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Microsoft is moving Cortana out of Windows 10 search and into the Action Center

Microsoft is planning a major overhaul of the Cortana experience on Windows 10, according to sources familiar with the matter. We already know that Microsoft is building a chat-based UI for Cortana, and now we're starting to hear more about Microsoft's plans in this area. Some big changes are reportedly coming, including debranding Cortana from Windows Search and moving Cortana's home experience into the Action Center and System Tray instead.

Cortana already handles a lot of the notifications that pop up on your PC, so from a user-experience perspective, moving Cortana into the Action Center makes sense. This move also goes hand-in-hand with the chat-based UI mentioned above, which puts a text-conversation interaction model front and center rather than encouraging voice engagement. People don't like speaking to their PCs, and Microsoft knows this. Prompting users to type is more likely to garner use.

Cortana to find new home in Action Center

According to my sources, the Cortana and Action Center combination will allow users to filter between or see Cortana's cards and notifications together. Cortana's new chat-based UI will also live in the Action Center as Microsoft going to be moving Quick Actions out of the Action Center and into a new, dedicated Control Center. This is something we exclusively revealed back in May 2017, and should make room for the new Cortana additions that are being introduced in that space.

I'm also told Microsoft is working on an updated design for the Action Center that will better fit Cortana's features and new chat-based UI. Of course, users will still be able to use voice commands to interact with Cortana, with features like "Hey Cortana" remaining intact. It is likely that the addition of Cortana in the Action Center will see the entire Action Center get rebranded, as the "Quick Actions" are moving out of the Action Center anyway.

In fact, Microsoft has already taken the first steps in moving Cortana into the Action Center. The latest Redstone 4 Insider Preview builds feature a change where Cortana's proactive content appears in the Action Center instead of Cortana's home area in Windows Search. This is just the start of what Microsoft is cooking up internally.

It's worth noting that Windows Search will still be powered by Cortana's backend. The significant changes here are that Cortana's entry point is moving from Windows Search into the Action Center which replaces the voice-orientated interaction model with a text conversation one. I believe Microsoft is hoping to get these changes out in time for Redstone 5 in the fall of this year, but as always, those plans could change.

The great news is that Microsoft appears to be finally debranding Cortana from Windows Search. Ever since Windows 10 launched, one of the biggest sore-points for users was how Cortana was a dominant part of the search experience. These upcoming changes should remove the unnecessary Cortana additions within Windows Search and give them their own home in the Action Center.

This is also great for Cortana, as it gives it it's own distinct home on the taskbar. Currently, Cortana is muddled up with Windows Search, and unless you're active in the tech bubble you likely don't even know Cortana exists. Now Cortana will have it's own icon on the taskbar. If one thing is for sure, Microsoft has no plans on backing down in the virtual assistant market. These upcoming changes are all in the name of making Cortana better and more noticeable.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

183 Comments
  • not sure if its a good idea to separte windows/desktop related searches from cortana. imo there should be an unified search experience. not 2 separated ones
  • These Cortana changes means Cortana will no longer be used for search. You search Windows with the dedicated search area, and you use Cortana for things like reminders, home automation, the notebook, etc. It gives Cortana a specific task: being your virtual assistant.
  • I wonder if it would affect the Cortana and Edge integration which I use a lot.  Cortana and PWA integration will be a very important feature also.  Cortana speaker may not do well, but its integration with Edge, MS Calendar, Spotify, IoT devices and PWAs provides unique productivity values.  The separation between Cortana and Search could make the abandonment of Cortana easier in the future if needed.  I hope it will never happen.  I start using Cortana control for Spotify a lot since its activation.
  • The separation and instead merging with the action centre is a good way help engagement while also making it much more accessible and user friendly. 
  • I pose this question to both you and Dan. With the deep integration of Alexis in PCs coming and the partnership between MS and Amazon, this seems that there may be an acquisition at some point. It just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, when there is a close partnership between two AI assistants within the same environment. Do you guys in your professional opinion, think this will help or hurt the Cortona branding and usefulness as an AI assistant within home or office? I understand that Cortana is simply the AI branding to Bing search, but it just seems like one will have to concede to the other at some point in the not too far off future. Thoughts or insight?
