November 30, 2023

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You can now experience Windows Copilot support, native RAR and 7-Zip support in Windows 11

You can now experience Windows Copilot support, native RAR and 7-Zip support in Windows 11

Microsoft is making good on its promise to release Windows Copilot to testers in June. Today’s Windows Insider Dev Channel build (23493) includes early access to Windows Copilot, native support for RAR and 7-Zip files, a new Settings home page, and even a better volume mixing tool.

Microsoft first announced Windows Copilot on build earlier this year, and the version testers have access to today functions as a sidebar docked to the right side of Windows 11. It won’t interfere with your desktop content and will run unobstructed alongside The Windows team says at a Blog post today.

Windows Copilot runs inside Windows 11.
Image: Microsoft

You can ask AI-powered Windows Copilot questions that Bing Chat would normally answer, or even system commands like:

  • Change to dark mode
  • Take a screenshot
  • Turn on do not disturb

Windows Copilot, like the Bing sidebar in Microsoft Edge, can also be used to summarize the content you see on the web or to create AI-generated images and text. Microsoft says it will provide “inline recommendations that we think are relevant through ads in Bing,” so you’re bound to see ads in that interface as well.

Since this is an early preview, Windows Copilot isn’t fully functional, so it only controls a few basic Windows settings, and there’s no additional third-party support here yet. “Over time, features will be added as we improve the Windows Copilot experience with Windows Insiders.”

If you’re a fan of RAR or 7-Zip files, Microsoft is finally adding native support. Additional archive formats include tar, 7-zip, RAR, gz, and many others that use the libarchive open source project. Microsoft warns that there are some initial performance issues with this new support as it works to improve it in future Windows Insider builds.

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Microsoft said at Build that support for this improved archive format will ship to everyone in September. We also plan to introduce support for creating those files in those formats in 2024. Sharla Swinichsen saidproduct manager at Microsoft, at the build session.

Another feature that Windows Insiders will now be able to officially test is an improved audio mixing user interface in the Quick Settings section of Windows 11. “The updated audio quick settings experience provides a modern audio mixer that allows for quick customization of audio on each app with added control for switching devices on the go.” , says the Windows team. We’ve also added a new keyboard shortcut (WIN + CTRL + V) to take you directly to the audio mixer for faster control over the experience.

The new Windows 11 volume mixer.
Image: Microsoft

This new audio mixer was spotted earlier this year, and keyboard shortcuts seem like a great addition to Windows 11. Microsoft clearly took inspiration from the EarTrumpet here, one of my favorite apps for Windows that’s been around for nearly five years. Years. I once called it “the Windows 10 volume control app Microsoft should have made.” Ha.

Microsoft is also adding a new main Settings page to Windows 11. It now includes an overview of the device you’re using mixed with important settings. Right now, you can immediately dive into the System section of Settings, so this new homepage is designed to be less cluttered with up to seven cards of information. You’ll be able to view information about your Microsoft 365 or Xbox subscriptions, manage Bluetooth devices, quickly customize your wallpaper, and check how much OneDrive cloud storage you have left.

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Finally, Microsoft is testing a new Suggestions feature for Snap Layouts in Windows 11. When you hover over and zoom in or out, app icons will be displayed based on which apps would work best next to each other.