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Microsoft Windows

You Can't Turn Off Cortana In the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (pcworld.com) 369

Microsoft will release Windows 10 Anniversary Update next week. Earlier this week we listed some of its best features. PCWorld is now reporting about a major change that may annoy some users: once you've installed the update, Cortana can no longer be disabled. From the article: Cortana, the personal digital assistant that replaced Windows 10's search function and taps into Bing's servers to answer your queries with contextual awareness, no longer has an off switch. The impact on you at home: Similar to how Microsoft blocked Google compatibility with Cortana, the company is now cutting off the plain vanilla search option. That actually makes a certain of amount of sense. Unless you turned off all the various cloud-connected bits of Windows 10, there's not a ton of difference between Cortana and the operating system's basic search capabilities.
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You Can't Turn Off Cortana In the Windows 10 Anniversary Update

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  • O RLY? (Score:5, Funny)

    by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .hmryobemag.> on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @02:03PM (#52591667) Journal

    Challenge accepted!

    • David did kill Goliath. Cortana must have a weak spot too. Just got to find it.

      ***A day later... KB6660666 is released, "fixing" a newly discovered security vulnerability - the dead giant grows a new head, and rises up again....

    • Re: O RLY? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @03:36PM (#52593017)

      As admin, run this command in one line:

      reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search" /t REG_DWORD /v "AllowCortana" /d 0 /f

      There, no more cortana.

      • Re: O RLY? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @03:43PM (#52593133)

        As admin, run this command in one line:

        reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search" /t REG_DWORD /v "AllowCortana" /d 0 /f

        There, no more cortana.

        Did you bring up Task Manager and verify that Cortana isn't running? Hiding Cortana is not the same as disabling it.

    • by shione ( 666388 )

      Nuke it from the commandline, it's the only way to be sure.

      taskkill /IM Cortana.exe /F
      takeown /f "C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana*" /a /r /d y
      icacls "C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana*" /t /c /grant administrators:F System:F everyone:F
      rd /s /q "C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana*"

  • by LichtSpektren ( 4201985 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @02:05PM (#52591697)
    In some ways this is more honest, it's been demonstrated that the OS will talk to 107 domains whether or not some switches are toggled in the Control Panel to give the illusion of privacy.

    I wish Microsoft would've been more up front about this last year, and not two days before the "free" "upgrade" is scheduled to be concluded.
    • That's for sure. As far as I'm concerned an operating system that can't operate without the Internet is useless.

    • by taustin ( 171655 )

      In some ways this is more honest, it's been demonstrated that the OS will talk to 107 domains whether or not some switches are toggled in the Control Panel to give the illusion of privacy.

      My proxy server laughs are your 107 domains.

      • I'd mod you up if I hadn't already posted essentially the same thing... FUCK YOU, MICROSOFT!!! (had to be said)

    • In some ways this is more honest, it's been demonstrated that the OS will talk to 107 domains whether or not some switches are toggled in the Control Panel to give the illusion of privacy.

      Any list of those so I can set them to 127.0.0.1 in my Hosts file?

      • by LichtSpektren ( 4201985 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @02:39PM (#52592167)

        In some ways this is more honest, it's been demonstrated that the OS will talk to 107 domains whether or not some switches are toggled in the Control Panel to give the illusion of privacy.

        Any list of those so I can set them to 127.0.0.1 in my Hosts file?

        Here you go: https://github.com/WindowsLies... [github.com]

        However it won't work because Windows bypasses its own hosts file for its own purposes. You'll have to block it from your router or other external firewall.

      • by Holi ( 250190 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @02:41PM (#52592197)
        Host file won't help. Telemetry bypasses internal firewall and the hosts file. You need standalone firewall to block it.
        • I have, though my own testing, confirmed this fact.

          My working theory is that services running as 'system' are exempt from the firewall, but I might be wrong on that detail. What I do know is that even if you put in block-everything-no-exceptions rules and a default deny, the traffic still flows both ways.

          I can also confirm the hosts situation, though I believe this might be a security measure to stop malware from disabling the update mechanism.

