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May 23, 2023

Bringing the power of AI to Windows 11 – unlocking a new era of productivity for customers and developers with Windows Copilot and Dev Home

The team and I are pumped to be back at Build with the developer community this year.

Over the last year, Windows has continued to see incredible growth fueled by Windows 11 adoption. In fact, one of the most exciting areas driving that growth for Windows has been developers themselves, with a 24% YoY increase in monthly devices used for development.

AI is the defining technology of our time and developers are at the forefront of this transformation. With the right tools we can empower developers and our shared customers to shape the future and leave their mark on the world. We are just starting to see the incredible impact AI is having across industries and in our own daily lives. Today, the team and I are excited to share the next steps we are taking on our journey with Windows 11, to meet this new age of AI.

  • We are introducing Windows Copilot, making Windows 11 the first PC platform to announce centralized AI assistance to help people easily take action and get things done.
  • We are extending Bing Chat plugins to Windows, enabling developers to integrate their apps within Windows Copilot to better serve their customers and increase engagement on native Windows applications.
  • We are introducing new Hybrid AI loop to support AI development across platform, and across Azure to client with new silicon support from AMD, Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm.
  • We are introducing Dev Home designed to help every developer become more productive on Windows.
  • We are introducing new AI features and experiences in the Microsoft Store on Windows.

We can’t wait to share more with you tomorrow during our Windows keynote, be sure to register for Build and tune in!

Introducing Windows Copilot for Windows 11

We’re thrilled to introduce Windows Copilot. Windows is the first PC platform to provide centralized AI assistance for customers. Together, with Bing Chat and first- and third-party plugins, you can focus on bringing your ideas to life, completing complex projects and collaborating instead of spending energy finding, launching and working across multiple applications.

Invoking Windows Copilot is familiar and easy – the button is front and center on your taskbar – simple to find and use. Once open, the Windows Copilot side bar stays consistent across your apps, programs and windows, always available to act as your personal assistant. It makes every user a power user, helping you take action, customize your settings and seamlessly connect across your favorite apps. The things you love about Windows – copy/paste, Snap Assist, Snipping Tool, personalization – they are all right there for you, along with every other feature on the platform, and they only get better with Windows Copilot. For example, you can not only copy and paste, but also ask Windows Copilot to rewrite, summarize or explain your content.

Just like you would with Bing Chat, you can ask Windows Copilot a range of questions from simple to complex. If I want to call my family in Cyprus, I can quickly check the local time to make sure I’m not waking them up in the middle of the night. If I want to plan a trip to visit them in Cyprus, I can ask Windows Copilot to find my family flights and accommodations for mid-winter break.

With Bing and ChatGPT plugins in Windows Copilot, people will not only have access to augmented AI capabilities and experiences, but you as developers will also have new ways to reach and innovate for our shared customers. We welcome you to be part of the Windows Copilot journey by continuing to invest in Bing and ChatGPT plugins so your investments will carry forward to Windows Copilot.

Windows Copilot will start to become available in preview for Windows 11 in June, stay tuned and sign up here to get updates from the team.

Empowering every Windows 11 developer to be an AI developer  

This is an incredible time to be a developer on Windows. The possibilities across industries – healthcare, finance, education, tech, and others – are endless. We continue to invest in important tools to democratize how apps will be built for the new era of AI; whether you’re developing on x86/x64 or Arm64 we want to make it easy for you to bring AI powered experiences in Windows apps across cloud and edge.

If you are just getting started with AI or if you are wondering where to start, Microsoft and Windows are here to help you on that journey. Today, we are announcing the Windows AI Library, which will house a curated collection of ready to use machine learning models and APIs that will help jumpstart your AI development.  We will share more details on the availability and preview dates in the coming weeks.

Last year at Build, we announced Hybrid Loop, a new development pattern that enables hybrid AI scenarios across Azure and client devices. Today, we are excited to share that our vision has become a reality using ONNX Runtime as the gateway to Windows AI and Olive, a toolchain we created to ease the burden on you when optimizing models for varied Windows and other devices. With ONNX Runtime, third-party developers have access to the same tools we use internally to run AI models on Windows or other devices across CPU, GPU, NPU, or hybrid with Azure.

