Laptop and desktop PCs with Windows operating system will have something different starting in 2024: a new key on the keyboard. Microsoft announced today that starting in January, new PCs manufactured by its main partners – and the company’s own Surface devices – will include a new key next to the “Alt” key on the right, specifically created to activate Copilot. , Microsoft’s artificial intelligence.

“It will be a central part of the PC keyboard and, when pressed, will easily invoke the Copilot experience in Windows,” explains Yusuf Mehdi, head of consumer marketing at Microsoft. The company has confirmed that the first computers with the new keyboard design can be seen at the CES fair that starts next week in the city of Las Vegas.

It is the first key added to the keyboard in almost three decades. It was in September 1994 when Microsoft launched the Natural Keyboard, a PC keyboard that for the first time included the Windows key, designed to quickly invoke the Windows 95 Start menu.

Since then the key has been integrated into most laptops and desktop keyboards. The only exception is Macs, which obviously have other function keys.

On many keyboards, manufacturers actually include two Windows keys, one on either side of the “Alt” keys on either side of the space bar. In others, the right-side key is used for the Menu function, which invokes the main menu of the application that is running.

The Copilot key, which is identified with the artificial intelligence logo, will now occupy this space, replacing the Menu or Windows key.

The decision is part of a more ambitious strategy to make Copilot the center of the operating system and will also have consequences on the interface design of future versions of Windows.