Microsoft makes first keyboard change in almost 30 years in AI push

AI-powered assistants are becoming a core part of the Windows system

Microsoft is adding a key to the keyboard of its Windows 11 PCs that will give direct access to its new Copilot services, marking a new push for the AI-powered feature.

The button will give users direct access to features such as creating images with AI, summarising text and composing emails.

This is the first significant change to the Windows PC keyboard in nearly three decades, with the Copilot button joining the Windows key as a core part of the PC keyboard.

“We see this as another transformative moment in our journey with Windows where Copilot will be the entry point into the world of AI on the PC,” Microsoft’s consumer chief marketing officer, Yusuf Mehdi, said in a blog post.


Declaring that 2024 would be the year of the “AI PC”, Mr Mehdi said the new key would begin appearing on devices from next month.

“In this new year, we will be ushering in a significant shift toward a more personal and intelligent computing future where AI will be seamlessly woven into Windows from the system, to the silicon, to the hardware,” said Mr Mehdi. “This will not only simplify people’s computing experience but also amplify it, making 2024 the year of the AI PC.”

Microsoft has integrated the AI tools into many of its popular products, from Bing search and Office, to security software and customer products. Its partnership with OpenAI, in which Microsoft has invested $13 billion (€11.9 billion), has played a large part in this. The Copilot feature relies on the company’s GPT-4 technology.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist