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What Copilot features can you turn off inside of Windows 11

Windows 11, with its array of impressive features, includes Copilot, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool. While this may be a boon for some, others might have concerns about its presence on their computer. If you're among the latter, here's a guide on what Copilot features you can turn off inside Windows 11.

What Copilot features can you turn off inside of Windows 11

Before I go any further, one question about Copilot needs to be answered: "Can Copilot be uninstalled?" The answer is no; it's built into Windows 11. But you have one option: turn off Copilot as much as possible, as it's impossible to remove it altogether.

There are now some registry hacks on the Internet for disabling Copilot. You can try them, but from everything I have read, they may or may not work. If I know Microsoft, they will fix the ability to disable Copilot in the registry in a future update. I've seen it happen before.

There is also a Group Policy hack out on the Internet that is supposed to disable Copilot. Still, the problem is that you can only edit the Group Policy in the Professional and Enterprise versions of Windows 11. Windows 11 Home users cannot modify the Group Policy.

With CPU vendors (Intel and AMD) developing processors with special areas for AI, AI is not going away. You can bet that Microsoft will take advantage of these new AI-enabled processors to run Copilot.

Microsoft introduced Copilot as an AI assistant integrated into Microsoft 365 and Windows 11, including Microsoft Edge. While this may seem helpful, some users prefer to turn it off for privacy or performance reasons.

Turning off Copilot features in Windows 11 is a straightforward process that can be completed in just a few clicks. Whether you're concerned about privacy or want to boost your PC's performance, turning off Copilot is a simple and effective solution.

If you wish to clear the data Copliot has collected, you can do so by resetting Copilot. You can even restrict what optional data Windows 11 sends back to Microsoft.

How to turn off Copilot in Microsoft Edge

  1. Left-click on the Microsoft Edge (wave) icon on the Taskbar.
  2. Left-click on the three (3) horizontal dots (...) in the upper right-hand corner and select Settings.
  3. In the left-hand column select Sidebar.
  4. In the right-hand column select Copilot.
    The setting for the displaying Copilot inside of Microsoft Edge
  5. Toggle the Show Copilot switch to the off position.

How to turn off Copilot on the Taskbar

  1. Left-clicking on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the list of pinned apps on the Start menu, left-click on Settings.
  3. In the left-hand column, left-click on Personalization.
  4. In the right-hand column, left-click on Taskbar.
    The setting for the displaying Copilot on the Taskbar
  5. In the right-hand column, switch off Copilot in Windows (preview).

How to terminate, reset, or repair Copilot inside of Windows 11

  1. Left-clicking on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the list of pinned apps on the Start menu, left-click on Settings.
  3. In the left-hand column, left-click on Apps.
  4. In the right-hand column, left-click on Installed apps.
  5. The right-hand column displays a list of all the installed apps. Find Microsoft Copilot, left-click on the three (3) horizontal dots (...) on the right, and select Advanced options.
    The advanced options for Copilot inside of Windows 11
  6. In the right-hand column, you will find buttons that allow you to Terminate, Repair, and Reset. You will notice that the Uninstall option is greyed out.

How to turn off optional data collection inside of Windows 11

  1. Left-clicking on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the list of pinned apps on the Start menu, left-click on Settings.
  3. In the left-hand column, left-click on Privacy & Security.
  4. In the right-hand column, left-click on Diagnostics & feedback.
  5. In the Diagnostics & feedback section, you'll see an option called Send optional diagnostic data.
    The advanced options for diagnostics and feedback inside of Windows 11

How to backup and restore the registry in Windows 10 and Windows 11

Updated January 30, 2024

Everyone knows that when you make any significant change to your computer, you must backup the registry first. But not many casual computer users understand what the registry is and how to back it up. So here's how to backup and restore the registry in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

How to backup and restore the registry in Windows 10

So, what is the registry? The registry is a database that contains information on the hardware, software, and user(s) installed on your computer. Even though it may sound like a single entity, it consists of several different files. The collection of these files is called the registry hive.

FYI: The information in the registry hive is stored in two (2) essential elements: Keys and Values. Keys are like folders; they can contain values and keys. Values are like files; they contain data in various formats.

Automatically backup and restore the registry in Windows 10 and Windows 11

The System Protection tab of the System Properties dialog box inside of Windows 10
The System Protection tab of the System Properties dialog box inside Windows 10

Now, the simplest way to backup the registry is to create a restore point. Restore points contain backup copies of the registry, most drivers, and files with particular extensions.

