To turn off Cortana in Windows 10 you can use the group policy settings. Registry Editor is another option. One can edit the registry key and set the value.
You can also disable searchui.exe process.
The SystemApps folder can also be renamed.
By hiding it, you can completely turn off Cortana forever. Using administrative privileges and Powershell also, the same action can be completed.
Cortana also uses the Microsoft account for storing, analyzing and collecting data.
The Group Policy Object (GPO) is a collection of settings that will determine the way the system works for a group of users.
We must make sure that removing Cortana doesn’t interfere with the search feature. On the other hand one has to make sure about their privacy.
But with voice search and related hardware hitting the market, you cannot stop using it. It only takes around 30 to 40 MB of RAM memory and not much of processing power.
In the last 1 year, Windows 10 performance has improved. This is because of new security patches and correcting issues reported from Feedback. In 1903, a technical design step was taken to separate Cortana and Search.
Now you see two separate icons for both of them. You can also hide Cortana and Search icons individually.
To disable Cortana in 1903 version you can use the Group Policy Editor.
Type “gpedit.msc” in the Run dialog box to open GPO. Navigate to the following path.
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search
On the right-hand side you see a setting called “Allow Cortana“. By default it is not configured. You can double-click that setting to see the different options available. 1. Not Configured 2. Enabled 3. Disabled. Select the last option to stop Cortana working in the background.
So completely blocking Cortana is a myth, even in 1903 version. But you can stop it from appearing in the Task Manager and thus disallow its process from appearing in again. This could be some performance gain for old computers taking CPU and Memory usage.
- Right-click the Start Menu and select the Task Manager from it.
- In the Processes tab, find the “Cortana” process. (If you have a leaf icon, it means it is suspending processes that are taking system resources. You can click the arrow icon, to open up the sub-processes. )
- Select the “Cortana” mini-process and right-click it. From it, select “Open file-location“.
- This will open the SystemApps folder. In that folder you can find a folder with a name “Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy“.
- Rename it, with something like .bak added at its end. An error message with “Try again” button is displayed. Keep it open.
- Now right-click the “Cortana” process again and click on “End Task“.
- Immediately click on the “Try again” button in the previous error window kept open. (This should happen before the Cortana process restarts again. So do it quickly).
Now the Cortana process is permanently removed from the Task Manager. This same trick works in 1809 and 1803 and also in 1903 version.
How to Disable Cortana in Windows 10 1809 using Settings
To make it clear, Microsoft is moving away from its AI assistant Cortana for Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri. So in the coming versions of Windows 10, you are less likely to see this feature.
In Windows 1809, you can turn off Cortana using group policy editor or registry tweak, mentioned below.
You can also turn off it using the Cortana Settings in Windows 10.
1. Press Win+I to open Settings in Windows 10.
2. Click on Cortana
3. Click on Permissions & History
4. Under Personalize, on the right-hand-side, you can see the “Sign in” option.
5. If you are signed-in, just sign-out.
6. Below that, under Permissions, you can click the link that says “Manage the information Cortana can access from this device“.
7. Next screen opens that contains the following Permissions.
b. Contacts, email, calendar & communication history
c. Browsing history
8. You can turn them off, so Cortana can’t access those settings.
In the Cortana Settings page, you also have an option called “Talk to Cortana“. Here, you can see the following options.
1. Hey Cortana – Let Cortana respond to “Hey Cortana”
2. Keyboard shortcut – Let Cortana listen for my commands when I press the Windows logo key + Click
3. Lock Screen – Use Cortana even when my device is locked
You can turn off these settings to disable Cortana as a voice assistant. This is also prevents Cortana from accidentally getting activated.
There is also another option, which you can use with the above settings. Under Privacy option in Windows 10 Settings, there is the “Speech” option on the left-hand side.
You can turn off the Online Speech Recognition.
There is a note below that says that “If you turn off online speech recognition, you won’t be able to speak to Cortana or use dictation.”.
On the same screen, you can see the “Microphone” setting. You can allow which apps have access to your microphone, on the right-hand side. Below that you can see the label “Choose which apps can acces your microphone“.
In that screen, you can scroll through to see “Cortana“. To disable it switch off that option. Now Cortana will not have access to your Microphone. So there is no chance for it to work in Windows 10 1809 version.
If all the above options failed to disable Cortana, you can always try the Group Policy editor and Registry editor settings.
How to Disable Cortana in Windows 10 Spring Creators Update (1803) ?
