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Windows set to remove Win + C shortcut in favor of “Copilot Key” to potentially drive sales

Older Copilot PCs are getting a small but noticeable downgrade
Last Updated on June 21, 2024
Removed shortcut is the latest victim of Copilot+ implementation
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With the arrival of Microsoft’s new Copilot+ PCs, Windows 11 is getting a full range of updates to bring older models up to speed with Copilot. In an interesting sales tactic, standard Copilot PCs are having their most convenient feature removed.

Patch notes between Windows 11 versions 23H2 and 24H2 reveal that the Win + C command shortcut that brings up the Copilot sidebar is set to be cut. Instead, Microsoft is reworking Copilot into a dedicated app like other standard Windows features. Unlike the new Copilot+ units – which have a dedicated Copilot button – you’ll now have to manually select the AI tools from your taskbar or Start menu. It’s being presented as a feature rather than a flaw by Microsoft, however, who said in their changelog that:

“As part of this update, we’re also evolving the Copilot experience on Windows as an app that will be pinned to the taskbar. This enables users to get the benefits of a traditional app experience, including the ability to resize, move, and snap the window – feedback we’ve heard from users throughout the preview of Copilot in Windows. This model also allows Microsoft to more agilely develop and optimize the experience based on user feedback. PLEASE NOTE: Managed commercial devices will not receive this new experience. This includes devices not running Windows 11 Home and are managed by an IT administrator.”

Source: Microsoft

How will this impact users?

What does this mean in practice? Very little, really: a few extra clicks to allow you to access Copilot is hardly a hardship. The underlying issue is with the practice it invokes, trading functionality for sales. If you can just as easily bring up Copilot on an older Windows 11 PC, then there’s less incentive to invest in a newer Copilot+ unit. Likewise, the lack of a sidebar makes it slightly less convenient to access. It’s a small change, but if one of your primary interests for your PC is the Copilot AI, then having a less robust version is going to take its toll. It’s certainly not going to improve Windows 11 uptake in other devices too, which is still severely undersubscribed compared to Windows 10.

The update is still in beta rather than being formally released, so members of the Windows Insider Program are currently testing the features before they go live. It’s a very corporate decision, however. If you were thinking of investing in a Copilot-running Windows PC, be aware that it’s going to be that fraction less convenient from here on out.

Angus Warrender is a PCGuide Writer and Editor. He's interested in a range of tech, from cameras to consoles, and has an eye for spotting the best products on the market!