The big Anniversary Update for Windows 10 is coming up and the usual suspects are already spinning up another little scandal based on information that has been known for months. This time it’s about Cortana, which supposedly can no longer be switched off from the Anniversary Update, which various sites are now using again to generate clicks through scaremongering. The apocalypse is approaching and so on… The fact that the option simply has a different name and that Cortana remains opt-in is not mentioned.
But let’s start from the beginning: What is it actually about? Cortana is said to be non-disableable and mandatory starting next week’s Anniversary Update of Windows 10. So far so good. The button to deactivate Cortana will really disappear with the update – but you still don’t necessarily have to use it. Because the option to disable is simply renamed.
As usual, when you upgrade, you will still be asked if you want to use Cortana. If you deny this, the digital assistant remains silent and does not collect any data. If you want to be on the safe side, simply create a local account under Windows 10, where Cortana is then deactivated by default. If you still want to use it, you would first have to log in to Cortana manually with a Microsoft account.
Those who have already activated it can still “deactivate” it – but the process is slightly different. Background: With the Anniversary Update, Cortana will become the default search engine in Windows 10. The classic Bing/Windows search will no longer be used. This is logical in that you don’t have to maintain two separate search engines that ultimately do the same thing anyway. As of the update, Cortana, therefore, has two operating modes: As an assistant and smart search, and a simple, “dumb” search like the earlier Bing/Windows search.
So if you don’t want Cortana to collect data to get to know the user, simply log out of Cortana:
All previously collected data will also be deleted.
From this point on, the search in Windows 10 is still called Cortana, but it works as a simple, dumb search without collecting any data or waiting for the voice command “Hey Cortana”.
As mentioned at the beginning, if you are using Windows 10 without a Microsoft account, you do not need these steps.
Ultimately, everything stays the same, only the names change. The only thing Microsoft can be accused of here is that these changes are not communicated transparently – a problem that is not necessarily new at Microsoft.
In general, there is nothing wrong with questioning what data is actually being collected, what for, where it ends up, and so on. One should also remain critical and not simply accept everything, but scaremongering as they operate various portals is neither expedient nor helpful for the users.