Cortana: Complete file for Microsoft’s digital assistant

Cortana can be of great help to Windows-based device users. We can activate it in time to meet our needs.

Since 2014, Microsoft has developed a handy tool for Windows-based devices. Specifically, the project started with the release of Windows Phones 8.1. This is Cortana, the digital assistant that was later integrated into Windows 10. It has several useful features to make your devices easier to use, but is less well-known compared to other assistants such as Alexa d’Amazon or Google Assistant. It seems the topic hasn’t got much ink flowing yet. This is how we put this file together to shed more light on the matter. Focus!

What is Cortana?

If you’re using a computer running Windows 10 or 11, you already have Cortana with you. But you can’t pay attention to it yet. However, this wizard can offer you more than just assistance. You can use it to plan your next meeting, search the web, or search your digital files.

The assistant receives commands via text or speech. It relies on Microsoft’s Bing search engine to perform the tasks it is supposed to do. Although the Cortana mobile application has not existed since 2021, it is still functional and evolving thanks to the hard work of the Microsoft team. After various additions and deletions, Cortana can perform many tasks, such as:

  • plan a meeting,
  • research on the internet,
  • search for files on the computer,
  • answer user questions,
  • show the weather
  • set different reminders,
  • show open applications,
  • make calculations and conversions,
  • Write a message,
  • send email etc.

In short, Cortana is pretty much Microsoft’s thing Siri for Apple.

function

Cortana’s system is based on Natural Language Processing or NLP. This allows him to perform the many tasks he is asked to do. Of course, the assistant is integrated into the system. However, you must activate it in order to use it.

To do this, you need to turn on the language, typing, and anchor settings. It also requires location tracking to be enabled. Nevertheless, the user retains control over its use. He can filter the information accessible to Cortana at any time.

To start a conversation with this assistant, start with the wake word “Hey Cortana”. But first you need to enable the language settings. Otherwise, you can press the Windows key and the letter “C” at the same time. You can also directly click the Cortana button next to the search bar in Windows 10.

Once the assistant is activated, the user has the choice to enter their request or question or to command Cortana by voice. The user can use prompts like:

  • Set an alarm for such and such a time
  • What’s the weather like ?
  • Open this or that website, etc.

What features does Cortana have?

Over time, Cortana dropped some features. At the same time, new functions were added.

Removed Features

Cortana has dropped many features that were once found there. These include:

  • read your favorite hits,
  • control of video streaming services,
  • Creating reminders based on location,
  • control of networked home devices,
  • Integration with the Xbox One console.

The reasons for these various deletions are not given anywhere. Luckily, Cortana still has a lot of cool features.

Current features

Today, Microsoft’s digital assistant includes the following features:

  • Natural Speech: The user can ask Cortana to perform a specific task using speech. In this case, plain English should be used.
  • Multitasking: Cortana can do many tasks at the same time. You can request one task in writing and another verbally after turning on the device’s microphone.
  • Integrated with Microsoft Edge: The user can ask Cortana to show more information about a specific term or phrase in the Microsoft Edge browser. In this case, he must emphasize it in the text.
  • Create reminders: Cortana can create reminders by pulling information from users’ inboxes. It is connected to Office 365, Gmail and Outlook.com.
  • Calendar management: This functionality is linked to Outlook. Based on the information provided by this application, the user can manage their schedule. So he can make appointments on behalf of the user or block time for a meeting.
  • Accessibility: When the user receives a new email, Cortana can read its preview. It can even go so far that prioritized emails are read. This feature also allows the app to find the right time to host a meeting.

Easily turn Cortana on and off

Windows 10 and 11 devices come with Cortana. This way it no longer needs to be installed. However, it must be activated before use. We’ve already mentioned its activation, but in this section we’ll go into the details.

Enable Cortana

There is already a “Cortana” button on the Windows computer’s taskbar that needs to be pressed to activate it. You can also press C and Windows at the same time. Both types of activation are manual. But what about voice activation?

It’s easier tooActivate Cortana by voice. To do this, the microphone of the computer must first be activated. This is the easiest way to order this virtual assistant from Microsoft. Before you start your query, you must first invoke it by saying: ” Hello Cortana “.

The voice command is activated via the settings on your computer. Once inside, you must click “ Talk to Cortana “. At the same time, you can enable or disable the answer linking options.

deactivation

If activation is required before use, it must also be deactivated when you no longer use it. The deactivation is different depending on the Windows version.

On a Windows 10 computer, you need to go to Settings. Then click ” privacy ” then ” microphone “. To disable the digital assistant, its access to the computer’s microphone must be disabled.

If the device is running Windows 11, there is a slight difference. You must start by clicking ” settings “. Then you must ” cortana in the app search bar. Once you’ve accessed Cortana, you’ll need to go to the “ Expanded options to disable the assistant.

The reactivation steps are the same for Windows 10 and 11. Just follow the same protocol as for activation. Note that Cortana is disabled by default in Windows 11.

How can Cortana help you?

There are many benefits to using Cortana, here are some of them. For starters, it offers easy access to websites or files/folders stored on your computer. Therefore, you will no longer be bothered by the various searches on your computer or on the Internet.

In addition, Cortana can replace your calendar, it infiltrates your inboxes to create reminders of your next activities. If you enable location tracking, you can create reminders that take into account the date and location where the event takes place. However, you can restrict access on your device.

If you want to know what’s in one of your priority emails, you can just ask them. It’s even able to send a text message to your contacts. In short, Cortana helps you multitask and makes your Windows 10 or 11 device easier to use.

What future do we have in store for Cortana?

At the very beginning of its launch, Cortana was seen as a direct competitor to other voice assistants such asalexa and Siri. Over time, it lost more and more functions. Cortana mobile app has been discontinued in some countries like Germany and UK since 2020.

Apart from that, 2020 was also marked by the removal of the Xbox interface. This further limits the field of application. But Microsoft didn’t stop there. He even decided to permanently remove the application from the App Stores, Apple Store and Google Play. The string of crashes also includes playing music and controlling other connected devices.

Also, since the launch of Windows 11, Cortana is no longer enabled by default. It is no longer pinned to the taskbar as it was in the previous version of Windows. If we think about its gradual withdrawals, we can think that unlike its direct competitors, namely Alexa, Siri and Cortana, doesn’t promise much in the future Google Assistant.

These voice assistants can also integrate with platform-specific applications and perform many other tasks, such as finding nearby points of interest. While the three want to continue their way in language assistance, Cortana continues to lose functionality.

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