As a part of the Microsoft 365 suite of business tools, the Redmond-based company has just introduced a new AI tool called Windows Copilot. This is a chatbot that combines the software from ChatGPT with Microsoft Bing and Windows 11. The latest leak notes that Copilot will also be able to set up your desktop layout, as well as do things like play music and tweak your settings. The public test should be available this June in the Windows Insider program.
One of the most notable changes to the Start menu in Windows 11 is that it’s now a compact rectangular thing in the taskbar, uprooted from its decades-long home and slid over toward the center. The row of pinned apps that were typically nestled next to it have been reduced to a single app icon and a button that opens a compact menu when you click on it. This is a welcome simplification that makes the taskbar look less cluttered and more usable.
Other elements of the taskbar have been rejiggered as well, in particular the way you access and interact with the system settings. The long context menus that used to appear when you right-clicked on the taskbar are now a shorter menu of options, while some of those options have been combined into others, and there’s now a search box where you can quickly find what you need.
Aside from that, the Start menu and pinned apps have been moved around a bit and there’s a new feature called Snap groups that lets you arrange open windows on the display into pre-configured layouts that you can then easily access when you re-dock your laptop or switch to another screen. You can then save the layouts, which will be remembered on future boot-ups. This is a nice feature that helps you be more productive by giving you the ability to easily move back and forth between tasks without having to think about it, and it’s a bit similar to the way Spaces works on macOS.
There’s also a troubleshooter in Copilot, which will help users with PC issues by automatically analyzing the status of their hardware and software. If it detects that your system is having problems, it can recommend a fix and take action to correct the problem, as well as notify you of the issue and ask you for permission before making any changes to your device.
There’s a lot more to see in the leaked video, including the ability to launch installed applications through Copilot and the option to configure several OS settings on the fly. Windows Latest points out that the troubleshooter will also be able to kill services and launch processes, which is an indication that the chatbot might soon have the ability to do much more. It’s not clear when exactly this will roll out to consumers, but it’s worth keeping an eye on for if you want to get a better sense of how deep Microsoft is cooking its GPT model into the OS.