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by Phil Ball

Q. Every time Microsoft reinvents Windows, they seem to move things around making them harder to find. I want to search for them but Cortana not only searches My Computer but also throws in a lot of information from the Internet which just complicates the search by giving me just too much information that doesn't help me find features. Can I change that?

A. When I upgraded my computer to Windows 10, I quickly discovered that I did not like the way Cortana searches so I found out how to change it and now I'm much happier with Windows 10.

When I want to search for something on my computer, Cortana gives me too many results since there is a lot of superfluous info from the Internet. To my mind, searching my computer and searching the Internet are two entirely different jobs. If I want to search the Internet, I'll go to my browser and search using Google. If I'm looking for something on my computer, I want the search confined to only my computer. You can do this with one extra click during the search but I quickly tired of that so I found a way to change that behavior permanently.

To fix this, click on the Search button on the taskbar, and click on the Gear icon on the left side which takes you to Settings. The top setting says "Cortana can give you suggestions, ideas, reminders alerts, and more." I don't want it to do any of these things so I turn it Off. This is optional because many folks like to have the variety of info that Cortana can give them but I don't because it distracts me from getting things done.

Below that is the most important item that says, "Search online and include web results." Clicking Off on this one stops Cortana from making online searches and you return to the old way where Google handles online searching and Cortana only searches your computer. Now I can find where Microsoft hid things without reading unnecessary info from the Internet.

Published: Courier 10/17/15 - Page 7A