Cortana – Search Companion

Search is definitely important on the internet and it has become even more so on the desktop for some. Desktop storage has become so large that you may not remember where you have stored everything. Enter Cortana.

Cortana Main Screen

Cortana Main Screen

Windows 10 comes with Cortana installed by default (well not everywhere, more on that later) and sits right on the taskbar. Windows used to put search inside the start menu but I’m sure the feeling is to have it outside of that menu would make it more accessible and used. The jury is out on that, but Cortana does so much that perhaps if you give it a try, you might find it indispensable.

To use the basics of Cortana, Search, you can simply type in the box. It is how you typically use any search right? Well Cortana does provide a great alternative. If you have a mic/webcam with mic, you can being a search with your voice and “Hey Cortana” prefacing your query. “She” can respond to you vocally in some cases but mostly will display the answer in its slim (phone-like) view. The search will not only search your system but can search the internet.

Cortana's notebook

Cortana’s notebook

Cortana - Search Results example

Cortana – Search Results example

While searching for files might be it’s primary role it does provide a few other features. You can use it as a launcher for programs, just type part of the programs name and it will show up and you can launch with a quick tap of the enter key (or click the correct choice). This can be far faster than using the start menu’s conventional listing or tiles.

Cortana also contains a notebook. This allows you to select different topics and points of interest for Cortana to display information for you. So simply it can be a news service for you, a weather service or even help you find a restaurant nearby that you enjoy. It really is quite versatile using the power of Bing in several different ways. Initially you have to set-up Cortana so you can even have it call you a different name if you wish.

Finally Cortana has a spot to set-up reminders by Time, Place or Person. I have yet to use this feature so I can’t say how good or bad it is or how it works. It seems a great idea to have it included.

Cortana Food Selection

Cortana Food Selection

Cortana Settings

Cortana Settings

An oddball thing about Cortana is that parts of the interface are black background, part are white. It could be because currently I am using a preview edition of Windows 10 – let me know if you see the same thing.

Cortana on the whole is a great addition to Windows, but if you don’t want it around it can be hidden. I just don’t know why you wouldn’t bother. Heck it can be a load of fun just asking it to “tell you a joke” or “sing me a song”. There are many fun things you can do with it, just check out here for information it >> Fun Questions or statements to say to Cortana.


51-yr-old father of 3, work in telemarketing, like computers and technology

Posted in Windows 8

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