Windows 11 users can’t get enough of Copilot, apparently – that’s why Microsoft supersized the AI’s panel

A young person using a laptop
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Copilot panel in Windows 11 has been tinkered with a good deal in recent times, and a newer change that has been applied is one to switch up the way it appears by default, which has now been accompanied by a prompt from Microsoft explaining why.

This was spotted by regular leaker Leopeva64 on X (formerly Twitter), who noted that the Copilot pane is now wider than it used to be, and opens as an overlay, rather than in side-by-side view (a more compact form, where it’s always nestling next to your active window).

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Leopeva64 explains that the Copilot interface has opened this way for a short while now, but a new addition is a prompt Microsoft has added to explain why.

The ‘What’s new’ pop-up tells us that the recent change to make the panel wider so there’s “more space to chat” was due to Windows 11 user feedback requesting that additional real-estate. It also notes, however, that there’s a button at the top of the panel you can click to switch back to the more compact side-by-side layout, if you wish.


Analysis: Copilot expansion

It’s useful to have an explanation of the recent move to change the default settings for how the AI opens, and by all accounts, this points to Windows 11 users favoring a larger Copilot panel. (Or at least some of them, and we could assume the majority, at least of those who’ve fed back to Microsoft on Copilot’s interface).

Certainly those who use Copilot quite a lot in Windows 11, engaging in longer sessions of queries, may welcome the AI assistant getting more screen space by default.

The truth is we can expect to see a lot more of Copilot, one way or another, going forward. By which we mean Microsoft is already testing the waters for having the AI assistant appear when Windows 11 first boots (in a limited fashion thus far, mind). Furthermore, there are clues that Copilot may be integrated into other parts of the Windows 11 interface (such as File Explorer). We can envisage further possibilities like being able to dock Copilot elsewhere (it sits on the right-hand side of the screen currently).

What we definitely don’t want to see are nudges or adverts to use Copilot, but sadly – yet somewhat predictably – this has been spotted in testing too (promoting Copilot Pro, the supercharged paid version of the AI, we should clarify).

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).