Cortana is Microsoft’s virtual assistant created for Windows 10. Cortana is designed to provide answers to the users, using the Bing search engine and can perform basic tasks like recognizing natural voice to set reminders, manage calendars, fetch weather or news updates, search for files and documents, etc. You can use her as a dictionary or an encyclopedia and can make her locate your nearest restaurants. She can also search your data for queries like “Show me yesterday’s photos”. The more permissions you give to Cortana like location, email, etc., the better she gets. Not just that, Cortana also has learning abilities. Cortana learns and becomes more useful as you use her over time.

Though its features, Cortana can become really annoying at times, making you wish you never had it. Also, Cortana has raised some serious privacy concerns among the users. To work its magic, Cortana uses your personal information like your voice, writing, location, contacts, calendars, etc. With the increasing awareness among people about the business mantra “If you’re not paying for it, you are the product”, apprehensions about privacy and data security have been rising too. This is one of the major reasons people nowadays are deciding to stop using these virtual assistants like Cortana and if you are one those, here is exactly what you need. This article will take you through the different methods that you can use to disable Cortana on Windows 10, depending upon how much you hate it.

Permanently Disable Cortana on Windows 10

Make sure to  create a restore point  just in case something goes wrong.

Method 1: Turn Off Voice Command and Keyboard Shortcuts

If you are fed up of Cortana’s annoying habit of popping up even when you don’t need it to but would need to be able to activate it manually, this method is for you. Disabling Cortana from responding to your voice or keyboard shortcut will do the task for you, while also allowing you to use Cortana when you need to.

1. Use the search field on your taskbar to search for “Cortana” and click on ‘Cortana and Search settings’.

2. Alternatively, you can go to Settings from the Start menu and then click on ‘Cortana’.

3. Click on ‘Talk to Cortana’ from the left pane.

4. You will see two toggle switches namely, ‘Let Cortana respond to “Hey Cortana” ’ and ‘Let Cortana listen for my commands when I press the Windows logo key + C’. Turn off both the switches.

5. This will prevent Cortana from getting activated unexpectedly.

Method 2: Turn Off Cortana’s Typing and Voice Data

Even after turning off voice commands and keyboard shortcut for Cortana, you will have use this method to stop Cortana from using typing, inking, and voice completely if you want to. For this,

1. Press Windows Key + I to open Settings then click on “Privacy“.

2. Click on ‘Speech, inking & typing’ from the left pane.

3. Now, click on ‘Turn off speech services and typing suggestions’ and further click on ‘Turn off’ to confirm.

Method 3: Permanently Disable Cortana using Windows Registry

Using the above methods stops Cortana from responding to your voice, but it will still be running in the background. Use this method if you do not want Cortana to run at all. This method will work for Windows 10 Home, Pro, and Enterprise editions but is risky if you are not familiar with editing Windows Registry. For this reason, it is advised that you create a system restore point . Once done, follow the given steps.

1. Press Windows Key + R then type regedit and hit Enter.

2. Click on ‘Yes’ in the User Account Control window.

3. Navigate to the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\

4. Inside ‘Windows’, we have to go to ‘Windows Search’ directory, but if you don’t see a directory with this name already, you will have to create it. For that, right-click on ‘Windows’ from the left pane and further select ‘New’ and then ‘Key’ from the lists.

5. A new directory will be created. Name it ‘Windows Search’ and hit Enter.

6. Now, select ‘Windows Search’ then right-click on it and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

7. Name this newly created DWORD as “AllowCortana” and hit Enter.

8. Double click on AllowCortana and set Value Data to 0.

Enable Cortana in Windows 10: 1
Disable Cortana in Windows 10: 0

9. Restart your computer to permanently disable Cortana on Windows 10.

Method 4: Use Group Policy Editor to Disable Cortana on Windows 10

This is yet another method to permanently disable Cortana on Windows 10. It is safer and easier than Windows Registry method and works for those with Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise editions. This method will not work for Windows 10 Home Edition. In this method, we will use the Group Policy Editor for the task.

1. Press Windows Key + R then type gpedit.msc and hit Enter.

2. Navigate to the following policy location:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search

3. Make sure to select Search then in right window pane double-click on “Allow Cortana“.

4. Set ‘Disabled’ for the ‘Allow Cortana’ option and click on OK.

Enable Cortana in Windows 10: Select Not Configured or Enable
Disable Cortana in Windows 10: Select Disabled

6. Once finished, click Apply, followed by OK.

7. Close the ‘Group Policy Editor’ window and restart your computer to permanently disable Cortana from your computer.

If you want to Enable Cortana in Future

In case you decide to turn Cortana on again in the future, here is what you need to do.

If you had disabled Cortana using Settings

If you had temporarily disabled Cortana using settings, you can retrace back to the Cortana settings (as you did to disable it) and turn all the toggle switches on as and when you need.

If you had disabled Cortana using Windows Registry

  1. Open Run by pressing Windows Key + R.
  2. Type regedit and press enter.
  3. Select Yes in the User Account Control Window.
  4. Navigate to HKEY_Local_Machine > SOFTWARE > Policies > Microsoft > Windows > Windows Search.
  5. Locate ‘Allow Cortana’. You can either delete it or double click on it and set Value Data to 1.
  6. Restart your computer to apply changes.

If you had disabled Cortana using Group Policy Editor

  1. Open Run by pressing Windows Key + R.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and press enter.
  3. Select Yes in the User Account Control Window.
  4. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.
  5. Double click on ‘Allow Cortana’ setting and select ‘Enabled’ radio button.
  6. Click on OK and restart your computer.

So, these were how you could get rid of Cortana temporarily or permanently as you wish and even enable it again if you want.

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I hope the above steps were helpful and now you can easily Disable Cortana on Windows 10, but if you still have any questions regarding this guide then feel free to ask them in the comment’s section.

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