  • Microsoft *might* be creating a new API that allows any "AI" assistant to take the place of Cortana. l could see that giving them some long-term traction in that it could get users on board with the whole virtual assistant thing. Then later they would just have to get users to switch back to Cortana (although I suspect there Won't be that many using Alexa on Windows anyway).
  • She's graduating!
  • Zac, by the responses here, it seems there's real confusion about how MS could separate Cortana as a Virtual Assistant from Cortana as a search tool. It looks like the messaging on this will be difficult to get right without creating the perception that Cortana is being phased out, even if ultimately this results in a simpler and better system for many people. In your future pieces, could you spend some more time helping explain this to us?
  • Fully agree, this a great new home for Cortana 
  • As long as I can still search the web in the same place I search for files
  • Yeah. Also you could prolly still say, "hey Cortana, search the web for ..." And it will work
  • Yeah, but I get my real assistant to search for things all the time!  Decoupling Cortana runs the risk of taking her out of the everyday experience for PC users.  Once they do that they pave the way for Alexa or Siri to fill the vacuum.  PC users are a hard to please lot.  They complain about change, then try it, then find out its useful, then they get used to it, and then by the time MS reacts to the initial feedback, they whinge when they take it away.  Just look at the pattern of responses to when XP was introduced and when XP was replaced.  
  • Sooo true!
  • Exactly, in reality I believe it's about getting accustom to using your voice assistant instead of needing to do all that typing which I do like doing anyway. The Windows On Arms should be a tool that allow Cortana capabilities to grow.
  • I completely disagree. Why should they be two separate things? If Cortana helps you search for relevant web content, or reminders for emails based on key words or phrases, why not local files on your PC or device? Moving Cortana into the Action Center is such a huge diversion from what it should be. Action Center is for notifications; you're being asked to respond to something. Cortana is more than just notifications and messages. What about interests. Muddling things like "Local News" or "Sports interests" or "Tracking package" shouldn't be dismissible things, which is what the Action Center is and should be. This entire move is just horrible departure from the mobile experience that exists in Windows 10 Mobile, Android and iOS.
  • so basically cortana goes from luckily being used to rarely being used once it is decoupled from search
  • I think you are rightthere, I do not use Cortana myself, but if MS wants more people to use it then keeping it plain sight seems to make sense, unless MS is going to get rid of it at some point.   
  • Thats what im wondering. I was a big cortana user but started moving to Google now mobile is not there and I got a home for Xmas and its not as good on android with the voice side not being in android. This dose make me wonder if Microsoft are going to give up and move it on.
  • Exactly this thinking is the basis for bad user guidance through an UI. Searches of any kind should be in one place. I personally do not want to have to think on which side of the screen I have to start a certain search.
  • I am sure other AI's can handle web searches, even as a fall back because they cannot integently answer a question.  I know people get set in their ways, which is why they don't want Cortana added to the Windows / web search.  However, if Microsoft had implemented it properly and allowed anyone to turn Cortana off, then Micrsoft wouldn't still be trying to get the basics of Cortana correct in Windows as falling further behind in other areas with Cortana.  Basically, Microsoft might think they are doing a lot with Cortana, but alot of it is rework instead of concentrating on adding new skills, smart speakers, and other devices.
  • "Dedicated search area" - right now, I set Cortana to icon only. Does this mean there will be a search box in the task bar? That would be annoying.
  • I agree. I hope Cortana still has a presence in the search pane for internet results and keywords.
  • You will still be able to search the internet and keywords via Windows Search even after Cortana's experience is moved to the Action Center :)
  • Yes, but will you also be able to search the internet and the rest of the PC within Cortana? Keeping in mind the lack of much else Cortana can do (outside of the US), now the music has died, she'll become even more basic if the search is taken away as well. I want to think this is all about improving Cortana, but as we all know only too well once MS decide to 'focus' on something it usually starts haemorrhaging features before heading straight for the sunset. This feels a bit too much like a retrenching, to me, for comfort.
  • "now the music has died"
    Sorry, but this is a weird thing. The idea that PC users were IDing music frequently using Cortana seems hilarious to me. There's no data to support that. Puttting that aside, yeah Cortana has a lot of challenges ahead, but at the end of the day, Cortana is just the front-end for Microsoft Cognitive Services and its AI computing. That's literally the future of computing and not something they're just going to toss aside.
  • Shazzam was discontinued on Windows because of Cortana having the feature built in. People used features. That's what features are for.
