Windows 11 build 26080 makes Copilot act as regular desktop app

On March 13, 2024, as part of the Windows 11 24H2 development, Microsoft is releasing the preview build 26080 in the Canary and Dev Channels. This build includes various changes to the Copilot experience and other system components, such as File Explorer, Microsoft Teams, and Taskbar.

These are the new features and changes rolling to testers with devices enrolled in the Windows Insider Program.

Copilot as a regular app

According to the official notes, one of the most significant changes is the ability to undock the Copilot side panel to interact with the chatbot AI as a regular app that you can resize and move around the desktop. This experience is identical to installing the web version of Copilot as an app through Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome.

Copilot regular app / Image: Microsoft

The company is testing this new experience in the Canary Channel, and it’s expanding the new Copilot skills to change system settings to more users.

Furthermore, starting with build 26080, Microsoft is introducing a new plugin to connect Power Automate with Copilot. Power Automate is a tool for automating tasks between different apps and services, and the integration will allow (in the first preview) to manipulate Excel and PDF documents.

Finally, there’s a new fix to prevent Copilot from disappearing after turning it off and on from the Settings app.

File Explorer improvements

On File Explorer, when extracting a conflicting file, the dialog will allow you to skip and replace all conflicts.

File Explorer extract conflict option / Image: Microsoft

As part of the fixes, this preview of version 24H2 addresses crashing and high resource usage problems, issues with the Home page, Details pane, and compression.

Taskbar changes

The Quick Settings menu available through the Taskbar now includes a new option to turn live captions on and off.

Quick Settings with Live Captions / Image: Mauro Huculak

The progress bar in the app icon has been updated to make it easier to understand.

New progress bar / Image: Microsoft

Microsoft also fixed a memory issue with the Taskbar when showing the tooltip.

New Microsoft Teams

Microsoft is also touting a new unified version of the Teams app for Windows 11 that will replace the work and school versions with one experience that allows you to switch between the available account types. However, you can also launch different instances to interact with your personal and work accounts at the same time.

Teams unified app / Image: Microsoft

The new app remains virtually identical to the previous version, but it also includes a redesigned notification interface that shows the account for the alert.

Other changes

Windows 11 build 26080 also ships with various fixes and improvements for the Task Manager, Settings app, audio, input, and more.

Microsoft usually releases previews of Windows 11 in the Canary and Dev Channels every week, but this time around, the company hasn’t had a good working build since February 22, when build 26063 was released. In that particular instance, the company introduced support for Wi-Fi 7, the Copilot actions menu, and fixes.

The changes rolling out with build 26080 are expected to become part of version 24H2, which the company plans to release during the second half of 2024.

The feature update will focus on integrating more AI capabilities and various other new features, including a new AI Explorer, an advanced version of Copilot with a timeline feature, a Linux-like Sudo command, and Super Resolution to upscale games using AI. Other features include Speak for Me, Voice Clarity, Windows Protected Print Mode, and more.

Install build 26080

To download and install the Windows 11 build 26080, enroll your device in the Dev or Canary Channel through the “Windows Insider Program” settings from the “Update & Security” section. Once you enroll the computer in the program, you can download the build from the “Windows Update” settings by clicking the “Check for Updates” button. If the device is enrolled in the Dev Channel, build 26080.1100 (KB5037133) will download. Otherwise, in the Canary Channel, devices will receive the build 26080.1000.

Microsoft is also making the ISO file for build 26080 available so you can perform a clean install of Windows 11 on a spare computer or virtual machine.

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