ONNX Runtime now supports the same API for running models on the device or in the cloud, enabling hybrid inferencing scenarios where your app can use local resources when possible and switch to the cloud when needed. With the new Azure EP preview, you can connect to models deployed in AzureML or even to the Azure OpenAI service. With just a few lines of code you can specify the cloud endpoint and define your criteria for when to use the cloud. This gives you more control over costs and user experience, as Azure EP gives you the flexibility to choose between using the larger model in the cloud or the smaller local model at runtime.

You can also optimize your models for different hardware targets with Olive, an extensible toolchain that combines cutting edge techniques for model compression, optimization and compilation. And you can use ONNX Runtime across platforms like Windows, iOS, Android and Linux, so your Windows AI investment can extend to all your app platforms.

Both ONNX Runtime and Olive contribute to the velocity of getting your AI models deployed into apps. ONNX Runtime makes it easier for you to create amazing AI experiences on Windows and other platforms, with less engineering effort and better performance.

Extending our vision for an AI powered future in collaboration with our partners

Windows 11 has the largest and most powerful ecosystem of GPUs in the world with more than 200M+ AI capable discrete GPUs. Windows PCs like Surface Studio 2+, and PCs built by partners such as Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung are powered by NVIDIA GPUs. Developers can leverage these GPUs today to run cutting-edge transformer models like Dolly 2.0, Stable Diffusion and NVIDIA’s NeMo that are pre-optimized for Windows.

NPUs (Neural Processing Units) are purpose-built accelerators to run AI models efficiently. Our partners are continuing to innovate and deliver – like Qualcomm with the Snapdragon 8cx Gen3 Compute Platform which today enables Windows devices including the Surface Pro 9 5G and the Windows Dev Kit 2023. With Olive & ONNX Runtime you can target Qualcomm AI Engine Direct SDK to run AI models on the 8cx Gen 3 compute platform NPU.

We are excited to see all our silicon partners bring more Windows devices with NPUs to the market later this year.  AMD recently made early access of Ryzen™ AI software available to developers to run AI models on AMD Ryzen™ 7040 Series processors with Ryzen™ AI. Intel previewed their new Meteor Lake product, an all-new chiplet SoC architecture that will feature Intel’s first integrated AI engine which will scale across the Windows ecosystem starting later this year and will also make available developer tools, including ONNX Runtime support enabled through OpenVino-EP and DirectML-EP.

Partners such as WhatsApp, Luminar Neo and Camo are achieving incredible leaps in performance and unlocking new end-user experiences by leveraging NPUs to run their AI models.  Bring your apps to the Windows platform and leverage ONNX Runtime to deliver AI experiences like Camo.  We can’t wait to see what the Windows developer community will create with these new AI toolchains and NPU hardware advancements.

New experiences designed to help every developer become more productive on Windows 11

Life as a developer involves constantly juggling manual dev machine set up with too many clicks, multiple tool sign-ins, navigating sub-optimal filesystem performance and context switching, and we know that these disruptions can significantly impact your productivity. Today, we’re excited to announce new features and improvements across all stages of the development cycle on Windows.

Introducing Dev Home: Your new productivity companion

With a renewed focus on your productivity, we are announcing a new home for developers on Windows  – Dev Home. Dev Home is a new experience in Windows 11, now available in preview, that gets you back in the zone and streamlines your workflow with features such as WinGet configuration for easier and faster setup, Dev Drive for enhanced filesystem performance and a new customizable dashboard to track all your workflows and tasks in one place. Dev Home makes it easy to connect to GitHub and set up your machine to code for the repos you care about, easily installing the tools and packages you need. Dev Home can also configure your coding environments in the cloud using Microsoft Dev Box and GitHub Codespaces. With Dev Home, designed by and for developers, you now have your ultimate productivity companion so you can focus on what you do best – writing code. Download the preview of the Dev Home in the Microsoft Store today. Learn more about Dev Home