          I have notes, though they are a bit dated: https://ipfs.io/ipfs/ [ipfs.io]

      • by TroII ( 4484479 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @02:44PM (#52592241)

        Any list of those so I can set them to 127.0.0.1 in my Hosts file?

        That won't help you any, the IP addresses are hard-coded into the OS via dnsapi.dll [reddit.com], which Windows 10 will consult prior to the rest of the resolver stack (hosts, WINS, name servers, etc). You're going to need another machine between you and your internet connection, one with a proper implementation like iptables/ipfw/nftables/etc to drop traffic destined for those IPs.

        Of course, the IPs of the telemetry servers are subject to change at Microsoft's whim, so you're going to end up stuck playing whack-a-mole. Me, I'm just not going to install Windows 10.

        • Is the dll signed?

          Sounds like a job for a hex editor to me. Cripple the centralized dll, cripple the whole operation.

          • It wouldn't surprise me if that wrecked the entire TCP/IP stack.

            Keep in mind that this is Microsoft. The company that wrote an OS where the only way to check for, download, and install updates is through the web browser, to avoid accusations of monopolistic abuse against Netscape.
            • Only if you do something silly, like set the hard coded ip to 0.0.0.0 or so me thing similarly dumb.

              Instead, point it 192.168.0.1, or whatever your router is. That is a real network device, and the request will simply fail.

    • by kruug ( 4451395 )

      it's been demonstrated that the OS will talk to 107 domains whether or not some switches are toggled in the Control Panel to give the illusion of privacy.

      That's also been proven false, assuming you're talking about the CheesusCrust post on Voat.

  • Of course not (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @02:05PM (#52591707)

    "You Can't Turn Off Cortana In the Windows 10 Anniversary Update"

    Of course not- that might interfere with their advertising schemes and the ability to monitor whatever they like in order to better monetize your entire existence.

    Welcome to the Brave New World of surveillance, brought to you by the same forward-thinking folks that brought you Windows ME, the Zune, and PlaysForSure.

  • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @02:05PM (#52591711) Journal

    Why would anyone run this thing? "New, shiny" seems to be the only argument I have heard that has any relationship to reality.

    • I've already switched one of my computers from Windows to Linux because of Microsoft's Windows 10 disaster. The surprising part (for me, at least) is that I've not even looked back.
    • With two days to go on the "free" upgrade, I had thought about "upgrading" my seldom-used Windows 8.1 partition but this latest antic has guaranteed that I won't. MS, you don't own my computer no matter how powerful you think you are.

    • If you depend on Windows-only software you will have to use Win10 sooner or later if anything because the newer hardware won't work with 7/8 anymore.
      And I say this as someone who really hates Win 10. I myself plan to move to Linux and only use Windows for games
    • by macxcool ( 1370409 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @02:50PM (#52592343)
      I agree. We bought a little Acer E3-111 for my wife with Windows 8.1 awhile back. It worked just fine. We had some problems with the touchpad recently and I figured, why not upgrade to Windows 10. We've both regretted that decision. It run slowly, and every few days there's new reasons on Slashdot and elsewhere not to run Windows 10. A few days ago I booted Linux Mint 18, Mate edition from a USB stick. Firefox (my wife's preffered browser) started so quickly we were startled and everything was very smooth. I looked at the hits on my firewall/proxy server from her IP and they were down to almost nothing. I'll be upgrading her to Linux this weekend.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      I use Win7 it as game-launcher and for MS-Office. For the first I will not consider Win10 before 2020 when Wion7 security patches will end. For the second, I can confine it into a VM (with Win7 or Win10) after 2020 or run Office in Wine, probably in a VM as well, this trash is insecure as hell...

  • Just don't connect to the Internet. Computers can be used for more than surfing the web and twittering.
    • Brilliant idea. You should get off the Internet and move far away from civilized human beings.

    • by jandrese ( 485 )
      Wouldn't it be easier to remove the microphone? Granted, this is tricky on a laptop, but for desktops it's fairly straightforward.
  • by bagofbeans ( 567926 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @02:09PM (#52591775)
  • by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @02:11PM (#52591801)

    Does this mean I can finally try out cortana?
    Or does it still require login?

