Windows 10 Cortana

Cortana on the Desktop

I have a new friend! In the Windows 10 Technical Preview Cortana is now a feature on the desktop.


She talks and responds in writing. But most importantly she responds to spoken questions. She does confine herself to a panel above the search box on the taskbar. The panel is reminiscent of the looks of a smart phone. Cortana does not work on my Windows Phone, a Lumia 900 which I got way,way back and can’t run the current phone Windows.

Cortana-10But back to the desktop. Cortana introduced herself as you can see in the illustration above. The response button is rather hard to read. Hey, Microsoft, black text on dark blue doesn’t work well at all! Clicking Allow brought up a short dialog between the two of us.

Actually, Cortana pronounced my name the first time as well or better than many of my friends and colleagues do. Trying to improve on the pronunciation, I followed the instructions. Shortly I got this response:


The interesting part here is the reference to “Notebook”. With each version of Windows there have been new names of features to learn. There were “Charms” and other things not so long ago. This was new to me, but clicking – I still do that, tapping will come when I have a touch monitor – the Windows icon brought this up, the new Start menu:


The “Settings” option was right there near the top. That detour went fine. Cortana and I are on a first name basis. However, that was not really what was meant by “Notebook”, I will get back to that in just a bit.

Here is something very interesting: I have two Windows 10 test machines, both virtual machines. When I set up Cortana in the second machine, she remembered the questions I had asked her in the first machine. Nice!

Now back to that “Notebook” reference. There is a “hamburger” icon in the upper left of the Cortana dialog panel, the new symbol for “menu”. That link gets to the settings and other things.


Cortana diligently responds to “hey Cortana”, but does not always answer my next request. There is a bit of a learning curve, but this speech input search method is a nice new feature.

That’s it for now. I need to spend some time with my new friend.


© 2015 Ludwig Keck

About Ludwig

Lending a helping hand where I can. . . My motto: If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
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