[Updated] Playing with Cortana (Hidden Features!)

by evil_pro3 years ago

Microsoft appears to be testing some new visual changes for Cortana with a limited group of people.
I have explained how to enable these features now and linked to my premade registry files ready to merge at the end of this post.

About a week ago I saw a tweet about someone’s Cortana search box moving up to the top as soon as he starts typing something.
I spent some time looking into this last night.

It appears that Microsoft is testing this and some other changes with a small group of randomly chosen users.
While looking into this, I found some more options as well.


Update: More settings

Shortly after posting this, Ramesh Srinivasan discovered another setting which allows you to change the “Ask me anything” text which the Search box shows in the taskbar.

To do so, navigate to:


and change the Value String to the text you want it to show.

Cortana Search Box Text (changed)

Thanks to Ramesh Srinivasan for this one.

Search Box On Top

This is the one I already talked about. It makes the search box move to the top as soon as you type something.

Cortana Search Box on Top

White Search Box

This one’s pretty interesting. When turned on, Cortana will be white in your taskbar. This might actually hint at a possible white theme for the taskbar in a future version of Windows 10.

Cortana White Search Box

Note: This one doesn’t change immediately. I had to sign out and sign back in to see the result.

Show Search Glyph Left Of Search Box

When this setting is enabled, Cortana will display a search icon left of the text in the search box.

Cortana with Search Glyph

Show Submit Button Right Of Search Box

This one is pretty similar to the previous one. When enabled, it will display a Submit button on the right side of the search box.

Cortana with Submit Button

Border Customization

We’re not done yet. There are two more settings which caught my interest.

They’re called SearchBoxBorderColor and SearchBoxBorderThickness in the Registry. From looking at the names we can already see where this is going.
I changed the Value of SearchBoxBorderColor to FF995511 and SearchBoxBorderThickness to 4, which resulted in the following:

Cortana Border Customization

How can you try this?

These “hidden” features can be enabled by using the Registry Editor.
For your convenience, I created .reg files for all tweaks except the border ones.

You can download an archive with them here.

In case you want to do it manually, open regedit.exe and navigate to the following key:


Here you should see two DWORDs called Current and RotateFlight. I recommend giving both the value 0.

Next there should be two sub keys called 0 and 1, which contain the other subkeys for each setting. To ensure that the changes apply, change the desired option in both keys.

Cortana Tweaks Registry Tree

Each of these subkeys contains a DWORD called Value. That’s what you want to edit. In all cases except the BorderColor, to enable something, set its Value to 1 and to disable something change it to 0. It’s that simple. For the BorderColor, you need to specify an ARGB HEX color.

All of them should work on 14393 as well as on recent preview builds.

 Anyone is free to redistribute our findings, as long as Credit is given.