Microsoft’s Copilot key leverages a Function key not discovered on trendy keyboards

Key combo: Microsoft is about to introduce an official Copilot key for upcoming AI PC merchandise. Delving into its performance, the brand new key operates equally to a keyboard mixture from the 80s.

Microsoft describes the Copilot key for Windows 11 PCs as a method to “empower” customers and allow them to simply embrace the upcoming AI “transformation.” The new key will quickly change into an ordinary a part of Windows keyboard configurations, and newly launched laptops are already geared up with this extra keyboard characteristic.

Tom’s Hardware obtained a few new Dell laptops (XPS 14, XPS 16) that includes the brand new key and determined to check them. The Copilot secret’s designed to open the Windows Copilot chatbot characteristic, however with the suitable software program, it may be reprogrammed to perform totally different duties or simulate totally different key mixtures.

Tom’s utilized AutoHotkey, a well known device for macro scripting and automation that will also be used to log keystrokes and their ensuing scancodes. A scancode is the info most pc keyboards ship to the PC after a key has been pressed, permitting Windows to reply with essentially the most acceptable motion, comparable to opening File Explorer or the aforementioned Copilot chatbot.

According to AutoHotkey logs, the Copilot secret’s interpreted by Windows as a mixture of the next three keys: Left Ctrl, Windows key, and F23. The F23 operate key shouldn’t be usually discovered on trendy keyboard layouts, which normally embody 12 operate keys at most on conventional full-size keyboard designs.

Double operate key rows have been obtainable in older keyboard fashions, significantly these used to work together with mainframes or bigger pc items. The IBM Model M 122 keyboard, a well-liked alternative launched in 1985, had this configuration. It occurred a number of years earlier than IBM’s choice to exit the PC market by promoting its enterprise to Lenovo in 2005.

Keyboards with 122 keys have been nonetheless being offered within the 90s, and Windows is programmed to accommodate this older design even immediately. The working system can simply handle scancodes belonging to the additional operate keys. Microsoft most likely selected the “unique” key mixture for Copilot as a result of it’s unlikely that anybody would want to press these three keys concurrently in any other case.

Now that we perceive how the Copilot key features, customizing the characteristic will likely be simpler on “non-AI” PCs. Tom’s Hardware suggests a fast AutoHotkey script to overwrite Microsoft’s official mixture each time Windows 11 boots, permitting the Copilot key to carry out extra helpful duties comparable to opening an software, getting into a textual content string, or launching an internet site.

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