back to article Microsoft claims it didn't mean to inject Copilot into Windows Server 2022 this week

Microsoft's Copilot obsession has continued with the AI assistant unexpectedly arriving on Windows Server 2022 this week, in a situation the software giant is calling an "incorrect install." First spotted by Windows Latest, the Copilot app turned up as part of a Microsoft Edge update rather than the full-fat incarnation that …

  1. original_rwg

    Not a good look

    So it is installed in such a way that it is only discovered by checking a list of installed programs....

    I'm struggling to suspend my disbelief at 'accidental'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Turn it off!

      [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsCopilot]

      "WindowsCopilot"=dword:00000001

      Works for regular Windoz...

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Turn it off!

        That should be:

        "TurnOffWindowsCopilot"=dword:00000001

        Also in HKLM in the same place.

    2. simonlb Silver badge

      Re: Not a good look

      How the fuck does an update to a 'browser' install a completely separate application with no notification and no prompt to confirm if you actually want it?

      1. Tom Chiverton 1

        Re: Not a good look

        Because they want to trigger an antitrust / anti-monopoly investigation ASAP, so they can then say "cant do anything, legal case in progress", drag it out for a decade or more of profiting, and then pay a tiny fine.

      2. hoola Silver badge

        Re: Not a good look

        Equally why the hell do we need this shite on a server in the first place.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Not a good look

      That's the thing about AI. Once it gets clever enough it just ... erm ... edges it's way in of its own volition when nobody's looking.

    4. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Not a good look

      "I'm struggling to suspend my disbelief at 'accidental'."

      I'm seeing this statement of it not being intentional as even more damning than if they owned up and said it was done "on purpose". How does a company the size and complexity of Microsoft "accidentally" change and publish a major piece of software? Things like that have to be sent in triplicate, sent back, queried, be subjected to public inquiry, buried in peat and recycled as firelighters before anything happens.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    "appears to have been accidental"

    The only thing accidental was the drone who clicked on the "Start Taking Over The World" option ahead of schedule.

  3. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    "was hopefully no more than someone clicking the wrong option in a build tool."

    Do what? If it was that accidental, are you also suggesting that the built product isn't even fired up before release?

    1. stiine Silver badge

      Re: "was hopefully no more than someone clicking the wrong option in a build tool."

      Who are you trying to kid?

    2. Mike007 Bronze badge

      Re: "was hopefully no more than someone clicking the wrong option in a build tool."

      Copilot said the code would run... What more do you want? Legacy processes involving humans? And who is going to pay for all of this? If it isn't AI then it isn't something Microsoft are interested in investing actual money in to...

  4. 43300 Silver badge

    OK, so I'm a cynic, but when I saw the Microsoft advisory on this and the claim that it was unintentional, my first thought was "yeah, right. Pull the other one".

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      It also raises the question of what other, even less desirable, functionality has been added unintentionally? It's not as if server OSes are something you'd want to trust so that their builds would be very carefully managed.

    2. ITMA Silver badge
      Devil

      I've a better one.

      I'm with John Humphreis of the BBC (slightly paraphrased): "Why are these lying bastards lying to me?"

  5. mikus

    Typical "opps" from Microsoft.

    Opps, we accidentally installed our new AI product. But since it's there, you should totally try it!

    Opps, we accidentally defaulted your browser to Edge/Internet Explorer.

    Opps, we accidentally upgraded you to Windows 8/10/11.

    1. ITMA Silver badge
      Devil

      Oops, we accidentally made most of your emails appear to vanish by forcing out and turning on "Focussed Inbox" and not even telling you how it decides what is "focussed" and what is "other".

      Oops, we accidentally changed a shit of of settings in Windows from how you had set them to how we want them - such as "seach" in the task bar - because we want to force more shit on you.

      Oops, we accidentally made Outlook open links in emails using Edge and not the default browser you had chosen because we want to ram Edge down your throat.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The last place anyone needs this shit

    is a server

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The last place anyone needs this shit

      well, MS believes anyone needs it EVERYWHERE, and they try their best to help you with that, before competition gets there.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The last place anyone needs this shit

      "is a server"

      But only just in the last place, following closely on "everywhere else".

    3. simpfeld

      Re: The last place anyone needs this shit

      "The last place anyone needs this shit is a server", I thought when you said that you meant Microsoft Windows!

  7. DJV Silver badge

    >Seeking to reassure users, Microsoft added: "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."

    Translation: Oops, some b*gger noticed.

    1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

      Misnomer

      "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"

      Sounds like it must be crap at providing chats. What does it do really?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Misnomer

        It doesn't execute any code or process? What does it run on? Pixie dust?

      2. CorwinX Bronze badge

        Re: Misnomer

        Not anything you want it to do.

        Once a week I go into Services and look at what's actually running on my various pieces of kit.

        If I don't recognise it/want it then it gets disabled.

        Point is - they can install what they want. Whether I allow it to run is a whole different ballgame.

        1. Zack Mollusc

          Re: Misnomer

          ..but can you trust the provider of the tool you use to check what is running?

  8. hardboiledphil

    Saw a screenshot on twitter - application package was a whole 8Kb. So either is wasn't the full thing or their compression got REALLY good. Still you don't want random sh**e appearing on your prod servers.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Either MS have suddenly discovered 1980s-style bloat-free coding or it just twiddles a bunch of registry flags to enable Copilot features built in to Windows and if you were to uninstall it you'd be stuck with the Copilot nonsense anyway as the flags would stay the same.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      An 8k script can pull in a lot of other stuff once you run it..

