While Copilot AI's usefulness among users remains debatable, Microsoft finds yet another home for the chatbot on Windows 11

Windows 11 Copilot
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft could soon integrate Copilot AI into its File Explorer's context menu on Windows 11.
  • It will help users generate quick summaries of the content found in the files selected.
  • The summarize feature isn't working because it is still under development.

Microsoft is fully betting on AI, and it's becoming more apparent that the company wants its users to leverage the technology across its products and services. Windows 11 is undoubtedly one of the leading beneficiaries of the AI wave, as is the case with the latest Windows 11 feature drop, which ships with more AI features for Copilot and much-needed changes to the Widgets board.

According to a report by Windows Latest, Microsoft Copilot could soon make its way to the File Explorer app on Windows 11. This doesn't seem to be a new development either. In January, longtime Microsoft watcher and Windows enthusiast PhantomOfEarth on X (formerly Twitter) also indicated that the tech giant was potentially planning on integrating its AI-powered assistant into the File Explorer after spotting a new velocity feature dubbed CopilotFEContextMenu in the Windows 11 Canary and Dev builds.

While not yet official, the new Copilot option in the File Explorer's context menu will help users generate quick summaries of documents. As shared by Windows Latest, the feature doesn't work as expected. This is usually the case when Microsoft is developing and testing a new feature, which explains why they are often behind code in Windows 11 builds.

When you click on a file in the File Explorer app on Windows 11 and select the Copilot option in the context menu, you'll be presented with the option to either  Send to Copilot or Summarize. The former option lets you send the entire file to the chatbot, where you can ask questions about the file, whereas the latter generates a quick summary of the file's contents. However, the option to summarize documents isn't available right now.

Will Copilot AI be the saving grace for Windows 11's flawed design?

File Explorer from Windows 11

(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

Even if you're not impressed by the AI hype and don't find Microsoft Copilot particularly useful, Microsoft is inventing new and "convenient" locations to place it. How many times have you mistakenly launched the service while trying to check your notifications on your Windows 11 PC? I'd say a million times, but who's counting?

We recently ran a poll on Windows Central, asking our audience whether or not they find Copilot AI useful. Interestingly, half of our polled readers indicated they don't use the service entirely. Microsoft is also testing a new way to launch the chatbot on Windows 11 — hovering their mouse cursor over the Copilot icon on the taskbar will launch the service like an AI genie.

Microsoft recently redesigned the legacy File Explorer app, adding a modern touch and appeal to the platform, including a modern interface for folders and the sidebar and changes to the address and search bar. While these changes are welcome and much-needed, third-party software like the Files app or even Stardock's Start11, which acts as the best alternative for the Start menu on Windows 11, is quickly gaining popularity among users.

The tech giant has seemingly thrown a deaf ear to the complaints and issues pointed out by concerned users regarding the Start menu and File Explorer's flawed design on Windows 11. It'll be interesting to see how users will welcome the integration of Copilot AI into the File Explorer app. 

Kevin Okemwa

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry at Windows Central. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. You'll also catch him occasionally contributing at iMore about Apple and AI. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.

  • naddy69
    "How many times have you mistakenly launched the (Copilot) service while trying to check your notifications on your Windows 11 PC? I'd say a million times, but who's counting?"

    Never. And I'm not counting. You do realize that can be turned off, right?