Cortana is integral to the Windows 10 experience, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be turned off completely. You can disable Cortana permanently on Windows 10 and never look back.
Here’s you’ll learn how to dump this virtual assistant from your Windows 10 computer once and for all. I’ve had my share of experience using Cortana on Windows 10, with several reasons pushing me to disable it permanently.
But, if you haven’t found out anything wrong with Cortana, then read further to know more before you disable it permanently from your Windows 10 PC.
Why Disable Cortana on Windows 10, Permanently?
According to Microsoft, Cortana is already removed by default from the Windows 10 Education edition and Windows 10 Pro Education edition. Developers, themselves, have decided to chuck it out in some versions of the Windows 10 operating system.
It is intuitive for your Windows 10 to have a default tool called Cortana. Microsoft’s virtual assistant aids you in setting reminders, answering questions, using the Bing search engine, and even recognizing your voice and its tone for inputs.
But, Cortana isn’t always as ‘assistive’ as designed. There are several instances where the utility conflicted with other apps or programs. Windows 10 users have reported of Cortana’s failures as a digital assistant for general purposes.
Cortana’s Dark Side
Let’s have a look at top issues linked to Cortana’s use and how Windows 10 users can easily face these problems sooner or later.
1. Unable to improve desktop functionality – The key purpose of Cortana was making it easy and quick to navigate from your desktop. But, the tool gets stuck while launching apps or searching files instantly.
It takes time for Cortana to change settings on Control Panel or even launch basic programs like Calculator or Notepad.
2. Conflicts with antivirus & third-party apps – Cortana stops working when you install new software or restore older suites on Windows 10.
That’s not always the case, but in most instances, the tool doesn’t open when another app is running in the background. And, Cortana may also act strangely if any antivirus software is active on your Windows 10 PC.
3. Keeps passing simple requests over to Bing – Cortana uses Bing as its exclusive search engine, and you can’t change it to Google or something else. But, that’s not the problem. Cortana keeps sending over simple requests to Bing, instead of working it out internally.
When I asked it to search for a file, I got a File Explorer window to throw up on screen with empty content (no results). Then, Cortana directly passed the request to Bing, where thousands of pointless search results were forced on me.
Besides these, Cortana has also stopped working after updating Windows 10 systems. Newer system upgrades are unable to tune in with Cortana and the digital assistant keeps malfunction.
You may even need to fix the search box on Start menu when it stops working due to Cortana’s failure.
Easy Ways to Turn Off Cortana in Windows 10 (Completely)
After knowing what all can go wrong on your Windows 10 computer with Cortana enabled, it is better to remove the tool completely. You can always hide this digital assistant, but that won’t protect Windows 10 from Cortana’s problems.
Microsoft has integrated Cortana to the core of its Windows 10 operating systems. So, disabling Cortana permanently can be quite tricky.
Only a Local Group Policy editor can help you out in removing Cortana permanently from Windows 10.
1. For Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise editions –
To completely remove Cortana from these two Windows 10 editions, follow the steps below –
- Go to the search box on Start menu
- Type “group policy” and open the first result
- Alternately, you can open the Run dialog (press Windows key + R key), type “gpedit.msc” and hit the Enter key
4. In the Local Group Policy editor window, go to the left pane and expand as following –
- Computer Configuration
- Administrative Templates
- Windows Components
- Now, right-click on ‘Allow Cortana’ option in the right pane and select – Edit
6. Click on the Disabled radio button
7. Hit the Apply and OK buttons to save the changes
When you’re back on the Local Group Policy editor window, you’d see ‘Allow Cortana’ setting labeled as ‘Disabled’ in the State column.
2. Disable Cortana Permanently in Windows 10 Home
For Windows 10 Home edition, permanent removal of Cortana is slightly different. Since the Local Group Policy editor is unavailable in the Windows 10 Home edition, you’ll need to use the Registry Editor.
- Open the Run dialog (Windows + R)
- Type “regedit” and hit the Enter key
3. In the Registry Editor window, navigate as follows –
- Windows Search
4. In the empty space on the right-side pane, you’ll right-click on it and go to New>DWORD (32-bit) Value.
5. Name the Key – AllowCortana
6. Set the value of key as ‘0’
7. Click on OK to save the new key
Now, you’ve completely disabled Cortana and it won’t bug you anymore.
