Since the unveiling of Copilot, Microsoft has been betting big on artificial intelligence and generative AI at all levels of the enterprise, from servers and Azure to personal Windows PCs. Microsoft then decided to encourage people to use it more and more, and asked Windows OEMs to modify their keyboard layout to include a key dedicated to their Copilot AI service. Replacing the Menu key (or equivalent) on Windows 11 laptop keyboards, the reused key will instead provide direct access to Copilot, launching Microsoft’s AI hub application on the system. The main function of this new keyboard key will be to activate the Copilot generative AI wizard in Windows 11, provided that Copilot is installed on the system and connected to a Microsoft account. Otherwise, on PCs without access to Copilot, the key will open Windows Search by default, largely replacing the existing functionality of the Windows menu key today.
This strategic decision also reflects the importance Microsoft attaches to their Copilot assistant, aiming to make it as accessible as possible to the end user.
Above is an example of the new Copilot button on a Dell XPS 14 (2024) presented at CES 2024.