  • "Shazzam was discontinued on Windows because of Cortana having the feature built in."
    Except we all agree Cortana and its services weren't available everywhere, unlike Shazam. No, Shazam was discontinued because not enough people downloaded and used it, period. Does Shazam not work on Android because SoundHound is there too?
  • Daniel, with all due respect you are wrong on this. I am as much a MS fan as anyone, but that removed a feature that I have used many times and required me to download an app for that. This degrades the user experience and gives credence to the fact that MS always takes away functionality on their platform. I want them to succeed, but I won't go beyond criticism where it is due.
  • Exactly Daniel.  Shazam was discontinued because of the same reason most every other windows app is.  Lack of users.  The exact same reason windows mobile was discontinued...LACK OF USERS!
  • I use Cortana to ID music all the time.
  • Interesting, it is the features that Microsoft always put as the guilty party before the judge and the executioner. This is the first I've heard of Shazzam...
  • This is Microsoft we are talking about though, they toss things aside quite alot.
  • Don't they just!!
    *written on my 950!!!
  • I used to think that when my beloved 1020 was left for dead.   But now,  I see why it was done.   Because NO ONE WAS USING WINDOWS PHONES.   Anything that is tossed by MS is because its not popular.   Same for my lovely ZUNE.  
  • @Mister Wolf; Exactly...
  • Doesn't matter if they were doing music Id frequently, as long as they were.  If Cortana can't do everything that Google ASSistant and Siri can do, than, Cortana cannot be considered competitive.  It's a feature, and they removed it.  Just like gesture recognition with Kinect.  As long as some people used it, if you kill it, you're gonna make someone mad.  Removing ANY features from Cortana is a bad sign.  "Pushing her aside" so to speak, is also a bad sign.  And considering they are in cheating on her with Alexa, I'm thinking she's on her way to the curb.  Which is sad.  On W10M, she was hands down better than Google ASSistant, especially for hands-free texting/calling.  It's one of the things I miss on my S7A, and I don't foresee MS making her any better on any platform.
  • I always think that all the Virtual Assistant devices can co-exist without conflict.  Each has its own Wake Word and each can play to its own strength.  While Alexa has dominated the consumer services but Cortana's strength in W10 is not replaceable.  Its integration with OS, Edge, future PWA, IoT, Calendar, etc provide the level of productivity that Alexa can't readily reach.  I use both Cortana and Alexa at home and have no issues using both.  Having different Wake Words sometimes help to avoid calling up several devices at once.  Some OEMs plan to add Alexa to their future offerings will be a good thing so that Virtual Assistant can cover more ground.  Cortana has no reason to leave. 
  • Daniel, I absolutely agree with that and want it to be true, but I recall making very similar arguments for why Microsoft would of course not drop mobile, after staking it out as the future of computing and as proven by the effort they were putting into UWP, investment to purchase Xamarin, etc. I think MS is good at deciding something is not a good investment -- dropping work on a recent priority is a genuinely tough thing to do, and it's a credit to MS that they can do this -- but not good at weighing the secondary messaging those cancelled projects send to their customers. They have truly spooked the consumer side of their market. I don't sense any self-awareness or regret for that. That leaves me even more concerned. I truly don't feel that anything new from MS is safe, which makes me (a major MS fan) reluctant to use any new MS service until it's already a success. And if my reaction is at all representative, then that's lethal to the successful launch of anything new they try to do -- without raving fans as early adopters, new functions can't reach the mass market, making the initial reluctance to go all-in on the launch a self-fulfilling prediction. It ensures the chicken-and-egg app-gap problem that killed Windows Phone repeats itself with everything they do. If you have anyone's ear at MS, please tell them to do something to win back our trust -- go all-in at launch of new technologies, invest in marketing them rather than waiting to see if there's interest, stick to new launches that aren't performing well for longer including a few iterations and improvements to see if they can achieve market growth. If something fails after all that, so be it, but if it fails before that level of effort, it just hurts their future launch efforts by further spooking customers that MS doesn't stand behind anything it does.
  • "If you have anyone's ear at MS, please tell them to do something to win back our trust "
    What do you want them to do? Literally every move they now make have people here going "welp, guess they're killing that too hurhur" Microsoft launches a new product = They'll can it after a few years, just watch Microsoft launches a new app = They'll discontinue it soon, just watch We literally can't write about the good or bad news here without people saying "it's over". So, not sure what you do there. I just ignore it, because we'll let the market sort it.
