alert banner

ISSUE 20.49.1 • 2023-12-07
MS-DEFCON 2: Copilot for Christmas


By Susan Bradley

The upcoming December updates will begin Microsoft’s process of dribbling out Windows Copilot.

No question here — I’m raising the MS-DEFCON level to 2.

I’m not sure I understand why Copilot needed to be so deeply embedded in Windows, at least right now. It’s obvious that putting the guts of AI support into the operating system is inevitable, because Microsoft’s apps are rapidly evolving to include Copilot.

However, Microsoft’s icon for Copilot still includes the “PRE” badge, which in effect signals that we’re all still beta testers for a Copilot preview. Besides, with your Microsoft account and Edge, you can play around with Copilot at low risk. Even that generates some uncertainty, because I’ve seen Copilot in Bing deliver wrong answers.

Maybe the bugs should be worked out before Copilot is welded permanently to Windows.

Here are a few general things to keep in mind about Copilot.

  1. Copilot is Microsoft’s chatbot that you can use to ask questions.
  2. Copilot is going to be dribbled out to any unmanaged Windows 10 or 11 machine first. Microsoft defines “unmanaged” as any PC not controlled by corporate patching tools such as WSUS, Intune, or third-party patching platforms. In short, if you rely on Windows Update and are in North America, you will be offered Copilot soon — if you haven’t already.
  3. If you are a user with Windows 10 or 11 Home editions, you can disable the Copilot Taskbar icon in Settings or via the Registry. You cannot uninstall it, nor can you use a third-party tool to uninstall it. You can just ignore it, or you can right-click the Taskbar and uncheck Show Copilot (preview) button.
  4. I personally prefer the registry key method to proactively disable Copilot. All the information about this is available in my recent Knowledge Base post Blocking Copilot in Windows 10 and 11 Home sku.
  5. If you have Windows 10 professional in a home or standalone setting, you can use local group policy to turn off Copilot. But the ability to turn it off becomes available only with the December updates, a bit of a Catch-22. Therefore, I don’t recommend installing ADML or ADMX files onto your computer manually. Instead, let Microsoft install its policy updates, then manually adjust them later.

If you have multiple displays, the Copilot preview may not be offered to you. There is currently a bug that causes desktop icons to move unexpectedly between displays or causes other icon-alignment issues. I’m not yet aware of a resolution for this problem.

Consumer and home users

Now is the time to defer the upcoming December updates, ensure you have a backup of your machine, and review third-party tools you may be using to adjust the Start Menu or File Explorer on either Windows 10 or 11. The November updates were not kind to those using older tools for these purposes. Ask for guidance in the forums about which tools have handled the updates well. I use Start10 and Start11, which have handled the updates well.

The December updates for Windows 10 also increase the size of News and Interests. As Microsoft notes:

The news and interests feature on your device is now larger! This will help you use the feature more effectively and show the content you care about most on a larger scale.

I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

HP Smart Print

This month, Microsoft pushed out HP Smart print to many unmanaged computers that didn’t even have HP printers installed. I have Lexmark printers connected to my home PCs. Now, any time I print to either of them, the HP Smart app pops up instead of the Lexmark app indicating the status of the print jobs. Yes, HP Smart can be easily removed in Settings | Apps | Apps & Features. But it concerns me that someone in charge of application deployment at Microsoft wasn’t paying closer enough attention to detail. I hope Microsoft will automatically fix this, but I’m not holding my breath. Microsoft has acknowledged the issue and is investigating. I’ll have more on this in the next Patch Watch column.

Business users

For business users, the good news is that we tend to not get the same “oopsies” that Consumers see. At the office, I haven’t seen the HP Smart app silently install. I haven’t seen Copilot installed on managed Windows 10 or 11 devices unless a Windows 11 PC has been upgraded to 23H2. (Remember: I still do not recommend Windows 11 23H2.)

We will probably get a quieter December release than normal, due to the fact that Microsoft will be in its “holiday” mode — when many of its employees go on vacation.

Because of minimal operations during the Western holidays and the upcoming new year, there won’t be a non-security preview release for the month of December 2023. There will be a monthly security release for December 2023. Normal monthly servicing for both security and non-security preview releases will resume in January 2024.

Microsoft also appears to have pushed out metadata changes to print naming. These impact the name of the printer but not the driver. Reports from some system administrators indicate that “… all printers in the control printers interface reporting as HP M101-104s. It was reported as being seen on a handful of mixed servers (both 2022 and 2016 so far).”

It does not appear to be related to any specific updates. Rather, it’s a metadata change that came down via the Microsoft store. Microsoft has acknowledged the issue.

Perhaps a bigger Christmas gift for us all is Microsoft’s stated intention to offer Extended Security Updates (ESU) for Windows 10. No details are yet available. I will obviously be watching this closely.

Don’t forget that in January, the final enforcement of KB5008383 will be in effect. If you run an active directory domain, remember to review your event logs and monitor the Directory Service event log for 3044-3056 events on domain controllers.

Here’s hoping that the upcoming year will prove to be more stable and boring for us all.



Talk Bubbles Join the conversation! Your questions, comments, and feedback
about this alert are always welcome in our forums!

Susan Bradley is the publisher of the AskWoody newsletters.

The AskWoody Newsletters are published by AskWoody Tech LLC, Fresno, CA USA.

Your subscription:

Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. AskWoody,, Windows Secrets Newsletter,, WinFind, Windows Gizmos, Security Baseline, Perimeter Scan, Wacky Web Week, the Windows Secrets Logo Design (W, S or road, and Star), and the slogan Everything Microsoft Forgot to Mention all are trademarks and service marks of AskWoody Tech LLC. All other marks are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

Copyright ©2023 AskWoody Tech LLC. All rights reserved.