Can Cortana and Xbox be deleted from Windows 10, and how can buffering be eliminated from TVs connected to the internet?

Q: I use Windows 10 and have half a dozen items I would like to delete like Xbox, gaming and games, and Cortana. These either have an uninstall button that is not active or I am referred to “programs” but they are not listed there. Where can I get at them? I have very large disk space, it’s mainly about dumping things 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 the Task Manager and clicking on the Startup tab. Select Cortana and then click on “Disable.”

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

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Actually removing the Cortana app from your computer, though, requires using the PowerShell and editing the Windows registry. It’s easy to make mistakes, so let me know if you want instructions for doing that.

As for Xbox, I’m afraid that it too is one of the apps that comes with Windows and can’t be uninstalled without resorting to the PowerShell.

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

Q: I am wondering if you have any suggestions for dealing with Apple Mail randomly depositing email into a spam folder. I have to check my spam every day if I want to make sure I haven’t missed something important. Emails are going to spam even when the message is from an address I have previously received mail from and when I have the sender in my contacts file. This happens frequently, but not consistently. I have repeatedly taken desired items out of the spam folder and put them in my regular inbox, only to find the next day or a couple of days later, the new missives are going in spam again.

At the same time it continues to put new sends in my mailbox that I have earmarked previously as junk and prefer not to get. So it seems to be malfunctioning in both directions.

I am running an older MacBook, on macOS 10.14.6 Mojave and have been told I can’t upgrade past that until I get a new computer.

Chuck Eberdt, Bellingham

A: I’d start troubleshooting this with two steps.

First, turn your junk mail filter off. To do so go to Mail Preferences and click on the Junk Mail tab, then uncheck “Enable junk mail filtering.”

Next, reboot the computer, turn the junk mail filter back on and reconfigure your settings.

Secondly, check with your email service provider to see if you have different junk mail settings configured there. It may be that your emails are getting misdirected before they reach Apple Mail.

Q: A friend was getting a lot of buffering on her TV. After multiple tech visits and a new receiver, she finally gave in and bought an expensive new TV. To her horror, the buffering occurred again.

Her TV is not networked to her computer in any way. Can you suggest any reasons why this is continuing or what she could do?

Pat Lane, Mount Vernon

A: My TV isn’t connected to my computer, either. But it is directly connected to the internet, and if my internet connection is slow the TV will pause to buffer.

If the TV is connected to the same internet service provider as the computer, I suggest running a broadband speed test on the computer. If the download speed is below 5 megabits per second you’re below what Netflix recommends. The speed test will also report ping time, which is the time it takes for your computer to get a response from the server. If that number is higher than 35 milliseconds, it may be causing those performance problems.

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

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