Microsoft Copilot could take away this Windows 11 feature as the tech giant desperately pushes AI

Copilot Pro on Windows
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft began testing a new way to open Copilot on Windows 11 late last year.
  • Swiping from the right on a screen now summons Copilot rather than opening the notifications tray.
  • The behavior entered testing with Insiders in December 2023 and is rolling out to Windows 11 version 23H2.

Microsoft is testing yet another way to open Copilot on Windows 11. Recent Insider builds of the operating system let you summon Copilot by swiping in from the right. That gesture used to open the notifications tray, but Microsoft is trying a new behavior for it.

"We are trying out a change where when swiping from the right edge of the desktop on a touch display will open Copilot instead of notifications," explained Microsoft in its blog post about Windows 11 Build 23601. That update shipped to the Dev Channel on December 7, 2023. Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc clarified that the behavior is also rolling out to Windows 11 version 23H2.

Copilot opening following a gesture became a hot topic online after our Senior Editor Zac Bowden shared a video of the behavior. 

Many criticized the change on X. "This obsession to squeeze in AI stuff is getting unbearable on practically all platforms. I'm certainly not questioning AI itself, but I dislike when products are bent into directions I don't want. Maybe the make it configurable some day," said Thomas Künneth.

More ways to use Copilot

Microsoft Copilot

Microsoft is testing the option to swipe in from the right to summon Copilot. (Image credit: Windows Central | Jez Corden)

Microsoft is clearly eager to get people to use Copilot on Windows. The tech giant continues to roll out new ways to summon the AI-powered tool, even though it's in preview. Copilot now lives in the Taskbar, can be brought up with a keyboard shortcut, and can be opened with the Copilot key on new PCs. Microsoft is also testing swiping in from the left to use Copilot, as discussed above. Hovering over the Copilot icon in the Taskbar to open the tool is also being tested at the moment.

Usually, I'm in the camp of "more options are always better," but Microsoft comes off as desperate with Copilot. The tool is already accessible on Windows and in Microsoft Edge. Heck, it's halfway to taking over the Edge Sidebar as it is and is now replacing gestures that show notifications (albeit in testing). How many shortcuts does Microsoft need to push Copilot? Surely if the tool is worthwhile, people will just use it.

In a recent poll about Copilot, more than half of participants said they don't use Copilot at all, stating:

  • I never use Copilot on Windows 11 - 54.6%
  • I use Copilot occasionally but less frequently than daily - 16.79%
  • I use Copilot daily - 13.49%
  • I rarely use Copilot but I have used it to some extent - 13.11%

I know some people dislike AI for a variety of reasons, such as it being used to write books accused of plagiarism. But I think another group of people are fine with AI as a general concept and just dislike when Microsoft is pushy about it. We've seen similar pushback when Microsoft started showing prompts for Xbox Game Pass when installing Windows 11. A recent viral video discussing how to fix Microsoft discussed the company being pushy with its services.

I hope Microsoft keeps the option to open notifications with a swipe on Windows 11. If the company must add another shortcut to Copilot, the folks at Microsoft should make it optional. I know plenty of people who would be happy if they never used Copilot or saw it on their PC. I wonder if Microsoft is aware of those users.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at

  • GraniteStateColin
    As an information tool, I think Co-Pilot is awesome. It's VASTLY BETTER than any search engine. You can ask a question and get an answer to the question, not a bunch of links to pages that may or may not answer it. That's pure awesome and absolutely game changing for information searching on the Internet.

    However, gestures should be intuitive for quick actions (i.e., a swipe yields instant results), where the gesture relates to the related action and should not then require further action to make the gesture have been relevant. The notifications have always appeared in the lower right of the screen (long before there was a formal notification panel), so swiping from the right to get at them makes some intuitive sense. I don't see the connection to Co-Pilot where even after swiping from the right, you then need to either type or press the microphone icon and talk to the PC, which then pauses to formulate a response. If it takes several seconds to complete the activity, then you don't need to waste one of 4 possible edge swipe gestures to perform it.

    Just make the existing Search box Co-Pilot controlled. This would simplify the UI (1 search/info box instead of 2), leverage existing user behavior (which would increase usage by steering all Windows-based searches through it), and use the existing Start button as a way to get there (currently hitting Start also lets you start typing in the Search box).

    Oh, and the existing Search box ALREADY DOES THIS, along with providing file or application results on the PC if the search criteria would match with a document or app. I don't understand at all what the benefit would even be to adding a separate Co-Pilot panel when we already have this through Start/Search.
  • naddy69
    "Microsoft is getting desperate with its push to use Copilot."

    Getting desperate? They have BEEN desperate for the last year, pushing this stuff. Fortunately it is easy to disable all of it.
  • Sean Endicott
    naddy69 said:
    "Microsoft is getting desperate with its push to use Copilot."

    Getting desperate? They have BEEN desperate for the last year, pushing this stuff. Fortunately it is easy to disable all of it.
    That's fair. I suppose I could have said that Microsoft now comes off as even more desperate than before.
  • The Werewolf
    For me, genLLM is great for tidying up text and cleaning up grammatical errors, or for generating template material that has no specific style, but as a source of truth (ie: "What were the Paris accords about?"), it is VERY dangerous to use because it has no real intelligence - rather it's just aggregating existing information and cannot discriminate between probably factual and probably fictional.

    I worked on systems like this in 1990s (yes, it's really not a new thing, sorry) and yeah, we were surprised at how well it could synthesise natural output, but also that it was equally good at generating contextually meaningful output as it was at generating utter gibberish.

    In the end, I've found that it just gets in the way and can lull you into a false sense of security exactly because what it generates can feel so natural and correct.

    Basically, we created the world's best con artists.

    Like others here, I have no problem with it being on my system - but I have a big problem with it being forced on me against my will with no way to switch it off.

    Case in point, as I type this, Edge is constantly predicting what I'm going to type next and show it on the screen. 90% of the time, it's wrong and I've learned to ignore it. But sometimes it interferes with the text edit box on some websites (Twitter being a notable case) and it makes chunks of what I've typed vanish - endings of words most often, but sometimes it just goes nuts and starts type backwards or just types gibberish.

    And I can't turn it off.