Disable Cortana Windows 10 – 20H2 or 2004 or 1909 – 4 Methods [Working]

To turn off Cortana in Windows 10 in 20H2 or 2004 version you can use the group policy settings. Registry Editor is another option for 1909 or 1903 updates.

It takes only 30 to 40 MB of RAM memory and <1% CPU power in 1909 version. It doesn’t hamper your Windows 10 system performance, even though you leave as it is.

Cortana process occupies only 4.5 MB of Memory in 20H2 update when you disable it.

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.

In 2020, Microsoft’s Cortana is facing stiff competition from Alexa and Google Assistant.

Though you cannot uninstall Cortana, you can reduce the burden by disabling it.

Cortana also uses the Microsoft account for storing, analyzing and collecting data.

Now you see two separate icons for both of them. You can also hide Cortana and Search icons individually.

How to Disable Cortana

Time needed: 1 minute.

One of the simple methods to stop Cortana from running at the start up. This makes sure that it does not annoy you when you are working on the Microsoft Office programs or any other business suite. Most of the productivity happens when you type rather than speak. Follow these steps if you want to keep your work simple.

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager

    Otherwise, you can press Ctrl + Alt + Del keys and click on “Task Manager”. Or search for that app in the “search box”.how to open task manager app in windows 10

  2. A small window opens.

    Click on “More details” to see the full features.
    windows 10 task manager more details

  3. Click on “Startup”.

    This will show all the startup items in Windows 10. You can enable/disable any app or program to speed up start up. Also, it will reduce the burden on the processes running.

  4. Cortana is also one start-up item listed here.

    Right-click the item and click on “Disable”. The status should show disabled.

    Note: If you have turn off Cortana using group policy editor, then it will show a message to get “Administrator privileges” to make it work again. So enable it there and then enable it here, to see it active again.disable cortana

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In this post we are going to see 4 more different methods on how to disable Cortana in windows 10.

Method #1 : Windows 10 20H2 or 2004 – 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
Note: But OneDrive, Microsoft Edge and Cortana are so tightly integrated into Windows 10 core system, that it is still seen in the Task Manager process.

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

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.

  1. Right-click the Start Menu and select the Task Manager from it.
  2. 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. )
  3. Select the “Cortana” mini-process and right-click it. From it, select “Open file-location“.
  4. This will open the SystemApps folder. In that folder you can find a folder with a name “Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy“.
  5. Rename it, with something like .bak added at its end. An error message with “Try again” button is displayed. Keep it open.
  6. Now right-click the “Cortana” process again and click on “End Task“.
  7. 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).
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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.

Method #2: Turn off Cortana in Background Apps

  1. Press Win + I key to open Settings.
  2. Click on Privacy > Background apps.
  3. Turn off the option – Let apps run in the background.

Then try killing the Cortana process.

My Experience

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.

Method #3 : How to Turn off Cortana using Registry?

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.

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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:

  1. In the Search Windows bar, type regedit.
  2. Right-click regedit and Run as Administrator.
  3. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > SOFTWARE >Microsoft >Windows > CurrentVersion >Search.
  4. 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.

The Cortana app will still run in the background, though not using any resources, using the above two methods.

Method #4: Using PowerShell and Elevated Command Prompt to Deregister Cortana App

In elevated PowerShell:

Get-AppxPackage | Select Name, PackageFullName
Remove-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_1.4.8.176_neutral_neutral_cw5n1h2txyewy

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):

Microsoft-Windows-Cortana-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~x86~de-DE~10.0.10240.16384
Microsoft-Windows-Cortana-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~x86~~10.0.10240.16384
Microsoft-Windows-Cortana-PAL-Desktop-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~x86~~10.0.10240.16384

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.

Sources:

  1. https://superuser.com/questions/949569/can-i-completely-disable-cortana-on-windows-10

In Windows 10 latest version, Cortana will not work without the Microsoft account. But you can use it for local personalized searches.

This video shows all the detailed steps on how to disable Cortana in Windows 10 after 20H2 update. You can all see the practical proof that Cortana is turned off.

 


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6 thoughts on “Disable Cortana Windows 10 – 20H2 or 2004 or 1909 – 4 Methods [Working]”

  1. Thanks for the help on 1903.
    BUT renaming the folder
    windowsSystemappsMicrosoft.Windows.Cortana_*
    ALSO disables the windows-search, so despite being visually separated, they are still entangled… ;(

    (The gpedit part still prevents it from appearing though, as on the older versions)

    (Also note that even if renaming, it will not be removed/hidden from settings)

    Reply
    • @Eske. Yes, I noticed that today. As I said in the post, some things like Cortana, Microsoft Edge, OneDrive etc are integrated into Windows 10. In true sense, we can only partially disable them. We can completely remove the app, but the consequences may be bad. So its better to settle with GPO setting.

      Reply
  2. I do not like Cortana nor do I find it helpful. I have been searching for a way to turn off Cortana in Windows 10, yet still allowing the search function. I read a similar post that offered a similar option to Method #3 listed above. However, I would like to leave the SearchUI process therefore that was not going to work for me. Method #1 offers the solution to that issue and seems less invasive than other methods. I do not think I would feel comfortable doing something such as deregistering the Cortana app. Also, I did not realize how much Microsoft keeps in the cloud related to personal information and search habits regarding Cortana. The information on how to clear it was much needed. That I will be doing as soon as I turn off Cortana!

    Reply

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