Microsoft Forces Cortana Always On In Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Cortana, the voice-controlled personal digital assistant that helps you find things on your PC and the web, is getting a promotion from an on-call employee to full-time status. That's to stay you won't be able to turn Cortana off once Microsoft rolls out its Anniversary Update for Windows 10, which is scheduled to arrive on August 2, 2016.

"With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, the search box is now Cortana," Microsoft said in a statement. "Customers can expect the same great search experience powered by Bing and Microsoft Edge with the added benefit of Cortana’s personality."


This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Cortana in Windows 10 is essentially a better, more sophisticated version of search. Using voice commands, you can have Cortana set reminders, fire off text messages, look up files and programs, manage your calendar, and a host of other time saving functions. She'll even tell jokes. Here's a short list of some the things you can say to Cortana:
  • How old are you?
  • Tell me a joke.
  • Show me the latest NBA scores.
  • How many calories in a boiled egg?
  • Put swimming on my calendar for tomorrow.
  • Change my 3 PM event to 4.
  • What's happening this weekend?
Despite the added capabilities that Cortana brings to search, not everyone is going to be stoked that Microsoft is removing the on/off toggle. If you're not a fan of Cortana, the next best thing is to hide the toolbar, which you'll still be able to after the Anniversary Update. You can also limit Cortana's searches to just your local machine so that she doesn't fetch results from Bing. There will be a few other toggles to play with as well, you just won't be able to disable Cortana altogether.