NOTE: In all Windows 10 operating systems, a major system update can conveniently re-enable Cortana without your consent.
3. Stop Cortana Temporarily from Knowing You
You can always stop Cortana temporarily. If that’s what you intend to do, follow the method below and deactivate the virtual assistant temporarily.
- Go to the Start menu search box
- Click on Cortana’s icon and open the settings panel
- Change every toggle switch to Off
- Scroll to the top of the settings panel
- Click on – Change what Cortana knows about me in the cloud
- The Personal Information page loads up in the panel window
- Scroll down and click on Clear
To be more thorough,
1. Open the Start menu and click on the gear icon
2. In the Settings window, go to Privacy
3. Here, find a link for “Speech, inking & typing” in the left panel
4. Click on – Stop getting to know me
If the cognitive skills of Cortana were bothering you and nothing else, then you can use this trick instead of disabling it completely from your computer.
Now, let’s address some common queries on disabling Cortana permanently in Windows 10.
Is Cortana a Virus?
The virtual assistant is not a virus, but an executable file named as ‘Cortana.exe’ could very much be a threat to your computer. In several instances, a Cortana.exe file running in the background has been used to infiltrate enterprise networks and draw out confidential data.
A crypto mining tool called XMRIG is infecting Windows 10 computers worldwide. Renamed as Cortana.exe, the virus mines cryptocurrency of users without their consent. The Cortana.exe virus maxes out your computer’s processor, with the CPU usage running on 100%. The virus is a trojan that mines the Monero cryptocurrency from user systems.
Has Cortana become spyware by Microsoft?
Some may dub Cortana as the spy in your Windows 10 computer. A tool, as cool as Cortana, can be really creepy you know. Microsoft could have played it sly when it decided to build the Windows 10 operating systems around a digital assistant like Cortana.
I observed how Cortana works and discovered something suspicious. Firstly, the tool has an unending lust for your data and your information. Cortana collects all your keystrokes and every word spoken into it.
It is supposed to do so to be a better aide to you, like every other virtual assistant or a cloud-based software/service. It gets creepy when there’s not turn off switch to Cortana. After I say “Hey Cortana” into my Windows 10 system, the assistant could keep on listening to everything that’s being said around the computer.
Secondly, the tool redirects all requests to the Bing search engine. This way, Bing knows my requests and can use this data to influence me with ads and app suggestions.
On top of that, Cortana can easily store information on my location, my contacts, calendar reminders, text messages, emails, and another communication history.
Is it Safe to Remove Cortana Permanently on Windows 10?
The most important question is whether or not one should permanently remove Cortana from a Windows 10 computer. Well, the ideal answer would be ‘No’.
Permanent removal of Cortana from a Windows 10 computer comes with a new set of risks. There is no simple switch to disable Cortana. Microsoft tried that and ended up placing the Windows Search function out of order.
When you disable Cortana permanently, the Windows Search function gets a major blow. You are unable to process simple search requests or basic file searches as quickly and easily as you’d before.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update also becomes a mess without Cortana. The virtual assistant is integral to this update. In the absence of Cortana, the update goes kaput and wrecks up your whole Windows 10 computer.
To avoid this, consider a ‘plan B’ – create a Windows 10 System Restore point.
Before disabling Cortana on Windows 10 permanently, follow these steps –
- Go to the Start menu search box
- Type ‘system restore‘
3. Click on the first result – Create a restore point
4. Choose – Create (option at the bottom of the popup)
5. Name it (with proper date and everything) and click on Create
The System Restore on Windows 10 takes up a few minutes. I also created a snapshot of the restore point, in response to when something goes wrong while turning off Cortana permanently. That’s how you can be safe than sorry.
More on Windows 10’s Cortana
If it’s any good for you to know, Microsoft is also planning to get rid of this troubling sidekick, either by improving it or by replacing it. In recent news, Microsoft plans to replace Cortana with Amazon’s Alexa.
Windows 10 users may also find it intriguing to know that Cortana is currently being upgraded to support multi-user voice recognition. The virtual assistant may get better when the To-Do app gets synced with Cortana across all Windows 10 systems.
So, stay tuned for more updates on Windows 10’s Cortana.