Microsoft lets Insiders get rid of Cortana on Windows 11

Cortana from Halo
(Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Windows 11 Build 25921 just shipped to Insiders in the Canary Channel.
  • The update adds support for setting JXR files as your desktop background and having those images appear in full HDR.
  • You can now uninstall Cortana from Windows 11 if you're running the latest Canary build.

Microsoft released a build of Windows to end the week. Insiders in the Canary Channel can now install Windows 11 Build 25921. The update adds support for showing background images in full HDR by allowing users to set JXR files as their background. It also adds rich thumbnail previews for cloud files in the Start menu, though that functionality is limited to those with an Azure Active Directory account.

While the focus of this update is adding new features, it also gives users the option to remove one. Starting with this build, it's possible to uninstall Cortana. Microsoft is deprecating the old virtual assistant and replacing it with Windows Copilot. The option to uninstall Cortana is the next step on that journey.

Here are the main takeaways of what's new as well as the changes and improvements in today's update:

Build 25921: What's new

HDR Background Support 

You can now set JXR files to be your desktop background and if you have an HDR display, they will render in full HDR.

First – make sure your device has an HDR display or is connected to a HDR display that supports HDR. You can check this by going to Settings > System > Display and checking the HDR toggle.

Next, download an HDR .JXR file to your device. Then right-click on your desktop, choose “Personalize” and then “Background”, and under “Personalize your background” – go and select the .JXR file you downloaded to your device.

You can download example .JXR files here to try this experience out on your HDR-capable device/display.

The background should load on your display. If you have multiple displays attached to your device, the background will show as HDR or SDR depending on each display’s capabilities. When using external displays attached to your device, we recommend running the HDR Calibration app for best picture quality. Please note that for this build, there may be some issues with the HDR version of the desktop background not correctly display on some laptops with HDR.

Rich thumbnail previews (tooltips) for cloud files on Start

For people logged into a Windows 11 Pro or Enterprise editions with an AAD account (soon to be Microsoft Entra ID), we are providing a richer thumbnail preview (tooltips) when hovering over cloud files such as Word documents under Recommended on the Start menu. For this initial release, richer thumbnail previews will not be available for all files and a later update will enable the experience for more files and for MSA users. Additionally, when right-clicking on cloud file recommendations, there is now an option to quickly share these files.

What will appear only for people logged with an AAD account currently are the richer thumbnail previews for cloud files if available such as Word documents. 

Build 25921: Changes & Improvements


Cortana can be uninstalled in this build. For more on the end of support for Cortana, click here.

Taskbar & System Tray

When navigating between desktops in Task View (WIN + CTRL + left or right arrows), labels will be shown. New sliding animations will also show when you change your desktops using trackpad gestures, touch gestures, hotkeys and by clicking on the Task View flyout.


A new asynchronous error-handling feature in the DHCP client service will allow for faster response time for some runs of ipconfig /renew on the Windows command line. Improvements will vary depending on system and network conditions, but ideal cases will improve from ~4.1 seconds to ~0.1 seconds per run.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at