Unattended and reliable dev machine setup: Reducing set up time from days to hours

Get ready-to-code in just a few clicks with the new WinGet configuration. This unattended, reliable and repeatable mechanism allows you to skip the manual effort of setting up a new machine or onboarding a new project and removes the worry of searching for the right version of software, packages, tools and frameworks to download or settings to apply. WinGet configuration reduces this manual and error-prone process down to a single command with a WinGet configuration file. Just run `winget configure ` in the command prompt and when it’s done, you are ready to code! Learn more about WinGet configuration

Introducing Dev Drive: A new storage volume tailor-made for developers: supercharged for performance and security

We know you often deal with repositories containing many thousands of files and directories, and historically this has presented a challenge for heavy I/O operations such as builds.

Today, we are announcing Dev Drive – a new type of storage volume, tailor-made for developers, with a file system that delivers both performance and security.

Dev Drive is based on the Resilient File System, which, combined with a new performance mode capability in Microsoft Defender for Antivirus, offers up to 30% file system improvement in build times for file I/O scenarios. The new performance mode is more secure for your workloads than folder or process exclusions, providing an ultimate solution to balance security with performance.

Dev Home makes it effortless to set up Dev Drive as part of the environment setup process. It is supercharged to host project source code, working folders and package caches. Dev Drive is available in preview later this week. Create a Dev Drive now.

Efficiently track your workflows on a new customizable dashboard in Dev Home

Dev Home also helps you manage any type of project you’re working on – Windows, cloud, web, mobile or AI – providing all the information you need, right at your fingertips, in one customizable dashboard.  You can enhance the Dev Home experience by adding GitHub widgets to efficiently track all coding tasks or pull requests and projects from one central location, and system widgets to track CPU and GPU performance.  We are collaborating with Team Xbox to bring the GDK to Dev Home to make it easy to get started with game creation. Looking to add your own custom-built extensions? You can do this on Dev Home.

Dev home is open source. We value community input on the experience, and we want to build this with you. Contribute and engage with us at the GitHub repository

Dev Home is in preview starting today, you can install Dev Home from the Microsoft Store today.

Your favorite tool, Windows Terminal is getting smarter with GitHub Copilot X                         

Users of GitHub Copilot will be able to take advantage of natural language AI both inline and in an experimental chat experience to recommend commands, explain errors and take actions within the Terminal application.  We are also experimenting with GitHub Copilot powered AI in other developer tools like WinDBG to help you complete your tasks with less toil.

Join the GitHub Copilot Chat waitlist to gain access to these features as they become available.

Reducing toil and unlocking the fun and joy of development on Windows with new features and improvements

The team has listened closely to what improvements are top of mind for you, including improvements to the Taskbar:

  1. You can now quickly identify and access any instance of each app housed in the taskbar with just one click. All instances of the app are ungrouped with labels on the taskbar.
  2. You can now hide your Time and Date with a setting on the taskbar. With this setting, users will be able to hide the time to remain focused, capture screen recordings without having to edit to hide time and date. The feature is located in the time and date settings page in Windows Settings.
  3. Quickly and easily shut down applications with a simple right click on the app directly from the taskbar without opening the Task Manager.

In addition…

  • We have added native support for additional archive formats, including tar, 7-zip, rar, gz and many others using the libarchive open-source project. You now can get improved performance of archive functionality during compression on Windows.
  • We are adding tab tear-out to Windows Terminal so that you can easily organize your different shells into windows according to your needs.

Continuing to innovate and accelerate development for Windows on Arm

In the past year, we launched the Windows Dev Kit 2023, and Arm native versions of Visual Studio and .NET to help accelerate development on Arm. Windows is continuing this momentum and welcoming more third-party Windows apps, middleware partners and Open-Source Software natively to Arm. Learn how to add Arm support for your apps.

