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Cortana might be new to Windows 10, but it has existed as part of Windows Phone for quite some time.
The Windows Phone version of Cortana gained a reputation for being a novelty feature. There are countless Web sites filled with questions you can ask Cortana to get a funny or sarcastic response. Personally, I have found the Windows Phone version of Cortana to be extremely useful in my travels. I use Cortana for everything from flight reminders to finding restaurants.
Using Cortana on a desktop computer takes a bit of an adjustment, however. It was originally designed for mobile devices, and desktop computers tend to be anything but mobile. Even so, Cortana can be useful on the desktop.
So far I have found Cortana on Windows 10 to be helpful as a desktop search tool. Cortana can find Internet and local resources. Suppose for instance you want to use Notepad, but you're not quite sure where to find it in the new Start menu. If you type "Notepad" into Cortana, the digital assistant will present you with a shortcut you can click on to launch Notepad. In addition, Cortana displays results that include Notepad-like apps you can download from the Windows Store.
Cortana is also useful as a Web search tool. Whenever you have to look something up, you can type your query into Cortana rather than opening up a browser window and going to a search engine. In some cases, you can ask for basic information and Cortana will give you the answer directly. For example, you can ask for the current exchange rate of dollars to pounds and Cortana will give you the answer. When Cortana doesn't know the answer to a question, it directs you to Bing.
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