You’ve probably seen the commercials for Cortana. It works like Siri or Ok Google. Basically, it’s a voice-activated interface that can perform a host of tasks like searching your computer or the web, setting reminders, showing news related to your interests, and lots more.
In order to access everything Cortana has to offer, she (and, therefore, Microsoft) needs to know a whole lot about your life. And she will be using computer resources to bring you her wonderfulness. So here’s where you need to pause before proceeding.
Any time you think about adding new software to your trading computer, you should be asking yourself if you really need it. Or, at least, if you really need to activate everything it can do.
Trading is serious business that requires your full concentration, not to mention the full resources of your computer.
Before you make Cortana your new best friend, we recommend you consider whether that makes sense for the way you use your computer.
Computing is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. It’s a personal computer. The name itself implies your computer should fit you personally… your needs, your preferences, your work style.
So although Microsoft wants you to think that Cortana is the greatest thing since the invention of the computer, she may or may not be great for you.
To help you make a decision, here are some of the pros and cons of Cortana.
1. You’ll be able to complete common jobs, such as sending an email or writing a shopping list, by speaking instead of by typing.
For some traders, this will be a big timesaver. For others, it could be frustrating.
You might want to try it out on your phone first to see how the process works. Then think about whether it makes sense to do it the Cortana way on your desktop.
2. You’ll be able to find files or answers more quickly, especially if you’re a slow typist.
A trader might want to ask Cortana questions like “how are the US markets doing?” or “what’s the value of Microsoft stock?” or “what’s the cheapest flight to NYC tomorrow?”
You may need to experiment with how you phrase the questions. Just like when using Google search, how you say it can affect what Cortana thinks you’re asking for.
3. If you let Cortana learn about your preferences, she will make suggestions about restaurants, events, or other things you are interested in.
Let’s say you tell Cortana you’re interested in AAPL. Cortana might pop up with a message telling you Apple CEO Tim Cook is going to be interviewed by CNBC today at 2pm.
4. If you have Cortana on your phone, you can start a task on your desktop that will be finished on your phone.
For example, if your phone isn’t handy, you could send a text message from your desktop.
Or you could set a reminder from your desktop to buy something when you’re at a certain store. Then, when you’re at that store, Cortana on your phone will remind you.
1. Having a window pop up and make suggestions at random times can be really distracting.
What if you are totally focused on analyzing a stock chart and you are suddenly interrupted by some news about a new Mexican restaurant opening in your town? Are you the type of person who could just ignore it, or would it completely side-track your productivity?
2. Cortana takes up a lot of system resources. And the more she knows about you, the more resources she uses.
If you’re the type of trader who assiduously gets rid of any applications that take away resources from your trading efforts, the cost/benefit of Cortana is liable to be too high.
3. All the information Cortana amasses about you is passed on to Microsoft.
Traders tend to be close-to-the-vest people. Consider carefully if you’re okay with Microsoft knowing about your location, your friends, your calendar, your stock interests, and your email.
To Maximize Cortana Usage
Like any app, the more you learn about it, the more you’ll get from it.
1. To start your journey with Cortana, take a look at Microsoft’s Meet Cortana series of short videos, just to get an idea of what’s possible.
2. Learn how to ‘train’ Cortana (i.e., set up your preferences) in this article from PCWorld.
3. Go beyond the basics with this article from Windows Central to learn how to do even more, like track packages or find out how to say something in another language.
4. If you’re like me and prefer Google over Bing, you’ll want to check out another Windows Central article.
In fact, Windows Central has a whole series of great articles on using Cortana and Windows 10.
5. Consider making an appointment with yourself every day to learn and try out one new thing. You’ll be a pro in no time.
To Disable Cortana
If you decide you and Cortana just can’t be friends, here’s what to do.
1. Stop Cortana from gathering any more information about you by changing her settings.
For information on how to do it, see this helpful PCWorld article.
2. Delete your personal information from Microsoft’s servers.
The above article will help you with this step as well.
3. Even if Cortana isn’t gathering your information anymore, she’s still running in the background, using system resources. So you may want to disable the software.
Disabling Cortana (and other Windows 10 apps like Xbox) will ensure you aren’t wasting computing power you need to have available for trading. Watch this video from Windows Forum to see how.
Whether you love Cortana or hate her, you shouldn’t just ignore her. Either make a decision to jump on board the Cortana train, or throw her out the window.
At a minimum, it’s in the best interests of every trader to at least know how to change the settings. That way, you can rest easy knowing Cortana isn’t doing anything you don’t know about.
We hope today’s Quick Tip helped you. If you found this helpful, you’ll want to check out the other computer How-To’s I’ve created on this page. You can always call us if you have questions: 800-387-5250