How to disable Cortana

The latest or most recent versions of Windows are rolling in with a more advanced and integrated digital assistant. Now we all know how annoying this can be and might lead to the desire to disable Cortana personal assistant in order to have an uninterrupted experience when using the computer. Windows 10, however, is not so much famous after the decision to have the assistant always active. Here, we are going to show you how to disable Cortana.

In older Windows 10 versions that have not updated the system any time recently, disabling the assistant is quite easy;

  • Simply bring up the search bar and type in the name Cortana.
  • Clicking on the result will give options to switch it on or off as desired.

In recent or updated computers, however, disabling it can be done via two methods. Either by depriving the assistant’s ability to gather personal information or by shutting it down altogether. Be aware that disabling it can result in breaking search which can only be fixed by doing a completely new installation.

See also: How to enable Hey Cortana In Windows 10

Method 1: Depriving Cortana of data collection abilities

  • Open up Cortana settings by searching for and selecting it or by clicking on its icon where it’s available on the desktop menu.
  • Navigate to its settings panel and switch to off all its settings that have a toggle on/off option.
  • At the top of the settings page, click on ‘Change what Cortana knows’ which is a cloud data collection control.
  • A page will be brought up from an online source. Navigate to its bottom where there is a ‘clear’ option. Select this option and close the window.

Input data control

  • Go to start menu and select settings.
  • Navigate to ‘privacy’ and check for Speech and Typing settings in the left panel.
  • There is an option within that one to ‘stop learning about me’. Select this option but remember that doing this will also disable voice dictation abilities. To utilise it again, this option will have to be switched on first.

Method 2: Disabling Cortana entirely

The first method switches off the assistant somewhat partially hence the software keeps running in the background but this time with little or no intrusions on your activities. It will also be indifferent to voice commands and will only operate fully when specifically selected by the user.

Deactivating the assistant entirely can differ slightly across operating systems but basically, the procedure is the same. The most basic procedure is as follows:

  • Search ‘edit group policy’ in the start search provision.
  • Find ‘computer configuration’ then go to Administrative Templates.
  • From there, select ‘Windows Components’ and click on ‘search’.
  • Search for Cortana and toggle to disable then press enter or OK and close window.

Disabling on Windows 10 Home

This is a bit trickier on Windows 10 Home because the only way to disable it is via a registry edit. Other versions can be disabled by any of the methods but the group policy way is always easier and less complicated when it is available. Also, it is advisable to create a backup first before meddling in the registry especially if the user doesn’t have much experience with it. Once ready, follow the following commands strictly:

  • Press the key combination Windows + R
  • Type “regedit” and execute with the enter key.
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE then SOFTWARE then Policies then Microsoft > Windows then finally Windows Search.
  • If “Windows Search” is unavailable, create a new key and name it as such.
  • In the left side, right-click the key/folder and, for 32 bit systems select New > DWORD Value.
  • Assign the name “AllowCortana” to the value and then double click it and enter ‘0’ for the value
  • Once done, close the window and sign out then back in of the user account to apply the changes.

The assistant is now fully disabled and inoperative. To reverse this action, simply navigate back to the same settings and input a data value of ‘1’ instead and you’re good to go again!