Microsoft Copilot, which half of our polled readers never use, might start to relentlessly appear like an AI genie in Windows 11 if you so much as tickle the taskbar icon

Windows 11 Copilot Menu
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is testing a new way to launch Copilot AI on Windows 11.
  • In Windows 11, users might be able to launch the chatbot by hovering their mouse cursor over the Copilot icon on the Taskbar.
  • The hovering experience is exclusively available to Windows Insiders in the beta channel.
  • We asked our readers how often they interact with Microsoft Copilot on Windows 11, and the results are finally out.

If the past year is anything to go by, Microsoft is all in on the AI hype. There's a Copilot for most of its products and services, and there are no signs of the company slowing down any time soon. Maybe we'll have a Copilot for Copilot soon. 

The integration of Copilot AI into the Windows operating system and Microsoft Edge has been received with mixed feelings. Microsoft has been mixing things up by "conveniently" placing the AI chatbot's icon in easily accessible areas within the operating system, like on the taskbar next to the system tray. I know I'm not the only one who's mistakenly launched Microsoft Copilot while trying to check my notifications.

READ MORE: 3 reasons why AIs like Microsoft Copilot and ChatGPT will only get worse

And now, Microsoft is testing a new way to launch the chatbot on Windows 11. The new "hover experience" is limited to Windows Insiders in the Beta Channel. This new experience simplifies the process of launching Copilot on Windows 11.

According to Microsoft:

"We are trying out a new hover experience for Copilot in Windows. When you move your mouse cursor over the Copilot icon on the taskbar, it will open the Copilot pane. The Copilot pane will close unless interacted with after it opens. This will begin rolling out slowly over the next few weeks to Windows Insiders in the Beta Channel."

It's like the Widget panel but more annoying

Windows 11 Widgets Moment 3

(Image credit: Future)

Based on Microsoft's explanation, the new hovering experience is reminiscent of how the Widget panel works on Windows 11. Microsoft already has a keyboard shortcut that lets users launch Copilot instantly (Windows key + C).

See more

Copilot seems like a flop among most Windows users

Copilot Pro on Windows

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft is finding more ways for users to quickly launch Copilot in Windows, though its user base isn't quite as impressive. We asked our readers how useful and frequent they interact with Microsoft Copilot, and below are the results from the poll:

  • 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%

Based on the results highlighted above, it's apparent that most users based on the survey either don't use the AI chatbot entirely or, if they do, on rare occasions. This is quite interesting. Microsoft has shifted its focus to AI and its advances and has practically integrated the technology across most of its products and services. 

RELATED: Why Microsoft won't be the company to mainstream AI

It's worth noting that this new experience is still in preview. Microsoft might decide to ship it to broad availability or not based on several factors. Not everyone is super hyped about AI and its integration across systems. The tech giant could face backlash for pushing this change to general availability.

RELATED: Microsoft's Windows 11 Moment 5 feature update is live

Microsoft's decision to move the date/time button on the Taskbar in Windows 11 is already unpopular among users. I wonder how users will receive the new hovering experience for Copilot if/when it ships to broad availability.

Kevin Okemwa
Contributor

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry. 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. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.

  • naddy69
    "Copilot in Windows might launch like an unwanted pop-up ad."

    Copilot IS an unwanted pop-up ad. I have it all turned off. There is no icon on my task bar. There is no side bar on the right side of Edge.

    Microsoft has been weirdly giddy about "assistants" since Clippy. I really wonder who at MS is pushing this junk. Again.
    Reply
  • Laura Knotek
    If Microsoft forces this AI stuff on us, then the first thing I'll look for is a registry hack to disable it.
    Reply
  • Gregorius Magnus
    You immediately know there is something wrong when the Windows Shell needs to be adjusted because of a feature. Copilot should never become right-most instead of the Notification Center or any other OS function. I really don't know why Level 2 managers take design decisions at Microsoft. I can always picture myself the meeting on which this idea was brought up and immediately agreed on by 2 minutes of silence.
    Reply
  • bazanime
    I've been using it more lately, even used it in Paint, which was very interesting.

    I'll keep rocking with it and see what it offers for my use case.
    Reply
  • GraniteStateColin
    From other comments here complaining, I can see people have not used it. I don't see any typical user finding it other than useful. I can understand users having no neeed for it, which is fine -- putting it into Start doesn't hurt them at all (just replaces the current dumb search). At its most basic, it's a hugely improved search method. If you're just searching for a single webpage, it doesn't add much value (but it's easier to use than Google or Bing because you can be more natural language with your search). But if you're asking a question that requires or benefits from information at more than one site, or you want to create something for work (images, text), then it's singularly fantastic.

    Even before copilot, the fastest way to search for anything on the Internet has been to hit Start and just type the search term. Boom, results appear in Start, or select one to open in a browser. Replacing that with Co-pilot is the logical next step. I don't see that having ANY downside over how Windows currently works -- Start already does Internet search, but without the added intelligence of Co-Pilot. Swapping that to Co-Pilot is 100% pure improvement.
    Reply
  • GraniteStateColin
    Gregorius Magnus said:
    You immediately know there is something wrong when the Windows Shell needs to be adjusted because of a feature. Copilot should never become right-most instead of the Notification Center or any other OS function. I really don't know why Level 2 managers take design decisions at Microsoft. I can always picture myself the meeting on which this idea was brought up and immediately agreed on by 2 minutes of silence.

    Yeah, current location is weird. I don't really use it there, but I would if it were part of Start. Sounds like their plan to just embed it in Start is the right one. Just replace the current search box with the AI-boosted search of Co-Pilot.
    Reply
  • GraniteStateColin
    Laura Knotek said:
    If Microsoft forces this AI stuff on us, then the first thing I'll look for is a registry hack to disable it.

    Why? Start already includes Search as the default action when you click on it or hit the Start key and start typing. But that's a dumb search Co-Pilot is just an enhancement on that. I don't see any downside at all to upgrading current search to Co-Pilot. It's replacing a dumb search with a smart search with added capabilities. Why isn't that a pure win?
    Reply
  • Laura Knotek
    GraniteStateColin said:
    Why? Start already includes Search as the default action when you click on it or hit the Start key and start typing. But that's a dumb search Co-Pilot is just an enhancement on that. I don't see any downside at all to upgrading current search to Co-Pilot. It's replacing a dumb search with a smart search with added capabilities. Why isn't that a pure win?
    I never use the search on start. My search is via Chrome browser.

    For someone who doesn't use Edge, both start search and Copilot are useless annoyances.
    Reply
  • naddy69
    "Why? Start already includes Search as the default action when you click on it or hit the Start key and start typing."

    I have not used the Start Menu in 20 years. To me it looks like a big, ugly mess and I don't have the time nor desire to wade through it every time I want to start some app. The search box in the taskbar is the first thing I remove. If I am doing an internet search I go to Yahoo or Wikipedia. I don't do local searches for apps or files.
    Reply
  • GraniteStateColin
    Laura Knotek said:
    I never use the search on start. My search is via Chrome browser.

    For someone who doesn't use Edge, both start search and Copilot are useless annoyances.

    OK, and no debate that you should remain free to use the system how you want, but it seems only fair to acknowledge that you are choosing to go through extra steps (launching a browser just to perform search -- that like launching a launcher every time you want to start an app) and then blaming the OS for providing you with a simpler solution just because you don't use it.
    Reply