  • Yeah, you can't want Cortana to succeed and then say "I refuse to buy an Invoke or anything else" because that is contradictory. I'm skeptical but I haven't stopped supporting the things I like. I just wished they'd announced GLAS before the holidays and I decided to get an Ecobee. I question their timing, not the products.
  • You're pretty much proving his point, Daniel. The conern is that Microsoft turns a deaf ear to consumers if something isn't immediately successful, and you say you ignore criticisms that exhibit that fear. The market is repeatedly sorting one thing out: Microsoft struggles at developing new product lines these days. The reason people half-joke about impending cancelations is that it's been Microsoft's go-to move for so long, and it still is. If there is any resistance to breaking into a market, Microsoft won't push, they'll walk away. You say you ignore the "it's over" stuff, but while you come off as saying it's a knee-jerk, overblown reaction to the past, it's more a defeatist acceptance of the present. Microsoft has to stop kicking its consumers in the shins every 6 months. It seems like everything is building up to a cancelation these days. Band is the epitome of where the fears come from. People don't have confidence in Microsoft becuase Microsoft has no confidence in them. Surface was the last time they actually made a bet on a product, and that's been almost 5 years. We've seen a LOT of canceled products in the time. Contrast that with Google and Apple, who throw out new products as the market adopts the tech, and they do it in droves. How far behind the market has MS been with things like Cortana, mobile, automated home tech, fitness trackers, and many of the other things consumers have bought into in the last 5-10 years? Surface is much more an exception than a rule with Microsoft. That someone asks you to explain to Micrsooft that their skiddish commitment leaves us skiddish, and your response is "you guys are so dramatic, what do you want us to do?" just feeds into that drama and pessimism. What it boils down to is Microsoft is never transparent in its commitment to a product. Even Xbox never feels like it's on stable ground, as a big example of the inconsistency. Microsoft seems to think the point of success for a product needs to be its first iteration or year of life, and they treat anything after it as a wind-down of the brand. If they would occasionally say "give this thing 5 years, then decide," they might build momentum in some markets. Instead, it's more like their Lumia hardware (one flagship release), Band (2 years), and Kinect (one year of software support, then stripping features from the Xbox ecosystem).
  • When you have invested in MS products like the Band, Kinect, Groove, tablets with sub 10” screens, Mobile etc you might get immune to MS BS… Cortana was cool when it came to Mobile but MS has not treated it with any love while the competition has raced at full speed. Cortana is also very crippled outside US (i.e. the majority of the population in this world cannot use its add-ons). So no, I do not believe that MS will do anything successful out of Cortana. (And Daniel, what did you think of the band, Kinect, Groove and Mobile?)
  • Quote:  What do you want them to do? Literally every move they now make have people here going "welp, guess they're killing that too hurhur" End quote. Well, MS has to take responsibility for this behaviour.  Us MS supporters get peeved because we went out on a limb; yes, my Android brother-in-law told me I would regret investing in Windows Phone.  A few years later he was right, and he never fails to rub it in; so we go out on a limb and our trust is broken.  Sometimes business is a hard grind, not easy wins.  They had millions of users and growing market share in Europe and elsewhere.  But they turned their back on us.  Feel our pain...  Its too easy when in business to blame the customers.  
  • " Literally every move they now make have people here going "welp, guess they're killing that too hurhur" "   ... and is it surprising after the recent streak of discontinuing stuff? Can you blame users for this?
  • Right on the head daniel.   The fanbabies here are a fickle bunch are'nt they!   I opened my eyes and ears to whats really going on,  and it's very exciting to say the least.   
