Windows 11: Microsoft replaces Show Desktop with Copilot on taskbar

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 15, 2024
Windows 11 Help

Microsoft has changed the position of the Copilot icon on Windows 11's taskbar in the latest stable version of the operating system. Previous versions of the operating system show the Copilot icon as the third-icon on the centered part of the taskbar. It is located just next to the Start Menu button and Search. The February 2024 Windows Security Update changes that.

The Copilot icon is not the only option to launch the AI tool on Windows. Even without any icon displayed, Windows users may use the shortcut Windows-C to launch the interface.

The new position of the Copilot icon on the taskbar is on the far right of the taskbar. It replaces the decade-old invisible Show Desktop icon by default.

Windows Copilot Taskbar Icon

Microsoft confirmed the change on its support website: "New! The Copilot in Windows icon now appears on the right side of the system tray on the taskbar. Also, the display of Show desktop at the rightmost corner of the taskbar will be off by default. To turn it back on, go to Settings > Personalization > Taskbar. You can also right-click the taskbar and choose Taskbar settings."

The company announced the change back in November 2023, but has not

Windows users could click on the rightmost location of the taskbar on Windows 10 or 11 devices to hide all open program windows. This feature has a mapped shortcut as well. Press Windows-D to hide or show the open program windows.

The Show Desktop option is still available after installation of the February 2024 update, but its taskbar icon is not enabled by default. Windows 11 users may restore the icon, if they want to use it.

The following guide explains how that is done.

How to restore Show Desktop on Windows 11's taskbar

Windows 11 users have one option to restore the icon on the taskbar of the operating system. Microsoft implemented a new option that restores the Show Desktop functionality.

Here is how that you reactive it:

Step 1: Open the Taskbar Preferences

Open the taskbar settings

Right-click on a blank space on the Windows 11 taskbar and select Taskbar settings from the context menu that opens. You may also get there in the following way:

  1. Right-click on a blank spot on the desktop and select Personalize. This opens the main Personalize category of the Settings app.
  2. Select Taskbar to open the Taskbar preferences.

Step 2: Enable the Show Desktop icon

Enable Show Desktop on Windows 11

Expand the Taskbar behaviors section on the main Taskbar preferences page in the Settings. Locate the option "Select the far corner of the taskbar to show the desktop" and enable it with a click in its checkbox.

Windows adds the invisible area to the taskbar again, so that you may click on it to show the desktop.

Things to note

Microsoft rolls out the new location for the Copilot icon and the removal of the Show Desktop icon to all devices over time. It may take days, weeks or even months before the majority of users see the new location and realize the change in functionality.

Disabling Windows Copilot does not restore the Show Desktop functionality. It is necessary to enable the option in the Settings, as described above, to restore it.

Closing Words

Microsoft does not explain why it decided to move the Copilot icon to the rightmost location on the Windows taskbar. One possible explanation is that the new location moves it closer to the Copilot interface. A click on the Copilot icon opens its interface on the right side of the screen. The new button location places it right there.

Now You: do you use Show Desktop on Windows?

Windows 11: Microsoft replaces Show Desktop with Copilot on taskbar
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Windows 11: Microsoft replaces Show Desktop with Copilot on taskbar
Microsoft has changed the position of the Copilot icon on Windows 11's taskbar in the latest stable version of the operating system.
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  1. m3city said on February 19, 2024 at 8:52 am

    Frankly speaking, I don’t know why you all are so whiny about it. I’ve been using windows since 90ties, but utilize few linux machines as well. It’s hard to compare a free/garage software like most of linux out there to a commercial product like windows, but both of them work if you adjust your expectations and use cases. I have win11 at home and I must say – it works nicely. There are some annoyances, but everything can be tuned. Now, you have an option to turn it off quite easily, and even if MS shovels it harder on our machines, then surely ppl will come up with a solution (maybe more difficult, but still). On this particular issue: I bet that most of users don’t need that one. I do, but can live without “show desktop”. Its software for gods sake, adjust and use what you get. I know its hard to substitute Windows with linux, in some cases impossible, and it sucks that they have monopoly, but it is beneficial as well. Lets imagine we have two or three commercial systems for general user popular (I dont count Apple, that is not a generally available option due to cost). Then we have fragmentation of software, varying hardware support, compability issuess. I like having windows, even with its annoyances.