  • Linux Gaming Support (Score:4, Informative)

    by iCEBaLM ( 34905 ) <{moc.mlabeci} {ta} {mlabeci}> on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @02:11PM (#52591805)

    That's it. That's all that we need. If we could somehow figure out a way to get a good gaming experience on Linux then the fabled Year of the Linux Desktop(tm) would manifest in reality.

    Windows would be relegated to the office (and even that can change since more and more apps are web based) and we would finally be free.

    • by geek ( 5680 )

      That's it. That's all that we need. If we could somehow figure out a way to get a good gaming experience on Linux then the fabled Year of the Linux Desktop(tm) would manifest in reality.

      Windows would be relegated to the office (and even that can change since more and more apps are web based) and we would finally be free.

      Easy. Tell the kernel developers to take their heads out of their asses and accept that graphics card makers have proprietary shit to protect. Until the FOSS people learn to play nice with others gaming on Linux will be complete shit.

      • When you download the Linux binary, it comes with lots of proprietary drivers with no source available. You have to use Linux-libre to have a fully FOSS kernel.

        Anyway, the problem isn't bad hardware support. The main problem is video game companies foregoing Linux support, or making it really shoddy as an afterthought.
        • Well it is a lot of chicken and the egg problem.
          1. the GNU/Linux distributions were made off of the Unix (server) framework design. While this give us a lot of great things. However Human User Interface has always been an afterthought. Audio/Video/Input Devices have always been a last ditch add on to the system.

          2. The GNU/RMS fanbois are so zealot about keeping it open that there are not enough popular distributions that include 3rd party drivers because such companies are unwilling or unable to make such t

          • 2. The GNU/RMS fanbois are so zealot about keeping it open that there are not enough popular distributions that include 3rd party drivers because such companies are unwilling or unable to make such tools GNU

            You're talking out of your ass. Most distros use the regular Linux kernel, only a handful use Linux-libre (i.e. with all of the closed source drivers stripped out).

      • by unrtst ( 777550 )

        Tell the kernel developers to take their heads out of their asses and accept that graphics card makers have proprietary shit to protect. Until the FOSS people learn to play nice with others gaming on Linux will be complete shit.

        Only replying cause you have low uid, or I'd think you were just trolling (and you probably are).

        How has the way the Linux kernel is managed negatively affected proprietary graphics card drivers?
        On windows, you have to install proprietary drivers as admin. Same thing on Linux. Both ship with some level of built in support that usually isn't the latest and greatest, but works well enough.

        The proprietary binary blob on Linux has performed on par with the Windows drivers for over a decade, and has even outperf

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      We will see. Things do no look so bad for Linux gaming with Vulcan. All it needs is for some major engines to support Vulcan instead or alongside off DirectX. I will probably have to keep a Win7 or Win10 VM around for Office though (customers demand it), or confine it in Wine.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Switched to Mint, won't upgrade past Win7.

    Fuck you, Microsoft.

  • by mmell ( 832646 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @02:15PM (#52591855)
    Y'know, Microsoft has never made any bones about their OS being a proprietary system. Whether you agree with their choices or not, you're bound by them when you use their OS. Problem is, there is a lot of appeal to their OS - nearly universal familiarity among the user base (which is large), nearly ubiquitous applications (especially in the office/business space), pre-installation (something like $50.00 a shot, as opposed to ~$175, so I guess that hurts less) . . .

    You want an OS that works your way? Tell ya what - get a bunch of your fellow technically-oriented geek friends together and make your own! (Actually, I'm sure this has been done. I think such systems are called "GNU Linux"?) Otherwise, as long as they don't outright break what they sold you, you can deal with MS's heavy-handed management of your systems. Frankly, with all the moaning about MS security and unpatched MS OS's in the wild, how did everyone expect them to respond? They're still the de facto business OS of choice and their primary customer is extremely security conscious. MS is listening to the bucks, not the users. Since their software is proprietary, that is as it should be. Unless you actively find a way to prevent it, Microsoft pretty much insists on their right to make every licensed MS OS instance reasonably uniform. That way, both security and reliability can theoretically be maximized for the entire user base.

