Microsoft has made its digital personal assistant – Cortana – more integral to Windows 10 with every major update. Apart from searching your computer, it displays notifications, can send emails, set reminders, and do all of that using your voice. Some might find it too intrusive though, and would prefer to turn the helper off.
While you could turn off Cortana with a single toggle in the days before the Anniversary Update, that’s no longer possible. And with the recent Windows 10 Creators Update, disabling Cortana can entirely break search, according to reports, with the only way to fix it being a clean install.
If you’re still bent on plugging the plug on Cortana’s capabilities in Windows 10, there are ways to go about that. You can take away the tools it uses to learn about you, or you can completely switch it off.
Prevent Cortana from knowing you
First, let’s head into Cortana’s settings to cut off all the separate ways it monitors your computer habits. Here’s how:
Click the search box or the Cortana icon next to the Start key.
Open Cortana’s settings panel with the gear icon.
In the settings screen, turn off every toggle from On to Off.
Next, scroll to the very top of the settings panel, and click on Change what Cortana knows about me in the cloud.
Microsoft will fetch a page from the Internet called Personal Information in the same Start panel.
When it loads, scroll to the very bottom, and hit Clear.
To serve you better, Cortana collects data about your typing and talking, as well. If you’d like to turn that off, follow these steps:
Hit the Start key.
Click the Settings gear icon.
In the left panel, look for Speech, inking & typing.
Click Stop getting to know me.
Remember, turning this off will also disable dictation across Windows 10. If that’s a service you rely on, then you’ll have to put up with Windows ‘getting to know you’.
Turn off Cortana completely
Once you’ve gone through the steps above, Cortana won’t respond to your voice. But it’s still running in the background, waiting to be called upon.
To get rid of it completely, you need to do more. Depending on the version of Windows 10 you use – Home, Pro, or Enterprise – the steps will be slightly different.
How to disable Cortana on Windows 10 Pro
Hit the Start key, search for Edit group policy, and open it.
Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.
Find Allow Cortana, and double-click to open it.
Click Disabled, and then hit OK.
How to disable Cortana on Windows 10 Home
The process is slightly trickier, and involves editing the Windows Registry. If you’re not comfortable with this process, we suggest taking a backup, or setting a restore point.
Hit the Start Key, search for regedit, and open it.
Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Policies > Microsoft > Windows.
Right-click the Windows directory, and choose New > Key. Type in Windows Search, and hit enter.
Select Windows Search. In the right-hand side pane, right-click in the empty area and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Type in AllowCortana, and hit enter.
Double-click AllowCortana, and type in 0 under Value Data.
Restart your computer, and Cortana should now be gone. Instead of “Ask me anything”, the new search box will only say “Search Windows”.
Did you have any trouble following any of the above steps? Let us know via the comments below.
China’s Singles’ Day sale kicked off on Friday with Alibaba selling over $5 billion (roughly Rs. 33,515 crores) in transactions in the first hour which was more than in the first hour of last year’s spree. Xiaomi also shared some impressive numbers for its sales performance during the Singles’ Day sale.
Hugo Barra, Vice President, Xiaomi Global in a tweet claimed that the company sold CNY 1.2 billion (roughly Rs. 1,270 crores) in total sales. Barra also claimed that 1 million Xiaomi Redmi 4A units were sold in 24 hours and the smartphone was the top selling smartphone. In a tweet, Barra said, “Xiaomi’s China SinglesDay 2016 stats: RMB 1.295 billion total sales; 1 million Redmi 4A sold (# 1 selling smartphone).”
The Chinese company in a MIUI forum post revealed that the CNY 1.25 billion sales milestone was recorded in 23 hours and 20 minutes. The post said, “We managed to surpass last year record ! Now we shall wait for the final figure concluded by Xiaomi.”Adding further details, the post said Xiaomi sold CNY 1 billion worth of devices in 17 hours and 2 minutes while had touched CNY 200 million in 16 minutes and 16 seconds. Soon after the sales began at midnight, Xiaomi claims it had sold CNY 100 million worth of devices in 5 minutes 23 seconds.
According to Xiaomi, the most popular Mi devices during China’s Singles’ Day sales included the Redmi 4A, Mi Router 3, Mi Note Book, Mi Pad, Mi Band 2, Mi Drone, Mi Air Purifier, Ninebot Mini, and Mi Luggage.
China’s Singles’ Day sale has gradually become one of the largest online shopping extravaganzas in China with sales across e-commerce sites in the country on November 11.
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Yahoo is going after a former employee the company claims was spilling its secrets.
The lawsuit alleges that Cecile Lal, who was chief of staff to a vice president at Yahoo, leaked information about the company to journalist Nicholas Carlson for his book “Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!” The suit was filed in Santa Clara County in California on Wednesday and was first reported by Bloomberg.
Carlson, chief correspondent at the website Business Insider, chronicles in his book the tenure of Yahoo CEO Mayer, a former Google executive, as she’s tried to turn around the troubled Internet giant since taking the helm in 2012.
Yahoo claims Lal violated her employment agreement by divulging secrets to Carlson through email and phone conversations. The company claims Lal’s correspondence with Carlson began in April 2014.
Some of what Lal allegedly leaked was information from Yahoo’s weekly “FYI” meetings, which Mayer holds to address goings-on at the company. The meetings include a question and answer session with employees, and transcripts are available on a password-protected site called Backyard. Yahoo said Lal apparently shared her password to the site with Carlson.
