DoNotSpy11, a free anti-tracking tool that aims to keep your privacy levels tighter in Windows 11 (and 10), just got an update that allows it to deal with Copilot – as did O&O ShutUp10 (we’ll come back to that later).
The 23H2 update comes with Copilot, as you may be aware, and drops the AI into your taskbar as a default icon. If you don’t want that, DoNotSpy11 now allows you to disable that button – although you can already do this in Windows 11 anyway.
However, beyond that, DoNotSpy11 has an option to entirely ‘Disable Copilot’ which is a new introduction in the app’s raft of measures for maintaining privacy.
There are a lot more privacy options here besides that, including disabling various elements of Windows 11 telemetry (data on usage of the OS sent back to Microsoft), getting rid of lock screen notifications, disabling widgets, and more.
DoNotSpy11 also makes a big effort to tackle a lot of Microsoft’s attempts to sneak adverts into the UI of Windows 11. That includes disabling ads in File Explorer, suggestions in Windows Ink Workspace and the Settings app, as well as Start Menu app suggestions, and more besides.
Another similar offering, O&O ShutUp10 (which supports Windows 11 as well as Windows 10), tackles Windows privacy issues and tweaks settings to evade Microsoft’s telemetry in a similar vein.
That app was recently updated to also disable Copilot, and remove the taskbar button.
Analysis: Two long-standing options
Both DoNotSpy11 and O&O ShutUp10 have been around for some time (indeed, the former used to be DoNotSpy10 before Windows 11 existed).
We should note that the original version (the initial DoNotSpy10 for Windows 10) allegedly carried an advert-pushing plugin (ironically, for something designed to keep your privacy). This wasn’t malware, but we’re told it was identified by some antivirus apps as a potentially unwanted program (or PUP). At least the free version of DoNotSpy10 had this anyway, when it first launched, but that’s no longer the case (the product description of DoNotSpy11 is clearly marked as ’ad-free’ thankfully).
One advantage of the alternative O&O ShutUp10++ is that it doesn’t have to be installed – it can just be run directly from the download folder, which is useful.
However, in either case, you proceed at your own risk, although that’s true for any piece of third-party software for Windows 11.
Having the ability to ditch Copilot is certainly going to be a tempter for some folks who don’t want the AI on their desktop. While many users are embracing Copilot, and are excited about its potential, there will always be more cautious types who don’t want the AI on their desktop – particularly not now, in its initial stages, when Copilot’s powers to interact with Windows 11 settings are still very limited.