    In short - deal with it or run something else. Just don't expect Microsoft to waste any time or money trying to do things your way unless you're big business with big bucks.

    • In short - deal with it or run something else.

      This and the rest of your post is quite accurate, whether we like it or not.

      So I do run something else and am quite happy--- and productive--- doing so.

    • That's exacly the plan.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Y'know, Microsoft has never made any bones about their OS being a proprietary system.

      Windows made money selling copies. Apple makes money taking a cut of every sale in their walled garden. Google makes money data mining the shit out of everything. The new Microsoft seems to want to be the old Microsoft + Apple + Google. It used to be pick your poison, now it's all of the above. I hope they choke on it.

  • That's the anniversary surprise!!
  • Seems like yesterday that they tried to integrate IE into Windows.

  • I Say Bullshit! (Score:2, Informative)

    by WheezyJoe ( 1168567 )

    If you don't like Cortana, you can make it go away and never use it.

    From TFA: Microsoft told PCWorld. "If you like, you can also easily hide Cortana and the search box in the taskbar altogether."

    Cortana is simply a browser searchbar that uses Bing, re-located to the taskbar, and can talk. Siri reaches out to Apple servers when you use it, OK Google goes to Google servers. Microsoft is simply playing catch-up. The only news here is you can no longer give Cortana a lobotomy by cutting off its access to Bin

    • Re:I Say Bullshit! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Killall -9 Bash ( 622952 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @03:08PM (#52592605)
      In this brave new world, hiding an app is equivalent to turning it off.
    • Re:I Say Bullshit! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @03:09PM (#52592615)

      If you don't like Cortana, you can make it go away and never use it.

      From TFA: Microsoft told PCWorld. "If you like, you can also easily hide Cortana and the search box in the taskbar altogether."

      Cortana is simply a browser searchbar that uses Bing, re-located to the taskbar, and can talk.

      1. change default browser from Edge to anything else... except IE. Be sure your new Browser does not use Bing as its search engine.
      2. Right-click on the Taskbar, choose to Hide Cortana.
      3. (optional) Install ClassicShell, Start8, or equivalent [wikipedia.org] to provide a convenient basic search functionality.
      4. (optional) Still paranoid? Try Spybot Anti-Beacon [safer-networking.org].
      5. Proceed as before. Run Steam or something.

      Unfortunately, you don't understand the difference between disabling Cortana and merely hiding it so you can't see it. And Microsoft is counting on that level of ignorance.

      After following those steps you listed, bring up Task manager and you will see that Cortana is still running. Kill the process and it immediately comes back. I did finally manage to successfully kill Cortana, but it's tricky and I experienced system instability afterward. So I just to Microsoft to fuck off and went back Windows 7.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      surprise, it's still running... and scanning your files... communicating with microsoft servers.. chewing up cpu time and internet bandwidth.

      the only way you'll be able to cut off cortana's access to the internet is to block it with hardware (router/firewall).

      then microsoft will get smart and funnel cortana traffic through the same ip addresses as windows update catalog files.

      it is doubtful you'll truly be able to permanently shut off the service(s) it runs under, microsoft has proven it is willing to reset

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you don't like Cortana, you can make it go away and never use it.

      From TFA: Microsoft told PCWorld. "If you like, you can also easily hide Cortana and the search box in the taskbar altogether."

      Cortana is simply a browser searchbar that uses Bing, re-located to the taskbar, and can talk. Siri reaches out to Apple servers when you use it, OK Google goes to Google servers. Microsoft is simply playing catch-up. The only news here is you can no longer give Cortana a lobotomy by cutting off its access to Bing.

      But to say "Cortana can't be disabled" is inaccurate, misleading FUD. There may be many reasons to shit on Microsoft, but this isn't one of them.
      Instructions:
      1. change default browser from Edge to anything else... except IE. Be sure your new Browser does not use Bing as its search engine.
      2. Right-click on the Taskbar, choose to Hide Cortana.
      3. (optional) Install ClassicShell, Start8, or equivalent [wikipedia.org] to provide a convenient basic search functionality.
      4. (optional) Still paranoid? Try Spybot Anti-Beacon [safer-networking.org].
      5. Proceed as before. Run Steam or something.

