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Microsoft: Windows Copilot app we quietly installed is harmless and doesn't steal your data

Copilot and Windows 10 and 11 logos

Back at the start of March, Microsoft released an Edge update that was leading to Out of Memory (OOM) errors even on systems with more than sufficient system RAM. The company was forced to pull the update and later explained that it was a dying Defender feature that was causing the OOM errors.

In less than a month, another buggy update hit Edge and this time, an 8 KB Microsoft Copilot entry was discovered in the Windows 11 Installed apps list. Again, the update was pulled when the media, including Neowin, started reporting about it.

This was another one of those unannounced changes Microsoft quietly pushed, like the new "UCPD driver" that blocks Registry hacks related to default app choices.

Microsoft has now confirmed that this was a bug, and it has also added that the app is harmless as it does not run any code in the background, and no user data is captured by it. On its health dashboard website, the company explains:

Updates to Edge browser version 123.0.2420.65, released on March 28, 2024 and later, might incorrectly install a new package (MSIX) called ‘Microsoft chat provider for Copilot in Windows’ on Windows devices. Resulting from this, the Microsoft Copilot app might appear in the Installed apps in Settings menu.

It is important to note that the Microsoft chat provider for Copilot in Windows does not execute any code or process, and does not acquire, analyze, or transmit device or environment data in any capacity.

This package is intended to prepare some Windows devices for future Windows Copilot enablement and is not intended for all devices. Although the component installed as part of this issue can cause the Microsoft Copilot app to be shown as part of the Installed apps, this component does not fully install or enable Microsoft Copilot.

As part of the upcoming resolution of this issue, the chat provider for Copilot in Windows component will be removed from devices where Microsoft Copilot is not intended to be enabled or installed. This includes most Windows Server devices.

If true, this is certainly some good news following the recent events about Windows 11 and its introduction of more ads and promos in the Start menu, which led a former Windows UX head to express their disappointment about the matter. This was hot on the heels of another ex-engineer calling out Windows 11's "bad" performance. However, the company is currently testing more Copilot ads inside Edge.

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