Category Archives: Windows

You can’t turn off Cortana in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update – But…

In this article by PCWorld, they’ll walk you through minimizing Cortana as much as possible, leaving your computer primarily free of its use.  Further, if you only use the File and Contents portion of search anyway, they suggest a great third party solution (GTK has not yet tested it, but will be posting our evaluation within the week).


Posting of PCWorld‘s article

Microsoft made an interesting decision with Windows 10’s Anniversary Update, which is now in its final stages of development before it rolls out on August 2.

Cortana, the personal digital assistant that replaced Windows 10’s search function and taps into Bing’s servers to answer your queries with contextual awareness, no longer has an off switch in Windows 10 Home and Pro.

The impact on you at home: Similar to how Microsoft blocked Google compatibility with Cortana, the company is now cutting off the plain vanilla search option. That actually makes a certain of amount of sense. Unless you turned off all the various cloud-connected bits of Windows 10, there’s not a ton of difference between Cortana and the operating system’s basic search capabilities.

Microsoft even says as much: “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.”

In fact, the biggest functional difference is that Cortana is far more useful than plain search thanks to the digital assistant’s handy voice commands, reminders, the ability to send text messages, and so on. That said, Microsoft’s move is probably less about the practical differences between Cortana and search, and more about pushing people to use Cortana.

But what if you still don’t want to use Cortana at all?

Refusing to download the Anniversary Update is not an option. You can delay it, but since Windows 10 updates are mandatory for home users, you’ll eventually receive the update.

“Cortana works best when you sign in, but if you choose not to, you can still use her to chat, search the web and your Windows device,” Microsoft told PCWorld. “If you like, you can also easily hide Cortana and the search box in the taskbar altogether.”

Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet notes, ironically, that Cortana is off by default and cannot be turned on in specific editions of Windows 10 for education, even with the Anniversary Update applied. But unless you work for an educational institution, you won’t be able to use them.)

Set limits on Cortana

You can also take a few steps to limit Cortana’s reach on your system. First, head to Start > Settings > Privacy > Speech, inking, & typing. Now click on Stop getting to know me and then select Turn off. This effectively makes Cortana deaf to the sound of your voice as well as blind to your typing history and—for stylus wielders— handwriting patterns. It also turns off system-wide dictation.

If you’re going to keep the search box on your taskbar open Cortana and then click on the settings cog in the lower-right corner. On Cortana’s settings screen, disable every slider that can be set to Off, such as search history and device history. That helps prevent some data usage and tracking, but Cortana will still be working.

To wipe Cortana’s memory of you, click on Change what Cortana knows about me in the cloud, which is at the very top of the settings panel. On the next screen, scroll down to the bottom and click Clear. This orders Microsoft to delete any information it has saved about you via Cortana, including personal interests, browsing history, and so on. If you’re going to use Cortana but feel uneasy about its data collection you should clear this option periodically.

You can even get rid of Cortana’s presence entirely, as Microsoft said. To do this right-click on the Cortana search box, and select “Hidden”. (Note that if you leave “Hey Cortana” turned on, the Cortana box will re-appear when you say those words, or you can use the Cortana app.)

After that’s done you can also go to Bing Maps to edit your saved places (if you have any) as well as Bing’s search history page to clear information stored about your search habits.

Use an alternative

If you’re still unsatisfied after you’ve crippled as much of Cortana as possible, consider ditching it completely and going with a third-party system search utility instead. If you aren’t using Cortana’s web-connected features all you really need is file and folder search, anyway.

One of our favorite third-party search tools is Everything. This wonderful donationware is small, simple, easy to use, and (most importantly) fast. You can also pin Everything to your taskbar to make searching as easy as Microsoft’s built-in solution.

Of course, another alternative is to dump Windows 10 altogether and switch to Linux. That’s certainly a valid alternative—as commenters on this article will no doubt mention before long. PCWorld’s guide to the best Linux distros for beginners and Windows XP refugees can help get you up to speed if you decide to opt for that drastic solution.

Updated at 4:54 PM to add a statement from Microsoft as well as a tip to hide the Cortana search box altogether. Updated again at 9:55 AM on July 29 to note that Cortana is off by default in specific editions of Windows 10 for educators.


CREDITS


  • Ian Paul Contributor

    Ian Paul

Follow me on Google+

Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn’t like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he’s not covering the news he’s working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.
More by

Windows 10 Hot Keys

Here are the great majority of Windows 10 Hot-Keys, if not all.


