Windows 11: AI Copilot and Native RAR, 7-Zip Support Roll out to Insiders

The AI assistant can be launched from the taskbar and perform various tasks, from changing to dark mode to summarizing a website.

has announced the release of Insider Preview Build 23493 to the Windows Insider Dev Channel, introducing several new features and improvements.

Windows Copilot Preview

The new build offers an early look at , an AI assistant for Windows 11 that was announced at Build 2023. Microsoft officials stated that this first preview focuses on the integrated UI experience, with additional functionality to be added in future previews. The AI assistant can be launched from the taskbar and perform various tasks, from changing to dark mode to summarizing a website. When Windows Copilot is enabled, it becomes available across programs, files, apps, menus, and open windows. The company plans to expand the preview to more Windows Insiders over time and add policies for IT admins to manage the experience in their organizations.

Copilot uses a large language model generative AI, so it works in a similar way to Bing Chat. Users provide a prompt by asking the chatbot something and the AI will respond in natural language. 

New Settings Homepage

Microsoft is also introducing a new homepage in Settings that offers a dynamic and personalized experience. It provides an overview of the device, quick access to key settings, and helps manage the Microsoft account. The homepage features interactive cards that represent various device and account-related settings, grouped by commonly accessed functions. The company emphasized that the homepage evolves and learns with the user, adjusting to provide the most relevant and useful information based on usage and preferences.

Support for More Apps and Archive File Formats

The latest build extends support to even more types of apps. Users will now see pins for their desktop app restored on the taskbar and Start Menu, including desktop apps that were not installed from the Microsoft Store. Additionally, the build adds native support for reading additional archive file formats such as .tar, .rar, .7z, and others.

The improved file compression support is made possible through the integration of the libarchive open-source project, which is a multi-format archive and compression library that supports a variety of archive and compression formats.

Enhanced Volume Mixer in Quick Settings

The updated audio quick settings experience brings a modern volume mixer that allows for quick customization of audio on a per-app basis, with additional control to swap devices on the fly. A new keyboard shortcut (WIN + CTRL + V) has been added to bring users directly to the volume mixer for faster control of the experience.

Narrator Natural Voices

New natural voices in Japanese and English (Great British) have been introduced, allowing Narrator users to comfortably browse the web, read and write mail, and do more. These voices use modern, on-device text-to-speech and are supported without an internet connection.