Microsoft's digital assistant Cortana is one of the major additions to Windows 10 — and it's a winner. Turn it on and Cortana alerts you to upcoming meetings; searches your PC and the web; tells you about the weather, news, and sports; and a lot more.
To help you get the most out of Cortana, I've put together some of my favorite tips for using it — including using Cortana to manage your Google Calendar, identify the music you're listening to, and track packages and flights.
- This article assumes that you're already familiar with the basics of Cortana. If you want help getting started, see the Cortana section of Computerworld’s “Windows 10 cheat sheet.”
- Keep in mind that there have been six major updates to Windows 10 since its initial release in July 2015. This article reflects how Cortana works if you’ve installed the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809), so if you haven’t installed that update, what you see and read here may vary slightly from what you see in your version of Windows 10.
[ Further reading: Cortana explained: How to use Microsoft's virtual assistant for business ]
Get a direct answer to your question
When you ask Cortana a question, it will typically show you the answer via a listing of web links; you then open the search results in your browser. That's what happened, for example, when I asked, "What was the coldest day of the year in 2015 in Boston?"
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