Keyboard  Shortcut

Action

Windows key Open or close Start Menu.
Windows key + A Open Action center.
Windows key + C Open Cortana in listening mode.
Windows key + D Display and hide the desktop.
Windows key + E Open File Explorer.
Windows key + G Open Game bar when a game is open.
Windows key + H Open the Share charm.
Windows key + I Open Settings.
Windows key + K Open the Connect quick action.
Windows key + L Lock your PC or switch accounts.
Windows key + M Minimize all windows.
Windows key + R Open Run dialog box.
Windows key + S Open Search.
Windows key + U Open Ease of Access Center.
Windows key + X Open Quick Link menu.
Windows key + Number Open the app pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number.
Windows key + Left arrow key Snap app windows left.
Windows key + Right arrow key Snap app windows right.
Windows key + Up arrow key Maximize app windows.
Windows key + Down arrow key Minimize app windows.
Windows key + Comma Temporarily peek at the desktop.
Windows key + Ctrl +D Add a virtual desktop.
Windows key + Ctrl + Left or Right arrow Switch between virtual desktops.
Windows key + Ctrl + F4 Close current virtual desktop.
Windows key + Enter Open Narrator.
Windows key + Home Minimize all but the active desktop window (restores all windows on second stroke).
Windows key + PrtScn Capture a screenshot and save in Screenshots folder.
Windows key + Shift + Up arrow Stretch the desktop window to the top and bottom of the screen.
Windows key + Tab Open Task view.
Windows key + “+” key Zoom in using the magnifier.
Windows key + “-” key Zoom out using the magnifier.
Ctrl + Shift + Esc Open Task Manager.
Alt + Tab Switch between open apps.
Alt + Left arrow key Go back.
Alt + Right arrow key Go forward.
Alt + Page Up Move up one screen.
Alt + Page down Move down one screen.
Ctrl + Alt +Tab View open apps
Ctrl + C Copy selected items to clipboard.
Ctrl + X Cut selected items.
Ctrl + V Paste content from clipboard.
Ctrl + A Select all content.
Ctrl + Z Undo an action.
Ctrl + Y Redo an action.
Ctrl + D Delete the selected item and move it to the Recycle Bin.
Ctrl + Esc Open the Start Menu.
Ctrl + Shift Switch the keyboard layout.
Ctrl + Shift + Esc Open Task Manager.
Ctrl + F4 Close the active window.

 

Keyboard shortcut
Action
Windows key Open or close Start Menu.
Windows key + A Open Action center.
Windows key + C Open Cortana in listening mode.
Windows key + D Display and hide the desktop.
Windows key + E Open File Explorer.
Windows key + G Open Game bar when a game is open.
Windows key + H Open the Share charm.
Windows key + I Open Settings.
Windows key + K Open the Connect quick action.
Windows key + L Lock your PC or switch accounts.
Windows key + M Minimize all windows.
Windows key + R Open Run dialog box.
Windows key + S Open Search.
Windows key + U Open Ease of Access Center.
Windows key + X Open Quick Link menu.
Windows key + Number Open the app pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number.
Windows key + Left arrow key Snap app windows left.
Windows key + Right arrow key Snap app windows right.
Windows key + Up arrow key Maximize app windows.
Windows key + Down arrow key Minimize app windows.
Windows key + Comma Temporarily peek at the desktop.
Windows key + Ctrl +D Add a virtual desktop.
Windows key + Ctrl + Left or Right arrow Switch between virtual desktops.
Windows key + Ctrl + F4 Close current virtual desktop.
Windows key + Enter Open Narrator.
Windows key + Home Minimize all but the active desktop window (restores all windows on second stroke).
Windows key + PrtScn Capture a screenshot and save in Screenshots folder.
Windows key + Shift + Up arrow Stretch the desktop window to the top and bottom of the screen.
Windows key + Tab Open Task view.
Windows key + “+” key Zoom in using the magnifier.
Windows key + “-” key Zoom out using the magnifier.
Ctrl + Shift + Esc Open Task Manager.
Alt + Tab Switch between open apps.
Alt + Left arrow key Go back.
Alt + Right arrow key Go foward.
Alt + Page Up Move up one screen.
Alt + Page down Move down one screen.
Ctrl + Alt +Tab View open apps
Ctrl + C Copy selected items to clipboard.
Ctrl + X Cut selected items.
Ctrl + V Paste content from clipboard.
Ctrl + A Select all content.
Ctrl + Z Undo an action.
Ctrl + Y Redo an action.
Ctrl + D Delete the selected item and move it to the Recycle Bin.
Ctrl + Esc Open the Start Menu.
Ctrl + Shift Switch the keyboard layout.
Ctrl + Shift + Esc Open Task Manager.
Ctrl + F4 Close the active window.

Troubles Upgrading to Windows 10?

Try downloading the Media Creation Tool which allows you to download Windows 10, create a USB, DVD and other formats, then install it from your created source. You should have a very broadband connection or plenty of time on your “regular” connection as this is a huge download.
.
If this doesn’t help, message us and we’ll be happy to assist you.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10