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Ask me anything: What’s the difference between Copilot in Windows and Microsoft 365 Copilot?

By 1st November 2023March 8th, 2024No Comments
a dog wearing an orange pilot uniform and helmet in front of a purple background with a speech bubble that reads "I'm on the tail of my tasks with Copilot"

All hail Copilot – the digital companion that helps you to be more productive at work.

Back in March 2023, Microsoft unveiled how this new AI-powered technology will help organisations ‘unlock productivity and unleash creativity’ using the apps that millions of us use every day – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams.

And finally, it’s here.

But did you know there are two main versions of Copilot, each with their own features and benefits?

Before we get stuck into a side-by-side comparison of Copilot in Windows and Microsoft 365 Copilot, let’s first explore what role they each play in helping you maximise time and organisation-wide productivity.

What is Copilot in Windows 11?

Look down to your desktop taskbar, there it is – the Copilot in Windows button. If it’s missing, hit Windows+C and the Copilot the panel will appear on the right-hand side of your screen.

As a built-in version of the AI-powered Bing Chat, Copilot for Windows lets you choose a conversation style (more creative, more balanced, or more precise), and offers up suggestions of things it can help you do. At the bottom of the panel, you can ask Copilot anything, either by typing your request or using a microphone. You’ve got 2,000 words to play with and can attach an image to add more detail to your prompt.

Copilot’s been available to Windows 11 users in ‘preview’ mode since the new release on 26 September 2023, and because it’s built into Windows, it has a view across all your applications, the web, and your devices, helping you get things done more quickly and efficiently than ever before.

However, it’s still early days for the tool and with that in mind, you might not want to hand over all your tasks to it just yet. As with any AI tool, mistakes and inaccuracies are possible, so it’s definitely worth sense checking the output.

Troubleshoot! Has anyone seen my Copilot?

If you’re not seeing Copilot in Windows at all, make sure you’re running the latest version of Windows 11 by following these steps: 

  • Open settings 
  • Select Windows Update 
  • Click Check for updates 
  • Toggle the switch next to ‘Get the latest updates as soon as they’re available’   

If you don’t want to see Copilot on your taskbar, head to ‘Personalisation > Taskbar’ in Settings, then turn off Copilot. 

What tasks can Copilot in Windows help me with?

This version of Copilot’s all about finding things quickly, getting step-by-step guidance on changing settings from a single interface, and pulling out key info from the web.  

Some example prompts could be:

a lit lamp in a dark room with a black box containing Microsoft dark theme settings

“Change to dark mode”

a grey kitten on a white background

“Find me an image of a cute kitten”

a door hanger sign with the words 'do not disturb'

“How to turn on do not disturb”

a laptop on a wooden table with an empty glass and bottle of water containing sliced lemons

“Summarise this excellent blog post from Inform”

One Copilot in Windows prompt we like using is to summarise the content of a webpage you’re looking at in your Edge browser (which could be this blog post). Click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the Copilot panel and you’ll find the settings. Once you’ve toggled ‘Let Copilot in Windows use Microsoft Edge content, Copilot can see your active Edge tab and start summarising for you.  

What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?

When most people talk about Copilot, this is usually the one they’re referring to. 

Microsoft 365 Copilot is a digital assistant powered by AI that’s been designed to give personalised assistance to users for a whole range of tasks and activities, inside and outside of work.

Consider it the more comprehensive virtual assistant to Copilot in Windows (that’s why it’s got the price tag attached to it).

Microsoft 365 Chat has a deep contextual understanding of your job, your priorities, and your organisation. It’s like having someone attend all your meetings, even the ones you skipped, read all your emails−including the ones you missed−know what’s in every single file, and recall it at the speed of light.

Collette StallbaumerGeneral Manager, Microsoft 365 and Future of Work - Microsoft

What tasks can Microsoft 365 Copilot help me with?

The more refined and detailed the prompt, the better the outcome. Some example task prompts include:

  • Read my Word document or PDF and create a set of PowerPoint slides from it
  • Draft an email to [X] sharing details of our upcoming conference using ‘Sound Like Me’ in Outlook
  • Analyse this quarter’s business results in this Excel file and summarise three key trends
  • I missed the [X] meeting. What decisions were made at the meeting and what are my actions?
  • Read all of my conversations in the [X] Channel in Teams and provide a summary of key points

You’ll see the tasks Microsoft 365 Copilot can help you with are much more complex than those within Copilot in Windows.

Copilot in Windows vs. Microsoft 365 Copilot

Who knows Copilot better than Copilot?

We thought we’d put it to the test and ask what the key differences are between Copilot in Windows and Microsoft 365 Copilot to create this side-by-side comparison.

Copilot in Windows

Microsoft 365 Copilot

What will it cost me?

Free in Windows 11 

Paid subscription service that requires a Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 licence (minimum 300 licences)

Where can I find it? 

It’s integrated in Windows 11you’ll find it on your taskbar or by using the Win🪟+C shortcut 

It’s embedded in the Microsoft 365 apps you use every day including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams  

What can it help me do? 

Helps with general queries, settings, and web searches 

Helps with everything Copilot in Windows does, as well as complex work-related problems and tasks across Microsoft 365 apps 

What chat function does it use? 

Uses Bing Chat to communicate with you which may save your chat data and use it to train the large language models (LLM) 

It also works with ChatGPT plugins 

Uses Microsoft 365 Chat which doesn’t save your chat data, has no eyes on access, and doesn’t use your data to train the LLM 

How does it process my data? 

Processes your data outside your Microsoft 365 tenant

Related article: How Copilot uses data 

Processes your data inside your Microsoft 365 tenant, ensuring enterprise-grade security, privacy, compliance, and responsible AI 

The more Copilots, the merrier?

We’ve only touched on Copilot in Windows and Microsoft 365 Copilot in this blog.

Microsoft has created additional Copilots which may or may not need separate licencing, like Copilot in cloud flows, Microsoft Sales Copilot, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot. More on that later.

Whichever applications it’s linked with, what we’ve established is that Copilot’s a powerful AI layer to Microsoft’s offering and is set to transform the way we all work. We’re excited to see how this develops, are you?

Ready, set, AI

If you want to #GetCopilotReady but aren’t sure where to begin,  check out our AI roadmapping service or reach out to our team.

You really can ask us anything…

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