Windows Copilot is still dumb as a rock
Microsoft launched Windows Copilot with some fanfare alongside the Windows 11 2023 Update. Microsoft promised that the baked-in artificial intelligence would assist Windows users "in work, creation and play". Copilot is "designed to accelerate your tasks, reduce friction and save you time" according to Microsoft's announcement on the Windows Experience Blog.
One of Microsoft's promises was that Copilot would help users run tasks on Windows. Without that, Copilot would just be Bing Chat added as a sidebar to Windows.
Microsoft describes this functionality in the following way: "Whether you need help with summarizing a web page, composing an email to your daughter’s new teacher, changing your settings to dark mode or generating an image for that unique idea in your head, Copilot in Windows can assist you. Need to enable Bluetooth or connect a new pair of headphones? Copilot can help. Not sure of the best way to capture a screenshot? Ask Copilot to do it for you. Copilot in Windows can change the way you use your PC and inspire you to try new things that you may not have thought of before. It is where productivity and creativity meet."
First problem that users may run into is that there is no command reference. Microsoft listed some commands in the blog post, but no one knows what Windows Copilot can do and can't do on Windows specifically.
It is a trial and error approach. Asking Copilot to launch Notepad, for instance, results in an "I'm sorry" message. Copilot claims that it is a chat mode of Microsoft Bing and not an assistant. This alone is puzzling, as Microsoft described Windows Copilot on the blog as "the intelligent assistant at your fingertips".
Copilot needs time to process the user request, and it does so remotely on Microsoft servers. What is returned after seconds is a list of instructions on how to open Notepad on the system.
While these are useful, typing notepad in Start would have launched the text editor right away. Even things that Copilot is supposed to do, like enabling dark mode, is not really something that the AI
assistant does without flaws, or at all.
The simple "enable dark mode" request is met with a huge wall of text that explains how to enable Dark Mode on Windows. Copilot, however, doesn't enable dark mode automatically on the user's request.
It gets better. While trying to find the right command to get Copilot to switch to dark mode or at least display a button that does that, it suddenly suggested to enable Do Not Disturb on the system.
No matter the instruction, Windows Copilot always replied with a "can't do, I'm not an assistant" type of message.
Interestingly enough, when asked to turn on Do not disturb mode, Copilot did display a button to turn on the feature. It still took seconds before the request was processed on Microsoft servers.
My initial assessment of Windows Copilot was that there was not enough Windows in it to justify its integration in the operating system. Microsoft's main interest seems to be to push it to as many users as possible. One reason for that is advertising, which Windows users who interact with Copilot may see for some interactions already.
Windows Copilot is not a useful tool to manage Windows or get actionable help. It supports only a few commands and these commands aren't listed anywhere publicly. Heck, even Copilot refuses to return the full list of commands. Could be that the list is so small that Microsoft is embarrassed to reveal it.
Copilot could have been more. Assist users when it comes to Windows. Help users with troubleshooting tasks, run commands for users or at least point users in the right direction. Why can't Copilot open Settings page when users ask to make a change to them?
For now, Copilot is nothing more than what Bing Chat offers. There is virtually no reason for its integration in Windows from a user's point of view. It is a lucrative integration for Microsoft, on the other hand. It pushes usage and also advertisement.
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