Restore points can be a lifesaver if your system fails to start after a change or modification. Just make sure to create a system repair disk or recovery drive (instructions below) and have it on hand only in case your system won't start up correctly. You can use it to boot your computer and access a restore point.

How to create a restore point in Windows 10 and Windows 11

  1. Bring up the System > About page by either:
    • Pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + Pause.
    • Pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X to bring up the Power User menu and press Y to select System.
    • Right-clicking on the Windows logo Windows logo key on the Start menu to bring up the Power User menu and select System.
  2. In the right-hand column, left-click on the System protection link.
  3. In the Protection Settings field, check and ensure system protection is enabled. If it is not, then highlight the drive's name and left-click on the Configure ... button. Once you have verified that system protection is enabled, proceed to the next step.
  4. Highlight the C: (System) drive, and left-click on the button labeled Create ....
  5. Type in a descriptive title for your restore point (the date and time are automatically added).
  6. Left-click on Create.

How to use a restore point in Windows 10 and Windows 11

  1. Bring up the System > About page by either:
    • Pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + Pause.
    • Pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X to bring up the Power User menu and press Y to select System.
    • Right-clicking on the Windows logo Windows logo key on the Start menu to bring up the Power User menu and select System.
  2. In the right-hand column, left-click on the System protection link.
  3. At the top of the System Protection tab, left-click on the button under the System Restore section labeled System Restore ....
  4. When the starting screen appears, left-click on Next >.
  5. Highlight the restore point you want to use, then left-click on Next >.
  6. When the confirmation screen appears, left-click on Finish.
  7. A warning should appear telling you not to interrupt the system restore process. Left-click on Yes to proceed.
  8. Your computer will start restoring the system (including the registry) to how it was when the restore point was created and reboot.

Creating a system repair disk or recovery drive in Windows 10 and Windows 11

System repair disks and recovery drives are essentially the same thing. They are bootable drives that contain the essential system tools to repair your Windows installation. The only difference is the media they use; system repair disks use CDs/DVDs, and recovery drives use USBs. Recovery drives can also reinstall Windows. Click here for more on Recovery Drives for Windows 10 and Windows 11.

How to create a system repair disk for Windows 10 or Windows 11 (requires a blank CD/DVD)

  1. Bring up the Run dialog box by either:
    • Pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R
    • Right-click on the Windows logo Windows logo key on the Start Menu or press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X and then select Run
  2. In the Run dialog box that appears, type recdisc and select OK. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. Just follow the prompts.

How to create a recovery drive for Windows 10 (requires an empty USB drive 16GB or larger)

  1. Left-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. Scroll down the list of programs and left-click on Windows Accessories.
  3. Double left-click on Recovery Drive. Just follow the prompts.

How to create a recovery drive for Windows 11 (requires an empty USB drive 16GB or larger)

  1. Left-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the Start menu, left-click on All apps.
  3. Scroll down the list of programs and left-click on Windows Tools.
  4. Double left-click on Recovery Drive. Just follow the prompts.

Manually backup and restore the registry in Windows 10 and Windows 11

The Registry Editor interface inside of Windows 10
The Registry Editor interface inside of Windows 10

Another way to backup the registry is to use the built-in Registry Editor. The beautiful thing about using the Registry Editor is that you don't have to backup the whole registry if you don't want to. You can just backup any key or value you want.

There is a downside to using the Registry Editor to manually backup the registry. To restore anything with the Registry Editor, you must boot your computer in either standard or safe mode. A system repair disc doesn't have the Registry Editor included.

How to manually backup the registry using the Registry Editor in Windows 10 and Windows 11

  1. Bring up the Run dialog box by either:
    • Pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R
    • Right-click on the Windows logo Windows logo key on the Start Menu or press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X and then select Run
  2. In the Run dialog box that appears, type regedit and select OK. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. When the Registry Editor appears either:
    • Highlight Computer in the left-hand column to backup the complete registry.
    • Highlight the key or value you want to backup.
  4. Left-click on the File pull-down menu and left-click on Export.
  5. Select the location and a descriptive file name for the backup file, and then left-click on Save.

How to manually restore the registry using the Registry Editor in Windows 10 and Windows 11

  1. Bring up the Run dialog box by either:
    • Pressing the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R
    • Right-click on the Windows logo Windows logo key on the Start Menu or press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X and then select Run
  2. In the Run dialog box that appears, type regedit and select OK. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. When the Registry Editor appears either:
  4. Left-click on the File pull-down menu and left-click on Import.
  5. Navigate to the location of the REG file you want to import and left-click on it.
  6. Left-click on the Open button. You should get a confirmation screen telling you successfully imported the file.

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