counterparts, they are still very good machines, more than enough for your typical user. Under regular use, they actually run very cool and quiet. Most users are not benchmarking Geekbench or Cinebench 24/7. They are just using Office, email, some specialized software like Photoshop or Visual studio and the web in general. And most users really do not need the so-called 'all day' battery life. How many people actually use their machines for >8 hrs everyday without a power outlet nearby?

    This is the real reason Microsoft is artificially limiting these software features to the so-called Copilot+ PCs. Something you can't get on ANY other existing machine on the market, no matter how powerful it is. Even if it's a desktop with 'unlimited' power.

    I won't be surprised if even the current Intel core ultra machines on the market can run Windows Recall very well. But Microsoft, Intel, AMD, Qualcomm all want us to 'upgrade' anyway, just to access these AI software features.
  • TechFreak1
    Nvidia is already in the ARM 'Game' with Tegra but it's nowhere near as capable yet in the desktop space. AMD is also is working on ARM SOCs. The only corp missing in action in this space is Intel and given their sheer laziness in innovating (which allowed Zen to slap them silly and out of their greedy complacency) they will miss the boat on this as well.

    Back to co-pilot, It's probably released to a limited number because it has a major design flaw. Data is stored unencrypted when the laptop is being used. It may have been done for performance reasons but it does leave a major risk if a zero day exploit is able to obtain this data.

    Given may regions have fibre connections of 1 gigabit simultaneous (download and upload), syphoning data wouldn't take too long. Albeit it would leave a massive dump of a log in terms of packets but the average user who uses ISP routers with the pre-defined password won't know that.

    If Microsoft gets their fingers out of their ears and allows data to be encrypted when stored when the device is in use, they can leverage the GPUs to run decryption cycles although that would decrease battery life somewhat. But given laptops already come with embedded GPUs, they can use these to run decryption cycles and use the NPU for processing.
  • taynjack
    Microsoft putting profits over customer experience?? Gee we've never seen this before.
  • FraJa
    I read a lot of false, or bad faith, or maybe uniformed opinions.

    Recall ca also run on PCs with GPU, the model is not specific to ARM, and there have been quite a few signs in the telemetry viewer about AI features on x64 PCs. Also, their finger are not involved.. They have the onnx format which is designed to run everywhere... It seems indeed they are pushing for the ARM platform...

    Look at all the years since Nadella is CIO... Microsoft has plenty of new products that sells well, because they are good... putting profit over user experience... once again, it is a big company, but is also note 1999 Microsoft by far... they are very involved in open source, with no agenda, those communities are nice... also many C-levels are now mostly good, or even famous engineers, this is also interesting as this is clearly a choice... not perfect either, but from all the GAFAM, especially the fruit one whish is acting every day more dishonest and more obsessed by money than ever... They have like 10 highly overpriced products, most of them have better alternatives... they are not likable at all. Are really conservative (they are supposed to innovate but when do they do that ??) Hopefully, many people also realized that anything they say must be interpreted as most of it is exaggerated, etc...
    By far, also, telemetry is not spying... why do people believe in such poorly informed/paranoid statements... you can deactivate it, or look at what's going on, this is interesting, but they aren't spying anyone, this isn't what telemetry is, at all. Then, telemetry is is in ios, macos, there are many places where they mention it. It's everywhere else, Ubuntu, apps, it's a neat way to acquire information ovver perf etc. and optimize complex systems (or as I have the Canary build, they sometimes do experiments, like testing some AI component perfs etc. nothing of this is hidden or not clearly explained on MS website, in Windows... Copilot does not spy either... And it seems indeed, and that's strange, given the amount of cybersecurity tools they have created... (they are Garner Leader in cybersecurity and various data related topics...) that the encryption has such issues it's a bit disappointing but once again, files are local, this is not spying... The feature makes sense, I believe one way AI can help with PCs first then in general is at being your "always on assistant" and help for some tasks. Not spying... so it's a start...

    In some typical Intel twist they have finally a SOC that has up to 16 hours of battery life and powerful... So this is interesting. When desktops SOCs and a nvidia GPU they will indeed crush many things.. the Xeon are already equipped with AI accelerators, there are amazing servers those days...