Copilot-key: not mandatory and no fixed placement

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 13, 2024
Windows 11 News

When it comes to recent announcements regarding AI by Microsoft, none discussed as controversially here on Ghacks as the announcement of the dedicated Copilot key.

The Copilot key is a new key on hardware keyboards that triggers the Copilot AI when pressed. Part of the criticism came from the position of the Copilot key on the keyboard.

Microsoft showed it on the left side of the cursor keys on a keyboard of a mobile device. It was placed in the position of the right Ctrl key, which was removed from the layout as a consequence. This was bad especially for users who use the right Ctrl-key on their devices.

Martin Geuß over at Dr. Windows asked Microsoft about the Copilot key. The answer sheds some light on the key.

Microsoft reveals the following in its answer:

  • Manufacturers are free to choose the location of the Copilot-key on the keyboard. Most will aim for a location on the right of the Spacebar on the keyboard.
  • In some cases, Copilot's key may replace existing keys. This can be right-Ctrl or the Menu-key, that is available on some keyboards.
  • On large keyboards, Copilot-key may be added without removing any other key from it.
  • In some instances, Copilot may share a key with Menu. Menu would then be triggered using the Function key (Fn) on the keyboard.

Here is a full translation of Microsoft's answer from German:

"The placement of the Copilot key varies depending on the manufacturer, but it is generally located on the right side of the space bar opposite the WIN key. In some cases the key replaces the right-hand CTRL key, on some larger keyboards there is space for both the right-hand CTRL key and the Copilot key and in other cases the Copilot key is combined with the "Menu" key (the menu key is called up secondarily with the Fn + Copilot key)."

In other words: not all upcoming Windows devices and keyboards will feature the Copilot-key. The key may replace existing keys on some, but not on all, and there is no Microsoft specification for its placement on the keyboard.

Pressing the Copilot key opens its interface. Users who disable Copilot will trigger Windows Search instead according to Geuß. The same is true for regions in which Copilot is not available.

Microsoft is testing a change in the most recent Insider build that launches Copilot's interface automatically on widescreen setups.

Now You: do you use Copilot or another AI currently?

Copilot-key: not mandatory and no fixed placement
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Copilot-key: not mandatory and no fixed placement
The upcoming Copilot key of Windows devices is not mandatory according to Microsoft. Manufacturers are also free in choosing a location for it on the keyboard.
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  1. Fred said on January 15, 2024 at 4:54 am

    How easy will it be to re-map the wretched useless key? For example, back to Right Ctrl or Menu?
    * In particular, will AutoHotkey be able to deal with it?
    * An added physical key would be a huge pest, and make Alt+ Arrow trickier with one hand.
    * If they add it between Ctrl and Left Arrow, the four fingers I use with Ctrl+ Arrows are all mucked up.

    Totally agree with @Iain above — a shortcut key is not needed if you can use Ctrl+C. Microsoft seems to have lost all contact with the reality of producing stuff on the PC, and keeps adding irritating gimmicks that interfere with people’s work. In the distant past, they were so focused on speed and fluency.

    Pity you can’t remove a physical key with the Local Group Policy Editor! I’ll try the Registry.

  2. GatesFoundation said on January 15, 2024 at 12:28 am

    Therefore, Dell was the only fool that included it on its keyboards. The XPS laptop line is now completely useless crap. A useless keyboard, only two usb-c ports, everything is soldered on to the motherboard, and no headphone jack. They must start again from scratch and restore its usability.

  3. John G. said on January 14, 2024 at 6:36 pm

    OMG, what’s next? A key to switch off telemetry? ;D

  4. John said on January 14, 2024 at 12:13 am

    I don’t see a need for a special key for Co-Pilot.

  5. Seeprime said on January 13, 2024 at 3:25 pm

    I’ve demonstrated Copilot to dozens of our computer shops customers. Not a single one was impressed. Several saw it as useless, with incomplete or completely wrong information provided. It has it’s place. But, it’s not good enough to shove down everyone’s throats.

  6. Iain said on January 13, 2024 at 1:26 pm

    I like copilot, but a shortcut key is not needed if you can use Ctrl+C.

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