Windows Copilot makes its way to Insiders in the Beta channel

Microsoft has released new Windows 11 updates for Insiders, bringing Copilot AI to more users, along with other new features.

Key Takeaways

  • Windows Insiders in the Beta channel now have access to Windows Copilot, an AI-powered assistant that can perform tasks like turning on dark mode or summarizing websites.
  • The casting experience on Windows 11 has been improved, allowing users to easily set up their PCs as wireless displays and suggesting casting during multitasking activities.
  • Accessibility enhancements include voice access before sign-in, support for Narrator natural voices in more languages, and improved support for Narrator in Excel.



Microsoft is rolling out a pair of Windows 11 updates to Windows Insiders in the Dev and Beta channels, bringing a few new features to both sets of users. Most notably, those in the Beta channel are getting their first taste of Windows Copilot, which has been available in the Dev channel for some time. Other changes include a new casting experience and a few accessibility improvements.

Windows Copilot brings AI to the Beta channel

With Windows 11 build 22631.2129, which is rolling out alongside build 22621.2129, Microsoft is bringing the long-awaited Windows Copilot feature top the Beta channel, giving users a taste of the built-in AI capabilities of the OS. Windows Cop[pilot is supposed to be your assistant in almost everything, but this release is still a bit limited, just like the version that was rolled out to the Dev channel before.

For now, you can ask it to do things like turn on dark mode, take a screenshot, or summarize a website, as long as you’re viewing it in Edge. You can also do anything you’d do with Bing Chat, which is the heart of the Copilot experience. You can ask Copilot to write a story, or a draw a picture using Bing Image Creator, or just ask it for information as you would through a web search. More capabilities should be added in the future.

Casting improvements

Microsoft is also making improvements to the casting experience on Windows 11, specifically if you want to use your PC as a casting target. When you open the Cast flyout (by pressing Windows + K or through the Quick Actions panel), you’ll now see a button to set up your PC as a wireless display, so you can install the Wireless Display feature and set up your PC’s discoverability.

Microosft says it will also suggest you use cast whenever you;re doing multi-tasking activities like using Snap Assist. These improvements are available in both the Beta channel with build 226731.2129, but also in the Dev channel with build 23516.

HDR background support

Exclusive to the Dev channel for now is support for JXR file types, allowing you to set HDR images as your desktop background and actually have them displayed in Full HDR. of course, you need an HDR display for this to work, and Microsoft recommends using the HDR Calibration app if you’re using an external display.

Adaptive dimming

Building on the recent addition of presence sensing privacy settings in Windows 11, Microsoft is now enabling a new Adaptive dimming feature that dims your display when you look away from it. This has been in a few laptops through third-party apps, so it’s certainly nice to see it built in. However, you still need a PC with presence sensing capabilities.

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Mini mode for Microsoft Teams

Screenshot of Microsoft Teams mini mode on Windows 11

Since Microsoft is removing the Microsoft Teams Chat integration from Windows 11 and replacing it with Copilot, the company is trying to deliver a similar feature within the main Teams app itself. This comes in the form of a new “mini communications experience” that looks very similar to the old Chat panel, albeit a little less colorful. Unlike the Chat panel, this window can easily be moved around, so you can keep tabs on your conversations more easily.

Microsoft says it’s also working on Phone Link integration, though it’s not totally clear what that means.

Accessibility improvements

Both the Beta and Dev channels are also getting a new accessibility improvement in the form of voice access now being available before you even sign in. You can enable the feature in the accessibility flyout or set it so that it launches automatically before you sign in, so you can use it to help you input your password. Voice access labels your keys with numbers so if you dictate your password, you don’t reveal it to bystanders.

One feature that’s exclusive to the Dev channel is support for Narrator natural voices in even more languages, including French, Portuguese, German, and Korean. Meanwhile, the Beta channel is getting access to numerous accessibility improvements that were previously only in the Dev channel, including a new dictation experience for voice access that makes it easier to correct or spell out words and names, and improved support for Narrator in Excel.

Beta channel gets a handful of features from the Dev channel

Aside from all the brand-new additions, Microsoft is also rolling out a handful of features that were previously available in the Dev channel to Insiders in the Beta channel, too. This includes the ability to set up a passwordless experience using Windows Hello for Business in Azure Active Directory-joined PCs, a new preview flyout for files in the Recommended section of the Start menu (for AAD users), the new notification icon behavior (where it no longer shows a notification count), and other smaller improvements.

Fixes and known issues

Build 23516 (Dev channel)

Of course, as with any build, today’s updates come with a handful of fixes and known issues that are worth keeping an eye on. For Windows Insiders in the Dev channel, build 23516 brings the following fixes:


  • After updating to Build 23511, some Insiders may have seen the Photos app pinned to the taskbar. This issue only occurred with that build and should no longer occur. We apologize for the issue.