  • Visual Studio 17.6 now ships with MAUI support for Arm.
  • Visual Studio 17.71 Preview 1 now ships with support for Linux development with C++.
  • LLVM v12.0 and onwards for cross compile and native compile options for Arm.
  • Node 20.0.0 is available from April with native Arm support.
  • WiX installer v4.0 is available to create native installers for Arm.
  • New middleware projects that have released in the last 12 months: Qt 6.2, CMake 3.24, Bazel, 5.1, OpenSSL 3.0, OpenBLAS, 0.3.21, Python 3.11.
  • Unity Player: Unity Player is now generally available for Windows on Arm natively. Developers using the game engine will be able to easily target Windows on Arm devices to get native performance on current and future titles.
  • Additional solutions are coming soon to Arm64 For example GNU GCC, Flutter & Dart, PyTorch, GIMP.

Beyond Microsoft’s investment in the Arm platform there are many developers that see the value of Arm native support and have released Arm64 native versions of their experiences to give their customers the best experience.

Here are just a few of the recent products launched:

And many more with plans to release in the near future:

New features to keep your users engaged

Lighted accessories have been on the rise and can add energy and emotion to your PC experience. Today, many of these accessories rely on third-party apps and integrations that are highly fragmented. With Dynamic Lighting, Windows users will be able to effortlessly set up and customize their devices with RGB lights directly from Windows Settings. It has never been easier to help all your RGB accessories seamlessly work together for Windows apps. This month, we are making the Dynamic Lighting preview available to Windows Insiders so that developers and hardware partners alike can experiment with new integrations for RGB accessories and components.

New features and experiences in the Microsoft Store on Windows

We are committed to not only providing you with the best tools to build great apps, but we are also enhancing the Microsoft Store, an open platform on Windows that provides the reach and growth that you seek.

Today, we’re pleased to announce new AI-powered features, expanded Microsoft Store Ads and new tools to help you reach your customers:

  • Microsoft Store AI Hub: Coming soon, we are introducing a dedicated section in the Microsoft Store on Windows that will curate the best AI experiences built by the developer community and Microsoft.
  • Microsoft Store AI-Generated keywords: To help optimize app discovery, we are introducing a new tool in Partner Center that leverages AI to generate and suggest search tags for apps to improve discoverability.
  • AI-Generated review summary: We are making it faster and easier for customers to scan reviews for apps by using the power of AI to compile thousands of reviews into a simple summary, enabling customers to discover new content with ease.
  • Microsoft Store Ads: Beginning in June, Microsoft Store Ads will expand its footprint beyond the U.S., to more than 150 regions worldwide. You will also have more options to reach customers with a new premium, high-traffic spotlight placement in the Store and search results.
  • Backup and Restore Apps: To help you retain your customers when they switch devices, we are enhancing the backup and restore experience for apps. This update is in preview and is available to Windows Insiders today.

To learn more about what we announced in the Microsoft Store on Windows today, including new AI-powered experiences and developer tools, visit this blog post.

Building on and for the future of Windows, together

It’s an exciting time to be a developer, even more so on Windows, and we’re thrilled to be on this journey with our you. From the moment you open your device, you’ll have the ultimate productivity tools at your fingertips, empowering you to do your best work. With the incredible momentum that’s building around this new era of AI, we can’t wait to see what you will create next.

We want to empower you to focus your time on creating and building – writing code that only you can write. With our renewed focus on supercharging developer productivity, we believe Windows now provides the best platform for you to create cutting edge experiences for your customers and is also the best platform for you to reach those customers, all with minimal cost and effort. We are humbled to be on this journey with you.

To learn more about these incredible new features, explore our new Windows Developer Center bringing our news and resources all into one location for you. For our Windows Insiders, you’ll be able to start accessing a set of these new features later this week in an Insider Preview Build. And be sure to check out our various sessions throughout Microsoft Build to learn more about everything we announced.

Update, May 24, 2023: This blog post was updated to add additional detail on the AI library