Ultra Hal Personal Assistant

Martin Brinkmann
May 7, 2007
Updated • Jul 1, 2013
Windows, Windows software

The Ultra Hal Assistant is a personal - software - assistant that may increase your productivity. It is possible to chat or speak with the artificial intelligence to let it do a number of things for you. This includes starting programs, reading text, reminding you of appointments, looking up local news and weather, defining words, dictating text and more. Note that you do need a microphone for that for obvious reasons.

Let me quickly describe the installation process before I explain the program's functionality in detail. You can download the newest version of the Ultra Hal Assistant and the Text to Speech Reader from the official developer website.

You can customize the program after the installation, by selecting a character for your personal assistant, and typing in your name and that of the assistant. You can choose between male and female voices in the interface and it is probably a good idea to test them all before you make a decision in this regard. At the time of testing, two female and eight male voices are available for selection.

The artificial intelligence learns from your conversations. It will ask questions and remembers the answers. My first conversation with the AI started with the question if I was male or female. Conversations will get more complex after time but this seems to take a while. Here is a list of tasks and things that the assistant can do for your:

  • Start programs - The Assistant will not open all programs but many default ones from Windows and all that have a shortcut on your desktop.
  • Note and remind of appointments - you could for instance say "have to work tomorrow at 9:35 am" and the assistant will get the meaning and remind you of the work. You can set the amount of days and minutes for the reminder.
  • Remember emails and start email program - (Martin's email is [email protected], to write an email write or say "Email Martin" which will open the default email program.
  • Remember phone numbers and call numbers (if supported by modem)
  • Information about local weather and local news once set in the options. Only valid for the United States
  • Define words for you. Ask "What is Art" and the assistant will define art for your.
  • Read text. You do need the add-on called Text to Speech Reader for this option. It can be downloaded for free from the website.
  • Perform basic calculations.
  • Dictate text. If you activate Speech Recognition in the options you can use your speech to do all of the above plus dictate text to the assistant

One very nice feature of the software program is that you can setup the assistant as an AIM Bot. Contacts of yours can then chat with the bot while your computer is connected to the AOL instant messenger network.

The Ultra Hal website offers several free plugins in several categories that add functionality to it. For instance new 3D-models to the program or install speech recognition plugins for commercial speech recognition softwares such as IBM Via Voice.

I would suggest that you download the trial version from the Zabaware website and test the assistant for yourself. It could boost your productivity especially with speech recognition enabled. My most used features are so far "write email" and "start program" but it is somehow very interesting to simply chat with the assistant.


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  1. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 1:52 pm

    Does it come back after every “moment” update?

  2. Baloney said on March 9, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Yeah right.. Like this is going to stop defender from running =) This is comedy gold right here.

  3. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    no ‘about the author’ paragraph?

  4. Gregory said on March 9, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    For permanent disable defender is if removed complete from system no just change permission folder.

    Just this is joke.

  5. moi said on March 9, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    simpler, load Autoruns (SysInternals)
    – filter “Defender”
    – untag all entries
    – reboot
    nothing has changed since my 1st modification years ago

  6. John G. said on March 9, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    I wouldn’t disable Defender imho, it has too many hidden roots inside Windows itself. One time I tried to uninstall it using brute force scripts and then the Onedrive feature stopped working definitely. A reinstallation was needed and since those times I prefer to maintain Defender untouched. It’s a better method to install another antivirus and it will disable Defender in a safer and easier mode (e.g., Avast is the best in this way, and also Panda Cloud Free is good too).

  7. boris said on March 10, 2023 at 12:19 am

    You can not stop defender from running in background or remove it without some penalty. All you can do is to limit telemetry.

    1. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:52 pm


      It’s probably Smartscreen which is preventing WD from being disabled. Get rid of that and the problem should be solved: https://thegeekpage.com/disable-windows-defender-smartscreen/#How_to_disable_the_Windows_Defender_SmartScreen_via_Local_Group_Policy_Editor

  8. hoho said on March 10, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Remove Windows and go for Linux.

    1. basingstoke said on March 10, 2023 at 2:51 pm

      Linux sucks dude. Besides it’s not comparable to Windows, these OSes are in different classes entirely.

      1. Derp said on March 10, 2023 at 4:36 pm

        I use Linux as my daily driver. It’s far more stable than Windows. When’s the last time you used Linux, 2010?

      2. Bromosexual said on March 11, 2023 at 2:04 am


        You’re right, dude. Bro, linux is just a bunch of code that starts before the OS, dude. Brobrodude, that shit ain’t even got emojis, dudebrodudeman! Dudebro, it’s no way near as cool as Windows with its hardcoded abilities to make money off the user, bro. Yo brodude man, you’re the coolest dude ever man, bro. Dude.

      3. basingstoke said on August 16, 2023 at 7:20 pm

        Lol what? Windows 7 doesn’t come with any Emojis

  9. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    Download Autoruns and remove the checkmark from Windows Defender. It doesn’t remove it, but it will never run. https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/autoruns

  10. Simon said on March 10, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    Just use “Defender Control”:

    Per this video,
    it also works on Windows 11 too…

  11. Someone said on March 10, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    Win Defender, is completly the most succesful free-built in antivirus of Microsoft. Really nice product. Saved my ass a lot of times. Has updated malware database, completly strong defence
    from whatever smart screen disables. Or if you want better and more upgrated (paid) program,
    you can go further. But defender is always on your side.

  12. CalixtoWVR1 said on March 10, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    Why would one disable Windows (or Microsoft) Defender in the first place?. I consider this to be playing with fire big time. Everybody knows that if one is using another A-V, Defender will be disabled on its own and won’t be in one’s way.

  13. Ed D said on March 10, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    Why would I want to disable Windows Defender in the first place? It’s a great anti virus in my opinion. Been using it since Windows 8 and and never had a problem or a virus. Why mess with a good thing, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  14. owl said on August 17, 2023 at 1:57 am

    How a ridiculous article!
    I am thoroughly stunned.

    Why Should You Disable First-Party Windows Defender?
    I can only think that it is “malice or perversely intention (want you to buy a third-party AV where you can expect a back margin)” to guide invalidation without showing the premise.
    No sane company will use third-party closed source programs (such as AV).

    As I thought, “Ghacks Technology News” seems to be coming to downfall.

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