Hard Proof of Windows Cortana Abounds in Windows 10 Technical Preview

With news of Cortana making its way from Windows Phone to the desktop of Windows 10, it’s a shame that Microsoft didn’t make it available for use in the newly-released technical preview build…or did they?

Having signed up for the Windows 10 technical preview myself, I decided to take the usual dig around to see what references I could unearth of Cortana within the build. So far, my findings have me feeling as though Cortana isn’t missing, but simply disabled (as in, I fully expect the enthusiast community to have Cortana enabled within the coming days).

At the very least, the traces of Cortana peppered throughout this build are more than enough to adequately validate what select people outside of Microsoft already know and have reported.

With that said, let’s first have a look at some not-so-hidden references to Cortana that a simple search of all of C:\ reveals:

Windows.Cortana.dll” pretty much sums things up quite nicely, huh?

Be that as it may, let’s continue with a showing of Cortana’s special little corner of Windows 10’s registry (to note, there are copious amounts of references to Cortana throughout the registry, such as those in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Speech_OneCore):

Next up on the docket are what appear to be most (if not all) of Cortana’s Windows App files. Between the files in this directory and the aforementioned registry entries, I feel confident that Cortana is in this Windows 10 technical preview build after all, but just disabled (with the potential to be enabled via a bit of messing about):

Don’t those files just look tauntingly yummy? Well, lucky for us, there’s a particular file in that directory — speechuxres.dll — that contains a nice little bonus for those who would like to hear what Cortana’s beeps and boops might sound like. Using all the individual sounds found therein, I’ve compiled the following inconsequentially-sized 351 KB MP3 to demonstrate:

 

Last but not least, there are numerous files containing internal references to Cortana, a sampling of which are as follows:

C:\Windows\appcompat\appraiser\Telemetry\APPRAISER_FileInventory.xml

C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Speech_OneCore\Common\tokens.xml

C:\Windows\WinSxS\amd64_microsoft-windows-cortana-brokeredapi_31bf3856ad364e35_6.4.9841.0_none_58390d6323ac382b\Windows.Cortana.dll

C:\Windows\WinSxS\amd64_microsoft-windows-d..ent-dmpolicymanager_31bf3856ad364e35_6.4.9841.0_none_299f75e6f8b60278\policymanager.dll

C:\Windows\WinSxS\amd64_microsoft-windows-speechcommon-onecore_31bf3856ad364e35_6.4.9841.0_none_5a96a8d463e11575\tokens.xml

C:\Windows\WinSxS\FileMaps\$$_system32_21f9a9c4a2f8b514.cdf-ms

So, hard evidence of Windows Cortana? That was my mission here and I feel good with the outcome; however, I’ve really only just begun to take a deep dive into this build, so there’s undoubtedly more clues to stitch together. Again, it may very well be that Microsoft has stripped enough of Cortana to make it completely useless in this build, but it seems that enough of it is there to drive the point home that Cortana isn’t exclusively reserved for Windows Phone.

My work here is done for now, so let’s see what the rest of the enthusiast community cranks out in the days and weeks ahead. Until then, I’ll be digging around for more interesting tidbits laying in wait in the Windows 10 technical preview build. As always, if I find anything noteworthy, then I’ll be back to report on all of its goodness.

In other news, it’s refreshing to be interested in Windows again as an enthusiast. Kudos, Microsoft.

30 Comments

  1. Glad you are back, I have missed your coverage. Can’t wait to see what else you can find in Win 10!

  2. Stephen — did you see Digital Trends trying to take credit for this report? ‘Cortana is coming to Windows 10, and we found the system files to prove it’ is their bombastic headline. Posted a few hours after yours…

  3. Cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  4. What’s CORTANA All about?

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  6. You’re right about Cortana; the new build 9901 has leaked with working Cortana system.

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