Killing Cortana: How to disable Windows 10’s info-hungry digital assistant

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A fresh Start: Microsoft’s Windows 10 wins plaudits.

As the world awaits the Wednesday launch of Windows 10 operating system by Microsoft, with which its Indian-born chief executive Satya Nadella wants to power a billion devices in a few years, its potential efficacy in India has evoked mixed response among analysts.Microsoft Corp’s launch of its first new operating system in almost three years, designed to work across laptops, desktop and smartphones, won mostly positive reviews for its user-friendly and feature-packed interface.

While some feel it may not be a super hit, despite a free update for those with versions above Windows 7, others say it will prove more of use on devices other than personal computers, like smartphones, tablets and other handhelds. The launch was seen critical for the company, particularly after the poor response to Windows 8, an ambitious redesign that confused many users by ditching the start button menu and introducing a new layout. Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler said Windows 10 fixes most of the issues with Windows 8 and improves on Windows 7, Microsoft’s most popular OS in recent years.

Nevertheless, Windows 10 will also help those with pirated versions of Microsoft operating systems to migrate to an authentic version, making room for a wide range of applications to choose from. “At the enterprise level, adoption will vary. The company would then make up for any lost revenue by selling services such as Office over the Internet, or cloud. “It’s a step in the right direction. That makes the best of Microsoft’s uniquely tricky position: It needs to design a system that appeases modern consumers who want changes and upgrades quickly, while still pleasing its business users who tend to be a bit more conservative when it comes to new systems. They went back to their core DNA around software and a cloud-centric model and ultimately Windows as a service, a subscription model,” Ives told Reuters. “I doubt it will convert many Mac owners, spur a shopping spree in new PCs, bring in droves of new developers, or save the Windows Phone,” Mossberg wrote. “The newly revamped Start menu in Windows 10 is a useful combination of Windows past and present and a metaphor for the entire direction of Windows 10,”.

It is also about security, compatibility and manageability,” said Vishal Tripathi, research director at Gartner India. “Organisations use legacy- and custom-based applications than regular plug-and-play software. Microsoft took the bold — and ultimately wrong — step of wiping this familiar feature out of existence in Windows 8 in favor of a full-screen grid of apps designed to be touchscreen friendly. Step 1: Make sure you run Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1, this automatically qualifies you for the free upgrade which users can claim within the next one year.

Those that recently migrated to Windows 7 will not move away too quickly, while others will wait and watch,” Tripathi told IANS According to Prasanto K. But users are able to look at all of their programs, access the settings menu and pin things to the Start Menu or task bar — just as they were able to in older versions of Windows.

Roy, a noted technology writer and chief editor of Trivone, a media and digital services company, Windows is an overhaul of the previous version that had flopped. Similarly, a major complaint I had about Windows 8 was that it had apps that were purpose-built for the new system that took up the whole screen, making it jarring to jump between newer programs and traditional ones. But getting enterprises to upgrade to it will be near-impossible. “This apart, PC sales are also weak and Windows users don’t upgrade the way Mac OS users (or iOS users) do when a new OS is launched.

Another analyst, Kiran Kumar of IDC, said India has an installed base of 55-60 million personal computers, out of which some 55 percent are with individual consumers while the remaining are with businesses and institutions. “An increase of even 1.5-2 percent in PC volumes will mean around 10 million additional volumes. Microsoft is making Windows 10 rollout a staged process wherein the new OS will be delivered to a batch of devices classified on the basis of hardware they are running and if any bugs come around, Microsoft will patch in the next update. I can say this: In the week or so I spent with the system on a Surface Pro 3 provided by Microsoft for review, I wasn’t tempted to download other browsers.

This is true globally and more so in India, because enterprises are reluctant to upgrade,” said Roy, adding, as stability is the main criteria, may will hold on to ageing Windows 7 or even the obsolete, 13-year-old Windows XP. “It’s next to impossible to get a large enterprise to upgrade Windows, or even to agree to buy hardware with the latest version of Windows within the same year of a new version’s launch,” Roy said. “By offering Windows 10 free, Microsoft is attempting to compete with Apple, Samsung and Sony in the tablets and smartphones segment where they use iOS and Andriod OS, developed by Google,” said Siva Kumar, a software engineer in Bengaluru. “With more users shifting to tablets and smartphones for their mobility and convenience, Microsoft is trying to catch up with peers with its Lumia, which it acquired from Nokia post its takeover,” he added. “The world today is very different from the one in which Windows grew up. The tension between the desire for agility versus stability poses a huge challenge for IT Pros,” Microsoft said. “The new Windows must be built from the ground-up for a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

It’s the type of feature that you may not have known you wanted, but could get very useful over time if you want to quickly draw someone’s attention to a particular portion of a Web page. Cortana — if you use her — is constantly updating you on your schedule and serving up news and other information based on your own preferences and other Microsoft services you use. The software can also let you know if there’s traffic on the way to your next meeting or set reminders based on the time, your location or even specific people. Cortana has the potential to become very useful: Microsoft even talked to real-life personal assistants as it designed Cortana to figure out the best way to pull up relevant information. There are enough new features to tempt you even if you aren’t that into the fancy voice-controlled stuff, such as better search features and an overall better browser.

Microsoft has said that this is essentially the “last Windows,” in the sense that from Windows 10 on, the tech giant will be releasing smaller upgrades more often — something Apple already does — to keep its system fresher for longer. It’s familiar enough so that most people will probably feel comfortable upgrading, with a sprinkling of new user-centric features that shows Microsoft’s eyes are on the future. Windows 10 has clearly been designed with that thought in mind — whether it’s enough to convince people to love their Windows PCs remains to be seen.

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