To turn off Cortana in Windows 10 in 21H2 or 20H2 version you can use the group policy settings. Registry Editor is another option for 1909 or 1903 updates.
Settings can be used to disable Cortana in 2022 – Privacy > Voice Activation > Turn off two Cortana features.
Temporarily turn off Cortana in Windows 10 21H2 – Click Cortana Icon > Three horizontal dots > Keyboard shortcut > Turn off the feature.
Turn off Microphone access – Settings > Privacy > Microphone > Choose which Microsoft Store apps can access your microphone > Turn off Cortana
Disable Background apps for Cortana – Settings > Privacy > Background apps > Choose which apps run in the background > Disable Cortana
Cortana will be displayed as a process if it’s icon is enabled and you click it.
Disable it by right-clicking the Taskbar > Untick Show Cortana button. Then kill the Cortana process in Task Manager.
Cortana options were different in different versions of Windows 10. 1803 and 1909 had different options. In earlier versions, separate setting for Cortana was visible in Settings.
But in 21H2, it was totally removed and only Cortana icon remains and other settings were merged with Microphone and Voice Activation. As of 2022, background processes of Cortana may still run, but do not affect much on CPU and RAM.
The best method to permanently disable Cortana in 2022 is to use the GPO method (Group Policy Editor).
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Disable Cortana Permanently 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.
Cortana – Overview
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 2022, Microsoft’s Cortana is almost removed as a standard feature and is a neglected app of Windows 10.
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.
In this post we are going to see 4 more different methods on how to disable Cortana in windows 10
#1 – Disable Cortana in Task Manager Start Up
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.
Total Time: 1 minute
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”.
A small window opens.
Click on “More details” to see the full features.
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.
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.
#2: 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.
#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.
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.
The Cortana app will still run in the background, though not using any resources, using the above two methods.
#4: 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.
In Windows 10 latest version, Cortana will not work without the Microsoft account. But you can use it for local personalized searches.
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.
- 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.