Microsoft Is Turning Cortana in Windows 10 Into a Standalone App

Posted on June 28, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Windows, Windows 10 with 28 Comments

Microsoft is working on a new Cortana app internally. The new Cortana app will introduce a new experience for the personal assistant in Windows 10 — but more importantly, it will change how Microsoft delivers Cortana to Windows 10 users.

The splitting up of Cortana in Windows 10 first started when Microsoft split up Cortana from Windows Search in the Windows 10 May 2019 Update. And now, Microsoft is turning Cortana into an independent, standalone app, completely separate from Windows 10.

That means you will soon be able to install Cortana as any other Windows 10 app from the Microsoft Store. Right now, a listing for the new Cortana beta app has showed up on the Microsoft Store, though you can’t install it just yet. Microsoft splitting up Cortana from Windows 10 means the company will be able to upgrade Cortana more frequently, and it also gives PC makers with the freedom to use other assistants like Alexa as the default on their device instead of Cortana.

Recent leaks have shown that the new Cortana experience will be identical to how Cortana on mobile works. The new experience is more conversational and is wildly different from Cortana in Windows 10 now. And personally, I think that’s a very good move considering the fact that Cortana was being heavily neglected in Windows 10 over the last year or so.

Timeline for the release of this new Cortana app is unknown, but it’s likely Microsoft will launch a beta for the new app soon.

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Comments (28)

28 responses to “Microsoft Is Turning Cortana in Windows 10 Into a Standalone App”

  1. tdemerse

    Ahh the storied history of Cortana and Windows. She's in, she's out, she's in.

  2. Cantoris

    Maybe we'll be able to uninstall the stupid thing!

  3. dontbe evil

    but but uwp and the store is dead /s


    on the other end I use nightingale UWP to test APis ... you guys can keep using your beloved win32/electron app that use 500mb of ram

  4. madthinus

    Cortana was still born due to the limited markets that Bing is good in and they supported it in. Less than 30.

    • wright_is

      In reply to madthinus:

      And even in the markets that Bing and Cortana (for Windows) were active in, they failed to deliver a mobile version - German Cortana for Windows has been around since about 6 months after the launch of Windows 10, but the Android and iOS versions still haven't turned up, because, according to Microsoft, the server infrastructure is not available!

      This is an excuse from a company that sells its own cloud computing services! And why the heck do the Android and iOS versions need a different server infrastructure as Cortana for Windows?

    • ponsaelius

      In reply to madthinus:

      Absolutely. Cortana suffers from it's features being restricted to the USA. Both the Google Assistant and Alexa have been international for a while. Cortana was quick to market but has rarely reached the potential of a personal assistant. In Britain it wasn't until early 2016 when it could deal with commuting by public transport. It just assumed you drove everywhere.


      I find Cortana is becoming less functional and not improving. Features seem to do less on Android. I wonder when they will just close it down. It becomes easier to close down as an app and not an OS feature that only works properly in the USA.

  5. snappernews

    Wow thats great. Thanks for sharing this update.

    Snappernews

  6. BlackForestHam

    Hospice care for a dying feature.

  7. Passinttd

    I'm not sure what Cortana on the desktop is written in. With that said, is it possible they are just doing this to move to a PWA or other structure to make development for desktop / phones / web / apps easier on themselves? Could this also have anything to do with the future of Windows and making this a program that wont need to be emulated some how? It is more logical to me that they are doing that instead of "lets rip Cortana out because people hate it" or "rip Cortana out because we want to update it more." Just my two cents. Again, I'm not a programmer or know anything about the Cortana back end / writing language.

  8. jchampeau

    Does this mean when I click in the search box in Windows 10 and type something, it'll go back to searching my local PC and stop searching the web? I remember fondly the time when Google had a desktop search tool you could download and install on Windows XP. It would index everything on your local PC and return search results almost instantaneously just like google.com. Maybe there are some people who retrained themselves to stop opening a browser when they want to search the Internet and instead go to the place they used to search their local PC from, but for the other 1,499,999,997 of us, it sure would be nice if that would go back to "normal."

    • pepesilvia

      In reply to jchampeau:

      Wholly agreed. In case people are interested, two DWORD entries "BingSearchEnabled" and "CortanaConsent" at HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search each with value "0" is enough to get rid of the Web results in search. (Also disables Cortana outright, though, which may or may not be something you want)

  9. Tony Barrett

    Once Cortana becomes optional and is taken out of the core OS, that's it - game over. It's dead. It has little point as it is on the PC as it is, but asking someone to intentionally download and install it is just crazy. They're way more likely to install Amazon Alexa than Cortana, which is truly now an assistant without an audience.

    • Rob_Wade

      In reply to ghostrider:

      Maybe for you. I have Cortana configured to be on all the time, even while locked. I use it many, many times during the day. What scares me is that, by completely making Cortana an app, will be the loss of the 100% hands-free capability. If that goes, then, yes, it's over. Cortana becomes no more useful than any other assistant, and I consider ALL the other assistants useless.

    • Rickard Eriksson

      In reply to ghostrider:


      In the rest of the world outside of the US Cortana lacked so much functions it never even competed at all.

    • PeteB

      In reply to ghostrider:

      It was game over from inception. Was awful. And MS couldn't even be bothered to make it work outside the US.


      Like so many MS "initiatives" in recent years, (store, UWP, band, groove, etc) It's like they never tried.


      • Winner

        In reply to PeteB:

        They'd do better if instead of trying to chase all the latest features from competitors, such as:

        mp3 player

        music service

        book service

        video service

        exercise monitor

        touch phone OS

        search engine

        app store

        light OS

        frequent automatic OS updates

        voice assistant


        ...they should just pick a few key areas where they can make a really meaningful difference/advantage, and then perfect the hell out of that rather than half-assing and chasing everything.

  10. Thom77

    Will this mean that I will able to stop all Cortana processes from running in the task manager considering I have never set it up or use it?


    They immediately restart after force stopping.

  11. james_rainey

    This is great news. And, I feel like we'll see better improvements from Cortana, independent from Windows updates. Time will tell.

  12. rm

    I think some of the reasons they are doing this is to undo some more of the wrongs of the past with Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile (RIP). They might be able to update the UI faster, but I would think the API's used are on servers or part of the Windows 10 OS. They will also make the Windows 10 install smaller and less complex by separating it. Plus they are likely using a lot of the same code on mobile as they are the Windows 10 app now. So, I think there are technical reasons for this, but they may be causing Cortana to retreat even more if the install of Cortana is optional going forward. That makes me sad. Maybe they will still require the application for non-business systems and optional on business systems. I know my work does not allow Cortana, or any other assistant, to be used.

  13. JimP

    "splitting up Cortana from Windows 10 means the company will be able to upgrade Cortana more frequently"


    I would imagine that most of the work is done on the server side. Saying that they can now update Cortana more frequently rings a bit hollow.

  14. nickd_ca

    Built-in Windows features require 10 year support based on OS lifecycle. Each time the OS is updated with Cortana built-in, the clock is reset for another 10 years of support. By removing Cortana from the OS, the support clock starts ticking down and will not reset. Removing the feature from being part of the OS is the kiss of death.

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