Can Cortana and Xbox be removed from Windows 10 and how to eliminate buffering from Internet-connected TVs?


Q: I’m using Windows 10 and I have half a dozen items I’d like to remove like Xbox, Games and Games, and Cortana. These either have an uninstall button which is not active, or I am referred to as “programs” but they are not listed there. Where can I reach them? I have a very large disk space, it’s mostly for dumping stuff that I never use.

Jim Carroll

A: I hear you, especially about Cortana. Fortunately, Microsoft has stopped enabling Cortana by default in Windows 11.

You can disable Cortana in Windows 10 by going to Task Manager and clicking on the Startup tab. Select Cortana then click “Disable”.

Next, open the Start menu and locate Cortana. Right-click on Cortana and select “More”. Click on Application Settings and disable “Runs at login”.

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However, removing the Cortana app from your computer requires using PowerShell and editing the Windows Registry. It’s easy to make mistakes, so let me know if you want instructions on how to do it.

As for Xbox, I’m afraid it’s also one of the apps that comes with Windows and can’t be uninstalled without using PowerShell.

Again, I don’t recommend this to most users, but if you feel up to the challenge, let me know.

Q: I wonder if you have any suggestions for dealing with Apple Mail randomly dropping emails into a spam folder. I have to check my spam every day to make sure I haven’t missed something important. The emails are going to be spam even when the message is from an address I have received mail from before and when I have the sender in my contacts file. This happens frequently, but not always. I repeatedly removed the desired items from the spam folder and put them in my usual inbox, only to find the next day or a few days later new missives were spammed again.

At the same time, it keeps putting new mailings in my mailbox that I previously marked as junk and prefer not to receive. So it seems that it works badly in both directions.

I’m using an older MacBook, on macOS 10.14.6 Mojave and was told I couldn’t upgrade until I got a new computer.

Chuck Eberdt, Bellingham

A: I would start solving this problem in two steps.

First, turn off your spam filter. To do this, go to Mail Preferences and click on the Junk Mail tab, then uncheck “Enable Junk Mail Filtering”.

Then restart the computer, re-enable the junk mail filter and reconfigure your settings.

Second, check with your email service provider if you have configured different spam settings. Your emails may be misrouted before reaching Apple Mail.

Q: A friend was getting a lot of buffering on her TV. After several technical visits and a new receiver, she finally gave in and bought an expensive new television. To his horror, the buffering happened again.

His television is in no way connected to his computer. Can you suggest any reasons why this continues or what she might do?

Pat Lane, Mount Vernon

A: My TV is also not connected to my computer. But it is directly connected to the internet, and if my internet connection is slow, the TV will shut down to buffer.

If the TV is connected to the same ISP as the computer, I suggest running a broadband speed test on the computer. If the download speed is less than 5 megabits per second, you are below what Netflix recommends. The speed test will also show the ping time, which is the time it takes for your computer to get a response from the server. If this number is greater than 35 milliseconds, this may be causing these performance issues.

If your download speed is below 5 Mbps or your ping speed is above 35 ms, it’s time to talk to your service provider about fixing or upgrading your connection.


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