      Your insulting post has a very basic dictionary problem.
      "Hide Cortana" and "Disable Cortana" do not mean the same thing.

  • There are a lot of windows partners that sell hardware that BARELY runs Windows 10 as it is. In the race to make cheaper and cheaper hardware, there are products like the HP Stream notebook that comes with only 2GB of RAM and Windows 10 pre-installed. By the time you're done booting up, you have maybe 500mb of RAM available to run *A* application. (do not try and run multiple applications)...

    And that's with most of the crap turned off. My guess is that people with minimal hardware who choose to update, won'

  • How to disable BITS (Score:4, Informative)

    by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @02:54PM (#52592389)

    Not exactly on topic but without BITS ...windows won't update.

    As you already know if you simply disable BITS Windows will automatically re-enable it and turn it on again whenever it feels like it.

    The solution is to create a user account, disable the user account and then configure BITS service to run as that disabled user. This will cause it to permanently fail. Microsoft isn't yet checking for this.

    I would comment further but anything I say would be obvious and repetitive like arguing with Natas over the finer points of running Microsoft.

    • Here's somethingI discovered. Since Windows Firewall is useless crap, i always use a third party firewall that lets me actually block things I want to block (good for blocking "telemetry"). However, Windows 10 will not update if you disable Windows Firewall. Updates will simply fail. After some digging I traced an error number back to a Microsoft document confirming this.

      At least that's how it was in all previous versions. I have no interest in this current version.

  • I upgraded to windows 10 imagining that it would be a good idea to accept a free offer to extend the lifetime of my windows license. I assumed Microsoft had sorted out their shit, and wasn't going to piss everyone opff after the bad press of windows 8. Afterall windows releases go good (XP) bad (Vista) good (7) bad (8) good (10), right?.

    I've been using windows 10 for about a year now. It seems ok I guess. The one super annoying thing is that file transfers on my dirves are super slow for me. I spent a

  • I block Bing and the rest of the phone-home servers at the router level.

  • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @06:28PM (#52594881)

    Find a 15 step workaround on reddit
    Find the downvoted comment that has a 16th step that is vital and left out, but got democracied down by fools.
    Perform all the steps
    Test with wireshark to be sure it worked
    Discover a 17th step
    Perform that, post it as reply so randos can downvote it

    Or maybe just install an OS that doesn't fucking hate you.

  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @07:40PM (#52595331)

    Every time I think Microsoft has been as shitty about Windows 10 as possible, it finds a way to be even shittier.

  • by TechForensics ( 944258 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @07:55PM (#52595405) Homepage Journal

    The laundry list of what you can and can't do with Windows 10 is so noxious and Windows control so pervasive, someone with a new Windows 10 installation needs to effectively root the machine. Some URLs (MS telemetry) cannot be blocked by firewall. The administrator/user will not have access to the hosts file. (Boot under Linux and edit hosts file? Maybe or maybe not.) The owner/administrator needs a further level of root privilege (or just REAL root status in the first place) to prevent MS and its corporate industry partners from setting non-modifiable advertising and and hosts.ini to default settings via hardware-- if Intel were on board even running Linux could be subject to mandatory privileges blocking no one could avoid. We have to realize what is happening- MS is turning into Verizon and intel PCs are locked-down Verizon phones. Do we want to have to root each new PC we set up, or go en masse to Apple? That may be how it is lining up. Is there anything at all we can do? At this point with the Win10 handwriting on the wall I see nothing but converting to Linux or Apple as a group. MS is apparently getting ready to sign its own death warrant. We need to get really angry and DO something? (It's Apple with VMs for me.)

  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Wednesday July 27, 2016 @10:40PM (#52596193) Journal

    This is why I run windows 7 for my games. But considering dumping windows and going linux only gamer. Well, that and my old consoles, I have plenty of games I can play on those also. Very few new PC games do it for me anymore. Doom was a great disappointment. It's Quake III with better graphics. Which is cool if you are into arena shooters, but I'm not. Maybe I'm getting too old, but PC games suck these days for the most part.

    Linux before Windows 10 for sure.

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