“Lal’s unapologetic breaches of her confidentiality obligations to Yahoo and Yahoo’s trust in her took many forms,” the company said in the complaint
Yvonne Brill was a rocket scientist. Literally. In the 1970s, she invented a propulsion system that kept satellites from wandering out of orbit. Today’s satellites still rely on the technology. Her work was so important, President Barack Obama awarded her the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2011, the highest honor the United States can give a citizen for contributing to technological progress.
But when The New York Times wrote Brill’s obituary in March 2013 — an honor reserved only for the most influential newsmakers — the first mention was of her “mean beef stroganoff,” followed by a comment about her following her husband from job to job and taking off eight years from work to spend time with her family. A list of Brill’s professional accolades didn’t come until later.
Readers recoiled, taking to Twitter, Facebook and emails to accuse the newspaper of gender bias. The New York Times’ public editor, Margaret Sullivan, who comments on the paper’s approach to writing stories, said the piece “had the effect of undervaluing” Brill’s work. The Web version of the story was changed.
The sad thing is, The New York Times isn’t the only company that’s diminished, undervalued or dismissed women’s achievements and roles in technology. Less than two years after Brill’s obit, toymaker Mattel came under fire for a book called “Barbie: I Can be a Computer Engineer.” While an admirable title, the book cast the character as a helpless airhead. “I’m only creating the design ideas,” she says. “I’ll need Steven’s and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!”
Blogger Pamela Ribon summed up the reaction to the book in a five-word takedown: “Barbie F–ks it Up Again.” Mattel apologized and said the book, originally published in 2010, “doesn’t reflect the Brand’s vision for what Barbie stands for. We believe girls should be empowered to understand that anything is possible and believe they live in a world without limits…All Barbie titles moving forward will be written to inspire girls’ imaginations and portray an empowered Barbie character.”
The Brill and Barbie examples highlight a larger issue: society’s tendency to trivialize, ignore or just plain deny women’s contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In the past year alone, some of the biggest companies in the tech industry have had to backtrack from public gaffes as they tried to address the “women in tech” issue (Microsoft, Google) or were hit with lawsuits over gender discrimination (Facebook, Twitter).
The thing is that some of the problems women deal with today are the same their predecessors faced decades — even centuries — before them.
Arguing about Ada
Take Ada, countess of Lovelace, born 200 years ago. The daughter of English poet Lord Byron, Lovelace’s claim to fame was her work on the Analytical Engine. Designed by the mathematician Charles Babbage, the Analytical Engine is now recognized as the first general-purpose computer.
Ada LovelaceSSPL via Getty ImagesA mathematician in her own right, Lovelace was commissioned to translate a paper on the computer written by an Italian military engineer in 1840, which she supplemented with her own elaborate notes. Those notes contain what many consider the first algorithm designed to be carried out by a computer.
Walter Isaacson, author of a best-selling biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, devoted his next book to tech innovators and included a chapter on Lovelace because he wanted to give her a “moment in the sun.”
Some critics, though, dismiss her contributions. Babbage historian Bruce Collier is quoted as calling her “the most overrated figure in the history of computing.” Dorothy Stein in 1983 wrote that Babbage was responsible for much of Lovelace’s legacy-defining notes. But Stein also argued that Lovelace — despite being both intelligent and wealthy — was constrained by Victorian mores that frowned on female accomplishments.
Still others have come to Lovelace’s defense. “I would discredit the discreditors,” said Donald Knuth, a professor emeritus at Stanford University and an expert on the history of computer science. Knuth won the prestigious Turing Award in 1974. “I could argue Lady Lovelace knew more about programming than Babbage,” he said.
Suw Charman-Anderson, who organized Ada Lovelace Day to recognize women in tech, calls Stein’s book a “hatchet job.”
“You see in the story the double standards that modern women in STEM have to deal with. You have to prove yourself twice over,” says Charman-Anderson. “Is that where we are — 200 years after her birth?”
Same old story
Lovelace isn’t the only woman whose contributions to technology and the sciences have been denigrated. Many historians point to Rosalind Franklin, whose X-ray image, known as Photograph 51, revealed the double helix structure of DNA.
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Yet her colleagues, including James Watson, not only dismissed her monumental contribution, but also criticized her as a woman.
“The thought could not be avoided that the best home for a feminist was in another person’s lab,” Watson wrote in his 1968 book “The Double Helix.” Watson faulted “Rosy” — as he insisted on calling her — for not wearing lipstick or emphasizing “her feminine qualities.”
“So it was quite easy to imagine her the product of an unsatisfied mother who unduly stressed the desirability of professional careers that could save bright girls from marriages to dull men.”
Watson, along with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962 for the “discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids.” Franklin had died six years earlier, making her ineligible for the award. She was 37.
Consider also astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who discovered the first radio pulsars while a research student at Cambridge University. Her supervisor, Antony Hewish, along with radio astronomer Martin Ryle, received the Nobel Prize in 1974 for that discovery. She wasn’t recognized. That omission caused so much controversy she was forced to respond three years later.
“I believe it would demean Nobel Prizes if they were awarded to research students, except in very exceptional cases, and I do not believe this is one of them,” she said. “I am not myself upset about it.”
And then there’s Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only honoree to win in two different disciplines — physics and chemistry. Yet the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences initially wanted to ignore her work identifying radium and polonium, and instead award the honor to Curie’s husband, Pierre, and their research partner, Henri Becquerel. They issued the prize only after Pierre insisted that his wife receive the public recognition she was due.
It’s the same story throughout history, says Telle Whitney, co-founder of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women, named after the computing pioneer who was one of the first programmers of the Mark 1 computer at Harvard University in 1944