Microsoft has announced the replacement of one of the Win buttons on all new keyboards with a button to launch the Copilot AI assistant
On January 4, 2024, Microsoft announced the future replacement of one of the Windows buttons on all new computer keyboards with a button to launch the Copilot AI assistant. A new button in the form of an element of thick and thin bars with a Mobius strip-like shape will be located next to the right Alt key.
Using the Copilot key, Windows 11 users will be able to interact with programs and services of the operating system. It is also assumed that the AI assistant will be able to answer user questions in much the same way that ChatGPT does.
Microsoft’s statement explains that this is the first time in about 30 years that a new button will appear on a computer keyboard. It is noteworthy that the company is a little sneaky here. Indeed, in the modern set of keys for full-size computer keyboards, the Win key appeared in 1994. But after 25 years, Microsoft added two new special keys in its updated models of the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard and Bluetooth Keyboard: the Office button for quickly calling up a suite of office programs, and Emoji for selecting and inserting emojis. But such keyboards did not become widespread.
The first desktop computer keyboards and laptops with the new button are expected to be introduced in January of this year. Microsoft clarified that the Copilot key will in some cases replace the “Menu” button or the right Ctrl, and larger keyboards may have enough space for both the Copilot button and the standard right Control.
Moreover, judging by the description of the technical characteristics of the new keyboards, the Copilot key will not work in Windows 8.1/7, it will be available for Windows 10 if this option is installed in the OS. Systems running Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions will not participate in the Copilot deployment.
If the Copilot option is not available to the user, pressing the Copilot key will launch Windows Search. It is currently unknown whether the Copilot key can be used in combination with other keys in the same way as the Windows key.
It was previously reported that Microsoft plans to implement Copilot in Windows 10 in order to increase the number of users of the AI tool and present it favorably to developers. The company also expects that they will more actively create plugins for Copilot if the AI assistant is available on 1.4 billion devices compared to 400 million with Windows 11.
In November 2023, Microsoft explained why users need Copilot in Windows 11 and 10, even if they don’t. The company said this after users on the Web began to discuss instructions on how to properly disable Windows Copilot after installing the Windows 11 update.
Microsoft hasn’t changed the standard layout since the release of the Microsoft Natural keyboard in 1994. Now, most keyboards that have a 104/105-key layout include two dedicated Win keys and an additional context menu key.
At the moment, if the keyboard is missing at least one Win button and a context menu key, its manufacturer cannot officially certify this device for use with the Windows OS.