You can now use ChatGPT on Windows 11 without ever opening your browser

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Windows PowerToys strikes again with a brand-new update, introducing a huge change to how ChatGPT will function through the Windows 11 OS.

Windows Central reported that the PowerToys widget will introduce a new plugin to allow for direct access to the Open AI-based application without having to run a browser first. This is a huge development, as it makes ChatGPT more accessible for Windows 11. It also allows users to bypass any aggressive browser promotion from Microsoft Edge, which has become a notable problem in recent years.

ChatGPT plugin developer Simone Franco is behind the plugin and posted the process through the GitHub page for PowerToys. The plugin integrates through PowerToys Run, a search launcher for files, folders, and apps. Though it’s in its early stages with plenty of fine-tuning to go before it’s ready, this is a promising tool that lets users go right from desktop to ChatGPT. 

Edge and Bing don't stand a chance

Microsoft has become more aggressive in the promotion of its Edge browser and, by extension, the Bing AI application that goes hand in hand with it. For instance, after a browser update, Edge will prompt you with a full-page ad that asks you to make Edge your default browser.

And with a recent Windows 11 update adding an AI-powered search box in the taskbar, it turns Bing into an ad, forcing people to use the Microsoft search engine by default. However, with this new tool, users can completely bypass forced advertisements and go straight for the application they want. In this case ChatGPT. 

It isn’t perfect of course, as you need an OpenAI account as well as a randomly generated OpenAI API key, but both steps only need to be completed once and then you have near-instant access to the AI chatbot tool. And even better, you only need a keyboard shortcut to summon it, making it even more convenient.

PowerToys dropping excellent Windows updates

It’s almost ironic then that a widget that functions through the Microsoft OS would help you bypass Microsoft OS issues, though it helps that PowerToys is an open-source suite of tools rather than a browser or search engine.

As such, this isn’t the only time we’ve gotten some handy new features through the widget. For instance, in February 2023, it introduced the much-needed "paste as plain text" option to both Windows 11 and Windows 10, which works in any app where PowerToys works. 

Another excellent feature, introduced in February 2022, was the mouse crosshair tool that lets users quickly find their mouse cursor using the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl + Alt + P). And bundled in that same update were two new File Explorer add-ons that dramatically expanded the number of file types supported by the preview pane.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.