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Microsoft’s Voice Assistant Can Now Set Up Windows 10 For You

April 7, 2017, 9:42 PM UTC

As part of a Windows 10 update next week, computer users will be able to enlist Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant for help with the frustrating job of setting up their new PCs.

For example, people will be able to set up Wi-Fi connections on their computers and sign into their Microsoft accounts all via voice instead of using the keyboard and mouse, according to a review of the Windows 10 update by tech news site The Verge.

Microsoft has long worked to make setting up Windows machines easier, and voice commands are certainly one way to accomplish that goal. Windows 10 ships with Cortana voice-recognition technology always enabled.

The new Windows 10 release, called the Creator’s Update, is slated to ship to customers on April 11. Microsoft announced the update with much fanfare in October.

Cortana is Microsoft’s response to Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone Siri voice assistant. Other competitors in the virtual assistant race include the Alexa speech technology embedded in Amazon (AMZN) Echo connected speaker and Google (GOOGL) Assistant.

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All of these companies are pushing voice as an easier alternative to using keyboards and touch screens to interact with computers. Amazon Echo (with Alexa) has been a huge success in the home, and is used by consumers to order pizzas, and rides, or shop. Google is challenging Echo with Home, banking that its wide experience in web searches give it a broader trove of information that it can tap for users, beyond shopping and commerce, where Echo is strong.

Microsoft is banking that Cortana’s integration with its desktop software will give it an edge in business environments whereas Amazon Echo and Google Home have focused on the home. It’s also making Cortana available on iOS and Android smartphones to compete with Siri and Google Assistant as well.

So while Microsoft has a vested interest in pushing Cortana in the office and on smart phones, others may not be so thrilled that Cortana is be enabled by default in the latest Windows: One of the top trending GoogleCortana-related searches over the past few days has been “how to disable Cortana.”