  • @Daniel, I understand the dilemma and the absurdity of overly negative statements. I'm a marketing strategist by profession, so that's how I view these issues. The technophile in me likes MS stuff a lot, so I'm an easier mark for them than most. You asked, "What would you want them to do?" I want them to do about what I suggested above: demonstrate at least a 2 year hard commitment to each major new launch where they make a push worthy of their scale of operations (e.g., spending hundreds of millions of dollars to drive awareness, study reaction, incorporate feedback if needed, and iterate). If it can't gain much traction after 2 years, then dropping it is reasonable with a proper period of support. They should also be clearer about this change in status from "working to drive market adoption" to "discontinued and providing existing user support only." There is still room for soft launches and market testing, but those things should be clear, perhaps through a better branded Microsoft Garage program. These could allow uncertain products to be market tested without a large investment, and then go mainstream if they gather momentum on their own or quietly shut down if they don't. But this should be kept separate from their mainstream product launches, which need that minimum 2-year hard push. Advertising obviously influences brand perception as does product development. But a company's actions, including customer service, commitment to new products, support, etc. also play a large role in determining how the brand is perceived by the market. The Microsoft brand right now includes "company often sticks its toe in the water to see what people think of an idea, and if there isn't any overwhelmingly positive reaction it cuts its losses and moves on." That's not necessarily all bad, but it is at odds with new product development because customers don't trust that even good ideas will be given sufficient runway to take off. That in turn means that customers won't try it or buy it, even if they like it, because they don't want to be left with an orphan product. And without those customers, of course the launch fails, reinforcing the internal voices that it was a bad idea and letting them say, "See we told you not to invest a lot in promiting this." That last sentence is the real killer problem that is largely invisible to the outside world -- it's the internal culture it fosters, which discourages new product development (not necessarily good R&D, but actual PRODUCT launches with full marketing, etc.).
  • Can't even get her to play music from any streaming services outside the US now Dan. Let alone ID music with my desktop PC from the radio as I often did. After search leaves, seems all she'll be able to do is answer diary queries.
  • I also agree and hope Microsoft will allow user preference rather making a grand decision base on scarce data. Folks are using their phones and may not be on the pc as much as their phones. Microsoft don't know this because they decide to get out of the smartphone market for consumers and missing in their logic some key points that mobile actually do in functionality to the pc.
  • If separating the two means less lag when I try to open my start menu or search for things I'm all aboard tbh
  • How bout they strip the OS of Cortana and license Alexa from Amazon instead? That would be of note. Anything less than that? Is a complete waste of time.
  • This is literally never going to happen. Cortana is the backbone to so many Microsoft features and services. You don't, no, can't just strip it out for Alexa. Absolutely not going to happen.
  • Now, didn't that get said about Windows Mobile a short while ago? I'm sure it did...
  • "Now, didn't that get said about Windows Mobile a short while ago? I'm sure it did..." The difference here is that Microsoft actually has a respectable presence in cloud computing. Killing Cortana would, thus, devalue Microsoft's cloud services in favor of Amazon's and Google's, the latter of which actually behind Microsoft in the market.
  • Given the adoption of Alexa into a wide range of devices, as demonstrated at CES this year, including PCs and cars, it will be a matter of only a couple of years before Alexa completely destroys Cortana. Developers are going to push that platform forward just like they did Android and Alexa will keep getting better. Cortana was released what 3 or 4 years ago, yet still can't do basic home automation stuff like I've been doing with my Echo for almost a year and a half now. So "later this year" more Cortana devices will come out, Cortana will still be inadequate when it comes to controlling smart devices, and few people will buy them because they already have an Echo, or a Google device, or an Ecobee, etc. Not to mention Amazon has a whole host of services you can get through their devices, like shopping, free music, etc. Microsoft has none of this. There is no compelling reason to use a Cortana device. Like with mobile, Microsoft will have to beg and plead to get partners to offer services through Cortana devices. And then no one will dev for it, and it will die a slow death. We've seen this show before. I used to be a diehard Microsoft fan, but misstep after misstep has changed my mind completely. Daniel and others say we don't give Microsoft a break. Well, we gave them our support and money for a long time, championed their efforts even when they were a distant third player, and Microsoft said, "Meh, we're done. Thanks. Buh bye!" I'm sure Microsoft is working on some cool things, they always are. But it's going to take a lot of work to gain back the trust of all the people that were burned. It's hard to get excited about a company with Microsoft's track record in the consumer space.
  • Or they just front-end Alexa to their back-end of computing. Cortana is a delivery mechanism, nothing more. They don't need her presence to represent their back-end whatsoever. The obvious failure there is you can't have inconsistent data delivered by Alexa through two services, of course. Regardless, Cortana is a brand, not the service itself. They could easily license Alexa as a front-end delivery service for their back-end and use that more-popular Alexa brand to feed their back-end, if they really had that desire (and Amazon was willing to make that exhange).
  • I believe this would be a perfectly acceptable outcome to Nutella. His position is for Microsoft to be the toolmaker for others to build things, not necessarily for Microsoft to build the consumer facing products themselves. He's mentioned this several times in his talks.
