After endless teasing, Microsoft has muted Cortana during Windows 10 setup. Enterprise, Pro, and Education users won't have to deal with a cacophony of “Hi there, I'm Cortana” when they install the operating system.
Further, Cortana voice-over will be disabled by default, so you won't hear settings read to you. Users can instead start Narrator with the usual WIN + Ctrl + Enter shortcut. Microsoft says this change was made due to user feedback.
Instead, voice-enabled Cortana setup will only be active on Home. It's still baffling that the company didn't roll it out this way by default, but at least it's fixed now.
From Assistant to Productivity
The fact it's axing this a year later probably has a lot to do with its general re-evaluation of Cortana as an assistant. Microsoft has been looking closely at ways to differentiate her from Alexa or Google Assistant, which have a much wider hardware reach.
As the year continues, we expect to see more of Cortana's annoying features removed for streamlining. These are likely to be traded for tighter productivity integrations and backend features like improved search.
Unfortunately, users are unlikely to see this change until Windows 10's next feature update. 19H1 is currently doing rounds on Insider rings as Microsoft preps it for release in the first half of the year.
The minor change to Cortana is likely to be joined by a Windows 10 Light mode, Sandbox security features, and simplified Start layouts. It's unlikely to be a huge improvement, but after several botched releases, the quality of life additions will be appreciated.