How-To

How to Completely Disable Cortana on Windows 10

The Cortana digial assistant that’s built into Windows 10 never took off. The cool thing is you can disable it or remove it completely. Here’s how.

Microsoft’s attempt at a digital assistant, Cortana, built into Windows 10, never took off. In fact, in recent versions of Windows, the company has removed it from the search experience (19H1 build 18317). We have covered ways to limit its activity by disabling Cortana and replacing it with Windows Search. And Cortana made our list of disappointing Microsoft products. If you don’t use it and would rather it be completely gone, here’s how to get rid of it using a Registry hack on Windows 10 Home or Local Group Policy on Windows 10 Pro.

Disable Cortana on Windows 10

It’s worth noting that you don’t need to go through the more complex steps of completely removing it. You can disable Cortana – but it will still be there and possibly running in the background. It can also collect select search and other usage data.

Let’s take a look at that first since it’s a less invasive approach. Open Start > Settings > Privacy. Then from the left side, click on Microphone and turn off Cortana’s access to it. That will essentially make it useless for access to the Microphone, anyway.

Disable Cortana from Microphone

Disable Cortana on Windows 10 Home

Since the Windows 10 Home version doesn’t have Group Policy Editor, you’ll need to use the Registry to disable Cortana totally.

Important: The following steps require hacking the Registry – which isn’t for the faint of heart. Whether you’re a beginner or not, make sure to follow these steps carefully. Also, before proceeding, create a registry backup, Restore Point, or full system backup – or all three for redundancy. That way, if something goes awry, you can recover your system.

With that out of the way, let’s begin. Hit the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog and type: regedit and hit Enter or click OK.

regedit

When the Registry opens, head to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows > Windows Search

Right-click on the Windows folder and select New > Key, and name it: Windows Search.

Registry Path

Next, right-click an area on the right side in the Windows Search folder and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

dword value

Then give the DWORD Value the name: AllowCortana, set its Value data to 0, and click OK.

Registry Editor Final

The following is what your Registry edits should look like. Close out of Registry Editor and restart your PC. Cortana will be disabled when it comes back, and you won’t need to worry about it anymore.

Cortana Disabled

If you try to launch it, you’ll get the following message noting that it’s disabled, and you need permission from your administrator.

Disable Cortana on Windows 10 Pro

The Pro version of Windows 10 has Group Policy Editor, so you can use that instead of messing with the Registry. To launch it, use the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog. Type: gpedit.msc and hit Enter or click OK.

gpedit

Now, head to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search and double-click on Allow Cortana.

gepedit allow cortana

In the screen that opens up, select the Disabled radio button and then click OK. Close out of Group Policy Editor and restart your machine.

gpedit allow cortana disabled

When you come back from the restart, you’ll notice that you won’t see Cortana on your PC anymore. You won’t find it on the Start Menu or the Taskbar.

This method doesn’t uninstall or completely remove Cortana from Windows 10, but it does disable it. If you want to uninstall it, you can follow our article on how to uninstall Cortana from Windows 10.

Note: You need to be running Windows 10 May 2020 Update or higher for this to work.

You essentially need to run Windows PowerShell as administrator:

PowerShell as Administrator

Then enter the following command and hit Enter:

Get-AppxPackage -allusers Microsoft.549981C3F5F10 | Remove-AppxPackage

That’s all there is to it. Whether you want to disable Cortana or completely uninstall it, you now can. For more on the digital assistant, check out how to make Cortana and Alexa work together.

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