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Microsoft begins to phase out Cortana on Windows 11

  • Microsoft disables Cortana on Windows 11.
  • This new change currently applies to builds in the Dev and Canary Channels.
  • The decision to shut down Cortana happens as the company begins testing Windows Copilot on version 23H2.

Microsoft is already taking steps to phase out Cortana for Windows 11 as the latest preview of the operating system in the Dev and Canary Channels are getting updates that remove the digital assistant. Users trying to launch the standalone app will receive the “Cortana in Windows as a standalone app is deprecated” message with an option that directs users to the online support page with additional information.

Cortana was first introduced in 2014 as a virtual assistant for Windows Phone. It was later integrated into Windows 10 and other platforms, including Android and iOS. Cortana was designed to be a personal assistant to help users with tasks like setting alarms, making appointments, and searching the web.

Since users gravitated towards other voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, Microsoft’s digital assistant never gained enough popularity. In June, the company revealed the plan to end support of its Cortana digital assistant on Windows 11 and 10 in late 2023. The news came out shortly after Microsoft announced the new Copilot for Windows 11.

Copilot is a new chatbot AI in the Taskbar capable of doing virtually any task like Cortana, plus a lot more since the feature uses the Bing Chat experience powered by the ChatGPT language model. For example, the Windows Copilot includes the ability to change system settings, text rewrite content summarization, and get answers on any topic.

The chatbot is still in development but is expected to be released in the coming months, presumably with the rollout of version 23H2, as the company is already previewing the feature through the Beta Channel. (If you have the latest preview of Windows 11, and Copilot isn’t available, you can use these instructions to turn the feature on.)

Although discontinuing Cortana is a clear sign that Microsoft is struggling to keep up with other assistants, Copilot is another attempt to regain its footing in the voice assistant market. However, it remains to be seen whether it will be successful.

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