The following tips mentioned below can be applied to see if you can turn off Cortana in Windows 10. Using the Group Policy Editor and Registry Editor are some of the strong ways of stopping Cortana from working again.
But there is another way. You can use the Settings Panel in 1803 version. Press the Win key and Gear icon. You will be in the Settings panel.
Settings > Privacy > Speech, inking & typing .
On the right hand side you can see the option “Getting to know you“. Under this you can enable the speech services like Cortana to be used. By default, it is switched off.
Otherwise, you need to click the option “Stop getting to know me“, if it is available. In 1803 version, you may find it like – “Turn off speech services and typing suggestions“. Once you click it, Cortana stops working.
Another way is to stop Cortana app from using the Microphone service. Under App permissions you can find Microphone.
On the right-hand side you can find different apps that use mic. Toggle the switch to “off” mode against the Cortana app. It should stop working.
How to Turn off Cortana after Windows 10 Creators Update?
On April 5th, 2017 the third major update of Windows 10 was released code named – Creators update. The following are the different methods to turn off Cortana in this version.
Turn Off Cortana in Windows 10 using Registry (All Windows 10 Editions)
Step #1 : Open Registry Editor. (Press Win + R key and in the run box type “regedit”. In my computer, the reg window is not automatically activated, but sits in the taskbar. You just have to click on reg icon in the taskbar, to activate it).
Step #2 : Go to the following Registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search (By default the last key – Windows Search is not there for most of the users. Then you have to create that key).
#3: Select “Windows Search” key and Right-click on the right.
Step #4 : Select New – DWORD (32-bit) value in the menu as shown below.
Step #5 : Create a new 32-bit DWORD value here named “AllowCortana” and leave its value data as 0.
Note: Even if you are running Windows 10 64-bit, you need to create a 32-bit DWORD value.
Now, restart Windows 10 and you are done.
You can disable Cortana in Windows 10.
While the SearchUI process will still remain in the process list, Cortana won’t be functional and won’t consume system resources. This will work for all editions of Windows 10 like Home, Pro and Enterprise.
Moreover, you can make a simple registry tweak to resolve Cortana issues.
According to some users, this proved as a most fruitful solution for multiple issues. Follow these instructions to perform this simple registry tweak:
- In the Search Windows bar, type regedit.
- Right-click regedit and Run as Administrator.
- Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > SOFTWARE >Microsoft >Windows > CurrentVersion >Search.
- Change the BingSearchEnabled value from 1 to 0.
Make sure all of the Cortana flags are set to 0 instead of 1.
Restart PC and check out Cortana again.
Disable Cortana in Windows 10 using Group Policy (For Enterprise and Pro Editions only)
#1 : Press the Win+R keys and in the Run diablog, type gpedit.msc and hit enter.
#2 : Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.
Step #3 : Locate Allow Cortana on the right hand side panel and double-click on it to open the relevant policy.
#4 :Select Disabled.
Step #5 : Click Apply and OK to turn off Cortana.
Renaming Cortana System Apps folder
The Cortana app will still run in the background, though not using any resources, using the above two methods.
You may absolutely want it to be disabled, though it is not of much problem. Actually it is the “SearchUI.exe” service that runs using the Cortana name.
For complete disabling Cortana app, you need to rename “Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy” folder in “C:\Windows\SystemApps” folder.
But SearchUI.exe file still runs in background. Since it is an active process, Windows 10 will not allow you to rename this folder.
You’ll get an error message that “The action can’t be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program. Close the folder or file and try again.”.
Keep the error message dialog box opened.
- Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys together or by right-clicking on Taskbar.
- Select “Task Manager” option.
- Now select Cortana from the background processes list.
- Press Delete key or click on “End Task” button.
- Now immediately (literally like within 1 or 2 seconds) click on “Try Again” button present in “Folder in Use” error message dialog box.
- You can now rename Cortana folder.
The SearchUI.exe file and Cortana process will no longer run in background.
Using PowerShell and Elevated Command Prompt to Deregister Cortana App
In elevated PowerShell:
Get-AppxPackage | Select Name, PackageFullName
Download the tool called win6x_registry_tweak. Now open a command prompt with admin rights in the folder of the downloaded exe and run this command:
install_wim_tweak.exe /o /c Microsoft-Windows-Cortana /r
This command removes the 3 cortana packages (Cortana main package, language pack and PAL package):
After a reboot your Windows is cortana free.
WARNING – This will totally eliminate and remove Cortana. It’s not easy to get back the Cortana app feature again.