  • zac,  is Alexa coming to windows in some form though?  That would be sweet.   I know cortana is here to stay,  but if she had a great girlfriend called alexa...that would be killer!
  • Based on how this is implemented in action center, I think this is a welcome change. The entries/cards should be dismissable (like in google now). I would like the search box to be moved into the start menu like how it was in Windows 7.
  • Alexis suddenly appears on new PCs. MS removes Cortana from search and hides access to Cortana in the action center, deemphasizing its useabilty. I have to believe Cortana as an "assistant" is on its way out. MS will deny it until they drop it because "nobody uses it". Echoes of W10M?
  • They are not hiding Cortana in the Action Center. Action Center is used a lot, which means Cortana will have its own distinct location at the end of the taskbar now. This is hardly hiding it, but more emphasizing it.
  • Hmm, currently Cortana has a whole column to herself. Soon she will be fighting for space at the bottom of a packed Action Centre column that hardly has room for the current crop of notifications. Cortana already has her own distinct location at the end of the task bar, in future she'll be merged with all the other notifications which is not exactly getting more distinct I think. And if they're thinking about bumping the Action Centre out to an even bigger panel packed with all the things that'll just make it worse. It really seems to be the opposite of emphasis to me.
  • I think that's user-dependent. The only thing I do in the Actino Center at home is occasionally hit "clear all," because it doesn't actually serve a purpose for me. At work, where we have W10 PCs, the Action Center holds no value. I think the latter is indicative of enterprise--none of this stuff is especially useful. Action Center, to me, only serves a meaningful purpose to those who live on social media on a mobile PC. It's for people who live on UWP and need to hit notifications from Facebook and Twitter constantly. In general, I think most people know nothing about the existence of the Action Center because it doesn't enhance their PC use cases and daily habits. Part of this is bad delivery. It doesn't help when the Action Center's notifications don't notify. While I was typing this, I clicked on the Action Center out of curiosity. I've got a failed update alert and a Defender summary stuck back there. I had no idea those existed because, well, the Action Center does nothing to let me know it needs/deserves attention. Typically, you put a numerical placeholder for pending notifications, but they apparently don't do that in W10. I have a wimilar issue on my Lumia 950, where the Store app never tells me I have pending app updates, so I don't update apps for months at a time simply because I don't think about it. To you, the Action Center is used a lot. To me, someone who lives on W10 PCs probably 90% of his waking day (between work and personal use), the Action Center is of no use and barely passes as "functional," since it doesn't bother telling me there are actions present. To me, the move for Cortana is two things: 1. Sticking it next to the Action Center, which I never touch. 2. Sticking it next to the Desktop shortcut I used a lot until I went to using Win+D instead. I think the biggest sign this is bad for Cortana is me, to be frank. I hate Cortana and want her out of my way. I hated when she took over in WP8.1/W10M. I hated when she tried to take over Xbox. I hated when she came front-and-center to Windows Search. I never use Cortana and never want to. This move is a plus to me. I see it as getting her out of my way and shoving her in the corner I wish she'd always stayed (especially when it brought about breaking the hold-to-serach from the WP lockscreen). If I'm happy with what you're doing with Cortana, it's probably not a good move because I'm only happy when these privacy invasion assistants are out of my way.
  • Who use Action centre?  I know I don't, I get the odd message on it, in fact it have to be a couple of weeks since i last saw any message on action centre. In fact I forget it is there until a message do come up  The majority of Windows 10 machines I have set up the users have wanted as little notifications as possible, so they do not use action centre either.  Maybe if you are into the MS eco system then the action centre may be used a lot. I never liked a load of notifications popping up for no reason at all. Even if I put a USB drive in my computer I do not have it popping up, I know I plugged it in, I was the one who plugged it in, so why do I need my computer to tell me?  
  • "I have to believe Cortana as an "assistant" is on its way out. "
    This completely the wrong conclusion. It's the opposite. Cortana is going to go deeper to make it a more AI-driven OS. You'll see more of this in the coming RS releases. It's also the logical thing to do if you're sitting on a massive AI and search system - you make the OS smarter. For those who think MS is ditching Cortana, you're literally going the wrong way on this.
  • But do we need a more AI-driven OS?
