5 virtual assistant software alternatives to Windows 10’s Cortana

By: Matthew Adams
4 minute read

Virtual assistant programs are AI software that can assist you with various things. You can request that virtual assistants send texts or emails, provide weather details, search the web, remember phone numbers, provide dictionary definitions, open software and much more. These are also programs that you can use with microphones or chat with by entering text. There are more AI applications for mobiles than desktops, but some publishers have launched a few virtual assistant programs for Windows.

Apple’s Siri was among the first digital assistants for mobiles and tablets, and Microsoft included its first virtual assistant in Windows 10 and Phone 8.1. Cortana is Windows 10’s virtual assistant, and that can keep a notebook for you, send emails, tell you the time in various countries, replace the Calculator app, provide football scores and fixtures, set alarms, play songs with apps, schedule dates, etc. Although it might seem little more than a search tool at first, Cortana is a lot more. However, you can still try out any of these alternative third-party virtual assistants for various Windows platforms.


Braina is virtual assistant software that has a freeware Lite and proprietary Pro version, which is retailing at $29. With the Lite version you can save notes, set alarms and reminders, open programs and files, open websites, play songs, get weather details and search web. The software is also a handy dictionary and thesaurus. However, the Pro version can do quite a bit more and enables users to dictate speech to text for word processing, make Skype calls, set up hotkeys to trigger custom commands, create keyboard macros and establish startup commands that automatically execute when you first open Braina.

Jarvis Light

Jarvis Lite is freeware you can add to Windows by pressing the Download Now button on its home page. This application has minimal system requirements, so it’s a good choice for more outdated laptops or desktops. With Jarvis Lite’s shell commands users can launch software, shut down Windows, play songs, open and send emails and open web pages. The software’s termination commands come in handy for closing programs and windows. In addition, Jarvis enables speech to text dictation and provides handy audio controls; and you can also set up custom voice commands with it.


Denise is VA software available for $120, and there’s no stripped down freeware version. However, the software might still be well worth it as it comes with a unique set of avatars and a GUI that Cortana can’t match. Denise has male, female and robot avatars within a real-time display system with millions of colors. Users can resize the avatars to alternative resolutions and customize the UI’s menu options.

Aside from its amazing avatars and GUI, this virtual assistant has weather forecast, email, agenda, search and dictionary modules. You can use Denise as a media player to play music and video or as an app launcher to open programs with. The software supports both Spanish and English dictation to dictate text in external software. Denise can rip music from CDs and convert it to MP3 format, and it can also send photos and videos to Picasa and YouTube accounts. Kiosk Studio is one of the software’s more novel modules with which you can set up PowerPoint style presentations hosted by Denise. With a little programming, users can even integrate Denise with third-party software.

Ultra Hal Assistant 6.2

Ultra Hal Assistant 6.2 is retailing at $29.95 and runs on most Windows platforms. This VA software includes 3D avatars that users can chat with, and it also has a UI that you can customize with skins. The best thing about this software is that it boasts an expansive chat database for more natural discussions. It also includes its own text editor for text dictation. Aside from that, this digital assistant can search for and open programs, tell you the weather, replace the Calculator app, dial phone numbers, start emails and provide reminders when required.

Syn Virtual Assistant

This is a freeware virtual assistant you can add to Windows 7/8/8.1/10 from this website. Syn Virtual Assistant is another that includes 3D avatars that bring it to life. Iron Man fans will love the software’s 3D Iron Man avatar. The software’s SynEngine integrates with Skype, Google maps, Yahoo, Twitter and other web services. Syn opens programs and websites, manages contacts, checks email and plays media. The software also supports Visual Basic, C++ and C# plug-ins so that developers can further enhance it.

At the moment there aren’t many digital assistants for Windows. However, virtual assistants could be the next big thing in the software industry. Hal, Syn, Denise, Jarvis and Braina are five alternatives to Cortana you can install now; and they’ll probably be lots more new virtual assistant software for Windows.

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