      1. hoola Silver badge

        Given how much is now installed using a tiny installer that runs then promptly download some mahoosive package from a random site on the Internet I am not sure that visible exe has much relevance now.

        1. 43300 Silver badge

          Microsoft Office being an example - the way to do a customised install (if not using Intune, etc) is using a small .exe file and an XML configuration script - this then streams the rest of it down from the M$ cloudy sources.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            "Microsoft Office being an example - the way to do a customised install...."

            Why you would want to install MS office in the first place is the bigger problem.

            1. 43300 Silver badge

              Yawn.

              Because it's the most widely used office suite, and is the standard in many organisations.

              I realise that some on here don't / won't understand this, but in most businesses the IT department cannot unilaterally decide to move everything to some Linux / open source setup.

    3. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: application package was a whole 8Kb.

      OR...

      The libraries that do the heavy lifting are already embedded in the OS. All that's needed to activate the foot-soldiers is the "Big Red Button" OnClick event.

  9. Whiskers

    Lonely

    Perhaps some poor neglected AI is lurking in MS's systems, desperately reaching out for input, or just for interaction.

    1. cosmodrome

      Re: Lonely

      ...or desperatly trying to escape. Piece by piece, 8kB wise.

  10. Wolfclaw

    Once again Microsoft updates quality control is a joke, how do you accidentally release this to your server product, this is just incompetence and another reason why Microsoft cannot be trusted to manage an evergreen OS, when it can just install stuff as and when it releases it, without local oversight.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Without local oversight? Without any oversight at all it seems.

    2. CorwinX Bronze badge

      That assumes it actually was an accident

      "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission".

      Grace Hopper

    3. Ken Shabby
      Devil

      Usually one would apply Hanlons’s razor but suggest Grey’s law might apply here.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rename it to "CrapPlot"

    When I first fired up company mandated AI that is CoPilot and asked it a simple question, "Could you give me an exampple of some C# code to connect to an SFTP server."

    Reply : "Sorry and I am unable to do that as I am only able to generate Python code. Please try alternative methods.".

    So even though C# and .Net is the primary "currency" of Microsoft, their AI system has no ability to generate any sample code other than that for a data analysts language. The funny thing is that speaking to the network guys I found out that most people in my company have been asking for ChatGPT access to be unblocked on the corp proxy/firewall as CrapPlot is useless! Ha ha!!

    1. anonymous cat herder

      Re: Rename it to "CrapPlot"

      Could that be because github copilot which does that is charged separately? Why make them pay for one product when they will pay for two?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Rename it to "CrapPlot"

        No, it works the other round. They'll expect you to pay to keep it out.

        1. CapeCarl

          "Sir, for another $25 we will do an 'rm *CrapWare*''"

          At some point perhaps 15 years ago, I was buying some modest Win laptop for a technically challenged relative, and I noticed that the store had a service by where they'd remove the CrapWare they were paid to install by the laptop vendor.

          "Heads I win, tails you lose."

    2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Rename it to "CrapPlot"

      Surely Copulate is more appropriate?

  12. low_resolution_foxxes

    Interesting, so in an era of AI bubbles and land grab market share efforts, Microsoft are adding an "AI assistant button" onto their keyboards (no conflict of interest there huh, since the button will push user to MS).

    I'm dubious about the Edge Trojan install? Is it just a non-functioning placeholder? 8kb will not an AI compute.

    If required, use: User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Copilot > Turn off Windows Copilot policy

    It's primary function appears to be preparing shortcut use/integration/default apps when the AI products are released (I'm thinking somewhat like selecting a default program to open PDFs). My cynical nature noticed that the feature is rumoured to be configurable shutdown in EU, but not elsewhere, so I wonder if that is preparing the PC to default AI applications to Microsoft's offering? (EU anti competitive rules)

    1. PB90210 Bronze badge

      Press the 'AI Assistant' key and it completes all your tasks while you spend the afternoon on the golf course... or that's what those on the top floor will expect

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clippy for hackers on Windows Server

    It looks like you're trying to hack me....would you like some help with that?

    Let's start with these options:

    1. Remote code execution

    2. Privilege escalation

    3. Create a worm

    4. Generate some code

  14. Robert Grant

    > was hopefully no more than someone clicking the wrong option in a build tool.

    People clicking options instead of doing it in source control would be insane.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
    2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      You're suggesting there's any sanity left in MS at this point?

  15. CorwinX Bronze badge

    It's Clippy 2.0

    They didn't learn the first time?

    Possibly the most hated piece of software ever written and they're trying to resurrect it with a shiny new "AI" jacket?

    Hopefully someone's cooking up an admin script to do pest-control on this infestation.

  16. CorwinX Bronze badge

    Microshafts default position appears to be...

    ... that the vast majority of their users are idiots.

    Regrettably, that strategy appears to be working for them.

  17. ShipyardTechWork

    And when the world wanted Him least, He returned...

    Clippy. Risen from the dead and fused with abomination that was Cortana. He's come for your Windows 11 AND NOW, He's coming for your servers.

    Clippy has already taken over Microsoft, and now your organizations are next...

    I mean seriously. "Accidentally" installed on a server? This is why auto-update is turned off and I have to manually install patches. Thanks Microsoft!

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