  • As opposed to what? Riding the Win32, clunky, OS that is based on 20 years of layering? What is your vision for Windows 10 in 2025? Still running on a desktop, firing up Win32 File Explorer, picking icons? It's time to move on.
  • Daniel writes: "As opposed to what? Riding the Win32, clunky, OS that is based on 20 years of layering? What is your vision for Windows 10 in 2025? Still running on a desktop, firing up Win32 File Explorer, picking icons? It's time to move on." Daniel, are you forgetting the millions of workstation/desktop users out there? The truth is that W10 has *worsened* the user experience for mouse/keyboard users compared with its predecessor, W7. We now have a touch-oriented mobile UI foisted on desktop/mouse/keyboard users, and it's a really ugly fit. I bet my mouse mileage has tripled. And who needs a File Save dialog that takes up the entire window (literally)? Mobile users, yes; desktop users? - no! The challenge for MS is that those icons and Win32 programs haven't been bettered for desktop use, and I doubt they can be, bearing in mind how all the major desktop operating systems have homed in over decades on very similar UI paradigms. Would you explain a bit further, Daniel, what you have in mind for Windows workstation users in 2025?
  • Too right  
  • I'm a game programmer in a studio that has over 4k employees + more internationally.
    Place I work, creators (programmer, game programmer, planner, designer, music composer, etc) need powerful HW to run Adobe, 3dsMax, Unreal, VisualStudio, SVN, Git, Office, Local Server typpa application. But other than those, our ticket system, project manager, chatroom, etc are all web based. People in business department (CS, cooperation, international business, etc) works on the web. They don't need powerful HW, and ARM can provide always connect, e-sim, light weight and long bat life + secure and no slowdowns overtime if you go with Win10S. My GF, as a APAC manager of a US IT firm, works on the web with virtual teams @ home (or in the coffee store) too. A lotta more users / PC's not running exe imo.
    Web is a big part in our IT world, we only need UWP for native features or speed and exe will die out slowly.
    * native features -> only in UWPs.
    * Number of machines that run older Windows will only drop YoY.
    Do you want a Facebook exe in your system? Horrible idea isn't it.
    Company like Adobe will still compile exe because they own the legacy stuff already. As a freshman or startup, would you prefer to do your own installer, updater, uninstaller, crack-proof, do your own advertisement? Why should I trust your exe will do my system no harm? Will you clean up trash in the registry / hdd during uninstallation?
  • It's time to move on something that really matters for users. They have to replace the old code, create APIs, create a complex design language. They wasting time moving things from left to right, integrating deep into OS all kind of limited useless features. All this WaaS generates more and more mess.
  •  short answer.  YES....LONG ANSWER....HEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLL YEEEEESSSSS!
  • I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. While phasing out Cortana may not be the intended goal this move will probably significantly decrease her usage in Windows. The end result will then be the inevitable phase out when the situation predictably gets much worse. The justification at that point will be that well nobody is even using Cortana so who cares if MS kills it. Microsoft really doesn't have a clue. This game is getting tired for consumers. I would prefer for almost all MS products and innovations to be in the hands of better companies like Amazon. 
  • @coolman, true....
  • "This move will probably significantly decrease her usage in Windows. "
    You absolutely do not know such a thing. This is your hunch. Microsoft, OTOH, will put this in the Insider program, collect data and...make a decision. Which is what we should all wait for instead of making up outcomes based on our gut.
  • What is purpose if AI driven OS if that AI is still location restricted?
    There are no noticeable movements in this area for last year, so they're moving too slow to make it really important part of the OS :(
  • So how will search work without Cortana? Now if I ask Cortana "How old is Angelina Jolie?" she'll tell me either in speech or text depending on how I asked.  Will I just get search results for the same question after the change? If so, that's lame.  Cortana will sometimes even give me the answer before I finish typing and hit enter.
  • Search is search. Cortana was just a branding/UI thing for it. Cortana as currently instantiated is just a pretty UI for Bing. Always was. That's going to change. Search is just search (Bing on the internet) and Cortana will be a proper virtual assistant with its own icon/system.
  • I think people are forgetting that the search field was in existence before Cortana was integrated there (Think back to Windows 8 people). I feel like parsing it to it's own app gives it more flexibility to grow rather than just used to "search". I do question how their strategy and partnerships are going to work out but I don't see this as bad. If anything maybe Cortana can actually learn and control things like Alexa this year without the use of a separate hub.