Microsoft’s Copilot keyboard button might be the best way to drive widespread adoption of its beloved AI features

Microsoft Copilot keyboard key
(Image credit: Microsoft)

A new dedicated Microsoft Copilot keyboard button will be added to a raft of PCs and laptops from Microsoft partners in the company’s latest push to drive adoption of its generative AI assistant.

Microsoft announced it will introduce the Copilot key to kick off 2024 as “the year of AI-powered Windows PCs”.  Bringing these changes to the hardware side of the Windows experience signals the company’s long term vision for its devices to be used in conjunction with AI tools.

The new Microsoft Copilot key also marks the first major change to Windows keyboards in almost 30 years. The Copilot button will replace the menu key next to the right hand side alt key on traditional Windows keyboards, and will provide users with instant access to Microsoft’s AI chatbot wherever they are in the operating system.

Microsoft hopes the inclusion of a dedicated hardware button for its flagship AI assistant will increase user adoption, allowing Copilot to be called up by users with a single key press and without having to switch out of their current task.

The keyboard alteration has received criticism from some non-English Windows users, for whom the alt gr key enabled them to use specific characters they needed for their native language.

As of the time of writing, Microsoft has not specified which manufacturers will be bringing the Copilot key to their keyboards. However, Yusuf Medhi, executive vice president and consumer chief marketing officer at the tech giant hinted that users can expect to see the Copilot key at CES.

“Over the coming days leading up to and at CES, you will start to see the Copilot key on many of the new Windows 11 PCs from our ecosystem partners, with availability beginning later this month through Spring, including on upcoming Surface devices,” the firm said in a statement last week.

The new Copilot key is not the first hardware change from Microsoft that embraces the upcoming era of AI computing, with the latest devices in its Surface lineup featuring dedicated Intel's Gen 3 Movidius 3700VC VPU AI Accelerator, such as its Surface Laptop Studio 2.

Microsoft Copilot is everywhere, and now it’s on your keyboard

Microsoft has accelerated efforts to integrate AI capabilities within its core products over the last year, on both the hardware and software side. The tech giant struck an early lead in the generative AI race in late 2022, and has continued to capitalize on the transformative potential of the technology. 

The firm’s Copilot tool is now available for users of Windows 11, Bing, and Microsoft 365, ensuring whatever users are doing with their Windows PC the Copilot icon will be somewhere within sight.


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With a Copilot key set to feature on keyboards, it will be hard to avoid the AI assistant.

In November 2023, Microsoft also announced plans to integrate the chatbot in Windows 10 in a bid to capitalize on the OS’ considerable market share among enterprise customers.

Despite efforts to push customers to Windows 11 since its launch, Windows 10 has proved highly popular and continues to boast a larger market share than its newer counterpart. 

Solomon Klappholz
Staff Writer

Solomon Klappholz is a Staff Writer at ITPro. He has experience writing about the technologies that facilitate industrial manufacturing which led to him developing a particular interest in IT regulation, industrial infrastructure applications, and machine learning.