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.

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.

In fact, the biggest functional difference is that Cortana is far more useful than plain search thanks to the digital assistant's handy voice commands, reminders, the ability to send text messages, and so on.

That said, Microsoft s move is probably less about the practical differences between Cortana and search, and more about pushing people to use Cortana.

But what if you still don t want to use Cortana at all?

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