    1. breslow said on June 26, 2024 at 8:06 pm

      You have no standards at all. It’s because of gullible tools like you that predatory changes like this happen.

  2. Klenson said on February 17, 2024 at 5:08 am

    Bizarre as chinese software, my eyes get popped.

  3. Electronic Person said on February 16, 2024 at 4:28 am

    Add a visible “Show Desktop” icon. It works for Win 10 and 11, and for touchscreens, also You can then disable the Show Desktop at left corner.

  4. MicrosoftSucksAtSoftware said on February 15, 2024 at 10:57 pm

    Microsoft made Windows 11 a horrible operating system by default. Numerous amounts of dark patterns are deceiving users into using MSN and Bing. They push undesired features upon their consumers and don’t know what their users are really looking for. The weather, a disorganized widget panel, and now Copilot. Another subpar web wrapper… Next up Outlook… With any luck, Microsoft will deem Copilot and all of their other awful web services deprecated in a few years.

  5. plusminus_ said on February 15, 2024 at 8:10 pm

    You would think it was a joke if someone just described it to you. What the hell’s going on out there?

  6. Anonymous said on February 15, 2024 at 7:14 pm

    Soon, the desktop will only be a textbox for prompts and you’ll need tweaks to restore menus and icons.

  7. InsaRata said on February 15, 2024 at 6:50 pm

    NOT for me.
    Windows 22631.3155
    copilot icon is near start menu (at left).
    show desktop remained there byself

  8. TelV said on February 15, 2024 at 6:44 pm

    I’ve taken to downloading Win 11 updates to a USB stick on Windows 8.1 now thereby avoiding any M$ bloatware and only downloading security updates. I’ve got a laptop so today I put the machine in flight mode so that there wasn’t any connection to Win 11 updates to interfere with my plans and just installed this month’s single security update namely KB5034765 courtesy of my USB drive.

    That’s all I want. I disabled CoPilot before the start of the 2024 and so far everything has gone to plan.

    Anyway, as I understand it 22H2 will only receive security updates from now on so theoretically at least I shouldn’t be bothered by anymore Windows bloatware ‘features’ since GRC’s InControl app is blocking that crap.

  9. Tachy said on February 15, 2024 at 5:37 pm


    Yes I do use it and changing it to trick users into mistakenly opening something else is a new low even for M$.

    They must have a whole dept. focused on deception.

    1. Seeprime said on February 16, 2024 at 12:07 am

      Tachy: I don’t think we’re close to how low Microsoft will stoop to in Windows 11. They’re tone deaf to what most users want.

      1. hornylamb said on February 20, 2024 at 11:53 am

        MS .. only thinks for money.. even though they know there are lots of pirated activated windows around the world, so MS like that in many ways. nowadays windows is carp, you have to use a couple of debloat scripts to make Windows as you want. I don’t have another choice but to switch to Linux because I am heavily dependent on crap Windows but I do love Linux. like Mint Linux for standard users and Debian for advanced users.

  10. bruh said on February 15, 2024 at 4:31 pm

    Nothing is sacred, lol.

    Windows is slowly and surely becoming hot garbage – the amount of config a fresh Win10 takes before it’s “normal” is already long, with Windows 11 it will be even longer.

    I’m only using Windows 10/11 at work, thank gosh!

    There’s honestly a 1:10 ratio between useful things Microsoft adds and trash garbage changes they make.

  11. VioletMoon said on February 15, 2024 at 4:22 pm

    It’s simple to restore the CoPilot icon to it’s “original” space; whether that changes the new Show Desktop behavior–don’t know.

    Aesthetically, I think most users would want to move the Menu, etc. over to the left, disable showing the CoPilot icon entirely, reduce the humungous “search space” to a simple icon, and for simplicity’s sake remember Windows-D and Windows-C shortcuts.

    Such an arrangement leaves room for a Dock if one likes docks.

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