One of the new features in Windows 10 is the presence of the assistant Cortana, to carry out your research. Useful for some, and totally useless for others, we will teach you how to disable it.
This tutorial has been validated with all Windows 10 updates.
Prevent Cortana from knowing you
First, let’s head into Cortana’s settings to cut off all the separate ways it monitors your computer habits. Here’s how:
- Click the search box or the Cortana icon next to the Start key.
- Open Cortana’s settings panel with the gear icon.
- In the settings screen, turn off every toggle from On to Off.
- Next, scroll to the very top of the settings panel, and click on Change what Cortana knows about me in the cloud.
- Microsoft will fetch a page from the Internet called Personal Information in the same Start panel.
- When it loads, scroll to the very bottom, and hit Clear.
To serve you better, Cortana collects data about your typing and talking, as well. If you’d like to turn that off, follow these steps:
- Hit the Start key.
- Click the Settings gear icon.
- Select Privacy.
- In the left panel, look for Speech, inking & typing.
- Click Stop getting to know me.
Remember, turning this off will also disable dictation across Windows 10. If that’s a service you rely on, then you’ll have to put up with Windows ‘getting to know you’.
Turn off Cortana completely
Once you’ve gone through the steps above, Cortana won’t respond to your voice. But it’s still running in the background, waiting to be called upon.
To get rid of it completely, you need to do more. Depending on the version of Windows 10 you use – Home, Pro, or Enterprise – the steps will be slightly different.
How to disable Cortana on Windows 10 Pro
- Hit the Start key, search for Edit group policy, and open it.
- Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.
- Find Allow Cortana, and double-click to open it.
- Click Disabled, and then hit OK.
How to disable Cortana on Windows 10 Home
The process is slightly trickier, and involves editing the Windows Registry. If you’re not comfortable with this process, we suggest taking a backup, or setting a restore point.
- Hit the Start Key, search for regedit, and open it.
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Policies > Microsoft > Windows.
- Right-click the Windows directory, and choose New > Key. Type in Windows Search, and hit enter.
- Select Windows Search. In the right-hand side pane, right-click in the empty area and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Type in AllowCortana, and hit enter.
- Double-click AllowCortana, and type in 0 under Value Data.
Restart your computer, and Cortana should now be gone. Instead of “Ask me anything”, the new search box will only say “Search Windows”.
There are also other methods of removing or completely disabling Windows Cortana but this method follows standard Microsoft practices and is therefore likely to have less impact on the operating system than other more controversial methods such as renaming the Cortana folder.