To turn off Cortana in Windows 10 in 1909 or 1903 version you can use the group policy settings. Registry Editor is another option for 1809 or 1803 updates.
Renaming SystemApps folder is another option in earlier version like Anniversary or Creators update. By hiding it, you can completely turn off Cortana forever.
Using administrative privileges and Powershell also, the same action can be completed.
But you can still see “Cortana” running the background as a process in the Task Manager.
This is because of a program named SearchUI.exe.
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In 2020, Microsoft’s Cortana is facing stiff competition from Alexa and Google Assistant. You may not be surprised if this feature is completely removed in 20H1 or 20H2 Windows 10 version.
Cortana also uses the Microsoft account for storing, analyzing and collecting data.
Currently in 1909 or 1903 version, it takes only 30 to 40 MB of RAM memory and <1% CPU power. It doesn’t hamper your Windows 10 system performance, even though you leave as it is.
In this post we are going to see 4 different methods on how to disable cortana in windows 10.
Windows 10 1909 or 1903 – Disable Cortana using Group Policy Editor
This is the most simple and effective method to enable/disable Cortana in Windows 10 November and May 2019 updates.
- Type “gpedit.msc” in the Run dialog box to open Local Group Policy Editor. 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.
- Click on 3rd option to turn off Cortana.
- Sign-out of your Microsoft Account or Restart Windows 10
This may not work in Windows 10 Home edition if you don’t have Administrator privileges. Otherwise, you cannot access group policy editor.
We must make sure that removing Cortana doesn’t interfere with the search feature. Search and Cortana appear as two different icons and apps in 1909 and 1903 version.
How to Stop Cortana Process in Task Manager Permanently in 1909 or 1903
Cortana process will run in Task Manager, even after disabling it using Group Policy Editor.
If you see the details for this process, you can see that a program called “SearchUI.exe” is running. It is better NOT to delete it, as it may cause unexpected behavior to the system.
But if you are using the old versions of Windows 10 – like 1803 or 1709, it is better to kill this process. This could see some performance gain for legacy 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 1909 and 1903 versions.
Turn off Cortana in Background Apps
- Press Win + I key to open Settings.
- Click on Privacy > Background apps.
- Turn off the option – Let apps run in the background.
Then try killing the Cortana process.
I was able to successfully disable Cortana in 1909 version using Group Policy Editor. But when I deleted its process in Task Manager, it started appearing again. I tried the above steps, but it was still showing.
I was unable to rename the Cortana System folder also. After sometime, when I tried to end the task, it worked. I am not sure what exactly worked.
How to Disable Cortana in Windows 10 1809 using Settings
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.
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“.
- Find “Cortana” in that list.
- Switch off that option to disable Cortana process.
- 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”.
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.
Renaming Cortana System Apps folder
The Cortana app will still run in the background, though not using any resources, using the above two methods.
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 how to disable 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.
You can either use the Group Policy Editor or Registry tweak to turn off Cortana in this edition.
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.