Replacing the Win button on the keyboard with a button for AI Copilot is not required for official Microsoft certification
Microsoft has confirmed that replacing one of the Win buttons on keyboards with a button to launch the Copilot AI assistant for device manufacturers is not required for official certification to work with Windows 11.
“The location of the Copilot key varies by manufacturer, but it’s usually to the right of the space bar across from the Wn key. In some cases, the key replaces the right Ctrl key, some larger keys have space for both the right Ctrl key and the Copilot key, and in other cases the Copilot key is combined with the Menu key (the Menu key is accessed by Fn + Copilot keys)”, – clarified Microsoft.
Microsoft has confirmed that the new Copilot key is optional and therefore will not be part of device certification for new Windows 11 gadgets, at least for the time being. Industry experts believe that the new Copilot key may occupy a new place on the keyboard on PCs and laptops, but users will still have the option to opt out of this option.
A new button in the form of an element of thick and thin bars with a shape like a Mobius strip is 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.
On January 4, 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. 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.
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.
On January 8, 2024, Acer introduced the Aspire Go and Swift Go laptops with a new button to launch the Copilot AI assistant on the keyboard.
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.