Microsoft deprecates the Windows Cortana app
If you are one of the few Windows users who is using the Cortana standalone application for Windows, you will soon no longer be able to do so.
A recent update of the Cortana application in the latest Windows 11 Insider build ends Cortana's short reign on Windows. Instead of providing its usual functionality, Cortana displays "Cortana in Windows as a standalone app is deprecated" instead when it is launched.
A support page, End of support for Cortana in Windows, confirms Microsoft's plan to deprecate Cortana starting in August 2023. Microsoft is quick to point out in it that other tools and apps available that offer "powerful productivity features", including Windows Copilot and Microsoft 365 Copilot, the new Bing, and voice access in Windows 11.
Furthermore, while the standalone Cortana app is going away, Cortana lives on in several of Microsoft's products, including Outlook mobile, Teams mobile, Microsoft Teams display and Microsoft Teams rooms.
The company revealed its plans in early June 2023. Back then, it stated that the deprecation would begin in late 2023.
The deprecated Cortana app has the version 4.2308.1005.0, the version that is currently available in stable and some development builds is 4.2204.13303.0. One good thing that comes out of this is that users may uninstall the Cortana application once it has reached deprecation status. Microsoft locked the uninstallation of Cortana previously. While it is possible to circumvent this, it could cause issues.
Users of stable versions of Windows will have to wait a bit longer before Cortana is deprecated on their devices. The change landed in the latest Canary build of Windows 11 only and it will usually move from there to other development builds before it lands in the stable version of Windows.
The Cortana app update comes from the Microsoft Store though, which means that it does not require a specific Windows update installation.
Windows Copilot, Microsoft's AI powered helper tool, looks to become the main replacement of Cortana in Windows 11. The tool's current version is relatively weak when it comes to Windows-specific features, but this can change until the official release of the tool.