[File Explorer]

  • Fixed an issue where the icons displayed in the tabs in File Explorer could become out of sync with the current folder after navigating.
  • Fixed a memory leak in File Explorer with the latest updates which could cause explorer.exe crashes and other issues over prolonged usage.
  • Fixed an underlying issue causing desktop icons to all go blank in the last few flights.
  • Fixed an issue which was causing File Explorer to show “Working on it” in an empty folder.
  • Fixed an issue where the text box for naming newly created files or folders on the desktop was showing in the wrong position (far away or way too close) relative to the thumbnail.
  • Fixed an issue where opening the context menu in the previous flight was crashing explorer.exe for some Insiders.
  • Fixed an issue where right clicking items in the navigation pane wouldn’t open a context menu after you changed folders.
  • Fixed an issue where ALT + P and Shift + Alt + P keyboard shortcuts weren’t working when focus was set to one of the images in Gallery.
  • Fixed an issue where Home and Gallery could get stuck in the wrong colors if they were open when changing between light and dark mode.
  • Fixed an issue where thumbnails in Gallery might not load after changing the view to a smaller icon size (for example, medium to small).
  • Fixed an issue where after refreshing Home, actions to pin and unpin favorite files might not work.
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We fixed the following issues for Insiders with the modernized details pane in File Explorer:

  • Fixed an issue where the design of the details pane was displaying from left to right instead of right to left when using Hebrew or Arabic display languages.

We fixed the following issues for Insiders who have the modernized File Explorer address bar that began rolling out with Build 23475:

  • The ALT + D, CTRL + L, and F4 keyboard shortcuts should work now to set focus to the address bar.
  • Fixed an issue where typing drive letters, %localappdata%, and certain other things in the address bar wasn’t causing suggested paths to appear in a dropdown.

We fixed the following issues for Insiders who have the modernized File Explorer Home that began rolling out with Build 23475:

  • Fixed an issue which could cause explorer.exe to crash when opening Home.
  • Fixed an issue where the tooltip would get stuck on the screen when you scrolled Home with touch.
  • Fixed an issue where collapsing and expanding the sections of Home didn’t always work.
  • Made some small adjustments to the size of elements, including reducing the size of the text.
  • Fixed an issue where mouse wheel scrolling wasn’t working if your mouse was hovered over the recommended section of Home.

[Taskbar & System Tray]

  • Fixed multiple explorer.exe crashes impacting taskbar reliability.


  • Fixed an issue which was causing certain mouse actions (including resizing windows with mouse) to not work over remote desktop.

[Dynamic Lighting]

  • Fixed an issue where switching user accounts could turn off device LEDs.

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As for the known issues in this build, you can check them out below:


  • We’re working on the fix for an issue causing explorer.exe to crash on the login screen when attempting to enter safe mode.

[Start menu]

  • Some apps under All apps on the Start menu, such as PWA apps installed via Microsoft Edge, may incorrectly be labeled as a system component.

[Windows Copilot]

  • You can use Alt + Tab to switch out of Windows Copilot, but not back into it. Windows + C will move focus back to Windows Copilot
  • When first launching or after refreshing Copilot while using voice access you’ll need to use “Show grid” commands to click in the “Ask me anything” box for the first time.

[File Explorer]

  • Insiders may experience a File Explorer crash when dragging the scroll bar or attempting to close the window during an extended file-loading process.
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[Windows Ink]

  • Windows Ink does not convert handwriting to text into the main content (e.g., Word documents and Excel spreadsheets) in Microsoft 365 applications.
  • Search boxes in Microsoft 365 applications (e.g., Microsoft Word) might not work correctly.
  • Comment fields in Microsoft 365 applications (e.g., Microsoft Word) might not work correctly.


  • We’re investigating reports that typing with the Japanese and Chinese IMEs is not working correctly after the last flight.

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Windows 11 builds 22631.2129 and 22621.2129 (Beta channel)

As for Insiders in the Beta channel, the fixes included in today’s build are as follows:

[File Explorer]

  • The keyboard shortcuts to set focus to the search box (CTRL + F, CTRL + E, F3) should work now.
  • Fixed an issue where the dropdown in the address bar could appear totally blank.

[Taskbar & System Tray]

  • Fixed an issue that was causing quick settings not to open when selecting the network, volume, and battery icons in the system tray.
  • Fixed a few issues causing explorer.exe crashes and leading to taskbar reliability issues.


  • Fixed an issue causing Insiders to unexpectedly see a notification suggesting you turn off notifications for an app named NotifyiconGeneratedAumid_*.


  • Fixed a high hitting ctfmon.exe crash in the last two flights, which could impact the ability to type.

[Task View & Desktops]

  • Adjusted the desktops switching animation to ease into the animation a little more.

[Task Manager]

  • Fixed an issue where some of the app icons in the Startup Apps section of Task Manager were very tiny.
  • Fixed an issue where the selection color wasn’t displaying correctly if you were using a contrast theme.
  • Fixed an issue where focus wasn’t getting set correctly to search if the Task Manager window was small enough that search was collapsed to an icon.
  • Fixed alignment of Task Manager icon and name in the title bar.

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If you’re in this channel, you also have to keep an eye out for these known issues:


  • We’re working on the fix for an issue causing explorer.exe to crash on the login screen when attempting to enter safe mode.

[File Explorer]

  • We’re working on the fix for an issue causing File Explorer to crash when going to Home. If you encounter this when opening File Explorer, you may need to use Search or the Run dialog to open File Explorer directly to a specific folder (for example, C:).
  • In some cases, the context menu background in File Explorer may appear transparent.
  • In some cases, the icons on your desktop may all go blank. If this happens, using the refresh option in the desktop context menu should resolve it.


  • We’re working on a fix for an issue causing the safely remove hardware icon to not appear when expected in the system tray.


  • We’re investigating reports that typing with the Japanese and Chinese IMEs is not working correctly after the last flight.


  • You may see some of the strings are NOT localized to the selected language. This will be fixed in a future flight.

read more

Both of these builds are available to download through Windows Update if you’re enrolled in the respective channels. If you’re not familiar with the Insider program, check out our explainer of the different channels available.

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