- So, make a full backup or create a system restore point, if you later want to restore it.
- If you have not done any backup, use those steps to generate the CABs for your Build.
- Replace Flash with the MUM names of the Cortana packages.
- You need to generate CABs for all Cortana MUM files like here the x86 MUMs for Build 14393.
Sign out of Microsoft Account in Cortana
- Click the Cortana icon in the task bar.
- On the left hand side, you see the notebook icon.
- On the top is the “About me” section.
- If you are already using Cortana, then you are already signed into your Microsoft account in Cortana.
- To disable Cortana, just sign out of it.
In Windows 10 latest version, Cortana will not work without the Microsoft account. But you can use it for local personalized searches.
The above YouTube shows the way to turn off Cortana in Windows 10 Creators update using registry editor.
How to Turn Off Cortana after Windows 10 Anniversary Update?
On Aug 2, 2016 a new feature update was released to the 350 or so million users, who have installed or upgraded to Windows 10. This new version is called as Anniversary Update and given the version number 1607.
Earlier when Windows 10 was initially released, there was a switch to turn off Cortana. But in 1607 update, you have to go round about to stop Cortana from running in the background.
The steps for Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise edition are the same as mentioned for Creators update. (method #2 mentioned above)
For this you need to use the Group Policy Editor provided in Windows 10. This is available when you have administrative privileges on your computer. But if you are using Windows 10 Home, then you need to use method #1, mentioned above.
You can also try the other methods of 1703 version, if they are possible in Anniversary Upgrade version.
How to Turn of Cortana in Windows 10 Threshold 1 (1507) and Threshold 2 (1511) versions ?
There are two methods that work in the initial release of Windows 10.
- Open Cortana, click the Notebook icon in its left-hand options pane.
Select Settings from the list.
- A bunch of options will appear.
- You’ll want to slide “Cortana can give you suggestions, ideas, reminders, alerts and more” to off.
- This disables the assistant on the PC and removes all locally stored data she knows about you.
The above YouTube video shows the options to switch off Cortana in Windows 10 release and November update version.
But Cortana services are based in the cloud. You also want to wipe out your privacy data saved till now, from Microsoft’s servers also.
To do this, you can do the following.
- Click the “Manage what Cortana knows about me in the cloud” link.
- Your default browser will open to your personalization settings page in Bing.
- Now press the Clear buttons in the “Clear personal info” and “Other Cortana data and personalized speech, inking and typing” sections.
- Also, if you allowed Cortana access to your location info, consider following the link to Bing Maps to wipe that, as well.
If you strictly concerned about your Privacy and personalized data stored in Microsoft’ servers, you can do the following.
- Open the Start menu and head to Settings > Privacy. Switch off the options that allow Windows 10 to collect your personal data.
- Also, the “Sync your settings” submenu in Start menu > Settings > Accounts switch can help you there.
The second option is by launching the Settings app > Privacy > Speech, inking, & typing.
Click “Stop getting to know me“.
Knowledge Tips on Cortana
While different websites and forums provided different methods to turn off Cortana based on Windows 10 Versions 1703, 1607, 1511, 1507, some unknown information about it, is also to be noted.
- One can only disable Cortana per device.
- You disable the digital assistant in Windows 10 PC and cannot expect to be turned off on Windows 10 Mobile.
- The name you set Cortana in notebook setting, to call you is also set per device, not globally.
- You can clear data and personal information that Microsoft collects using Cortana. But there is no magic button to stop collecting information globally in your Microsoft account.
Some other features which disable when you turn off Cortana
- To stop Microsoft to store personal information in the cloud, turn off Cortana on all your devices. Then clear all your personal information from your Microsoft account.
- If you disable Cortana in one device, then you clear your information stored online. But if you have another device using Cortana, then that personal data will once again be uploaded and stored in your account.
- Turning off Cortana will make Windows 10 less efficient in trying to make better suggestions for you. The simple search bar on the taskbar will still continue to work.
- Since you disable Cortana, the search icon and feature won’t disappear. Simple searches (locally and from the web) will still work.
- If you are using Windows 10 1507 or 1511 version, you can always turn on Cortana by opening search on the taskbar, going to the Settings section of the left panel, and sliding the pill switch to the On position. You can also do it via the Settings app > Privacy > Speech, inking, & typing and clicking the “Get to know me” button.
- But in 1607 and 1703 version, you need to re-install and re-register some Cortana packages to make it work again. There is no simple solution.