Cortana – Windows 10 Personal Assistant


Since June, my personal assistant has been the Amazon Echo (Alexa).  It mainly sets timers and alarms, but it also tells jokes, provide news briefing and plays music from my Amazon account and other sources such as IHeart Radio.  The ultimate test for Alexa was when she was ask “Alexa play WJBO.”  She from and played the specified  radio station from IHeart Radio.  Lets see how Cortana rates.

amazon edge

Amazon Edge (Alexa)

If you click in the Search box on the Taskbar it will provide you some information about Cortana and start with the setup.

Some of Cortana’s capabilities are:

  • Set Reminders, both Time and Places
  • You can tell it to remember Tasks, Dictate Messages or Chat
  • It can track status of Package or Flights
  • You can personalize it for News, Events, Weather and even Jokes

It wants access to everything that you do on the device.  If you don’t like that don’t agree to the license or disable Cortana.  Here are a few things Cortana accesses:

  • Location
  • Contacts
  • Search history
  • Calendar details
  • Communication history from messages – Skype communication may be included.
  • Other information on the device

Again, if you don’t like it, Tinker with the settings, Disable features, or just turn it off.

windows cortana agreement

Cortana Agreement

Next Cortana asked “What to call you”. If you want it to call you Master or Mistress, go right ahead.

It ran through some setup, and then it asked me to log on with my Microsoft Account (that is you Xbox Account).  Ok, not a problem.  If you don’t have a Microsoft Account, you can always set one up.

Now, we have a slight problem.  It wants to replace my log in credentials with my Microsoft Account credentials. But… Wait… OK!  I being dealing with this in Windows 8.1.   I’ve been thinking I would have to do this at some point to access my Microsoft Apps.  Credentials changed.

More security, it wants me to create a PIN.  Isn’t my account secure enough with the security code I have to type in every time I try to access my account from a new device, or browser, or after Norton deletes the cookies from my computer?  I will set up a Pin and a Picture log in, just for the adventure.

The Pin is a 4 digit number.  I would suggest something easy to remember and not “1111”, “1234”, “9876”, or any number that is repeated or in a sequence.

Yuck, it replace my desktop with this ugly yellow background.  I am need to change that.

Sorry for the side trip into security, it was just the sequence of getting to Cortana’s capability.

When you click on the Search bar at the bottom of the screen, Cortana display a news feed.  It picked out a few things to get you started, but press the “Get interests” button to customize it.  Clicking this brought up the “Notebook” menu.  You can always access the “Notebook” but click the third icon down on the left hand bar.

Some of the options listed are:

  • About Me – this is where you can change your name
  • Settings – Instead of clicking the button to talk with Cortana, you can set it to listen for you to say “Hey, Cortana!”  (On Android you would say “OK, Google!” and on Echo is you would say “Alexa”)
  • Cortana Tips
  • Eat & Drink
  • Event
  • Meeting & Reminders
  • News
  • Packages
  • and more…

Just click the option and adjust it to your preferences.

When I asked Cortana to play music the Groove Music opened.

Hey!  This might work.  When I asked Cortana to open the file explorer, it open.

Since the Echo is located in a more convenient location, I will be using it more for Timers, Shopping List, Alarms, and playing music.  Echo can search the web, but for true web surfing I will be using a computer and may use Cortana with it.

The Windows 10 Adventure to be continued….

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