How To Disable Cortana in Windows 10

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 Many people find Cortana to be genuinely helpful for searching the web, showing notifications and setting calendar reminders, among its other specialties. But security-conscious users might be wary of what the AI assistant is learning about you, your schedule and location and sharing those tidbits with Microsoft and its other services. Prior to Windows 10's recent Anniversary Update, you could disable Cortana by toggling a single switch, but since then, Microsoft has made it nearly impossible to do.

Our friends at PCWorld figured out how to disable Cortana in Windows 10, after the Anniversary Update. Below, we'll specify a fix that puts down Cortana in both Windows 10 Pro and Home. If you turned off Cortana prior to installing the Anniversary Update, you'll need to follow these steps to disable it again. Note that this fix requires editing the registry, so be sure to backup first and proceed with great caution when attempting this fix.

Here's how to turn off Cortana in Windows 10:

1. Open regedit the registry editor, from the search box on the taskbar.

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If asked, allow the program to make changes to your computer.

2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search
But wait! Windows Search might not be there. It wasn't for us, so we had to create it.

2a. Right-click the Windows folder and choose New>Key. Call it "Windows Search."

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3.  Right click "Windows Search" and choose New > DWORD (32-bit Value).

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4. Name the DWORD "AllowCortana." Click it and make sure the value is "0."

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5. Restart the computer (or log out and log back in). Cortana will be replaced with a regular search bar.

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While Cortana is gone, it's still hiding. You may find the program running in the background, but you might as well leave it there. When we tried killing the program, Cortana kept popping back up like a weed. When PCWorld managed to kill the process, they couldn't search for anything on their PC.

It's possible that the next Windows update will restore Cortana to its place in Windows 10, so be sure to keep these instructions handy, just in case.

Author Bio
Andrew E. Freedman
Andrew E. Freedman,
Andrew joined Laptopmag.com in 2015, reviewing computers and keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter @FreedmanAE.
Andrew E. Freedman, on
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10 comments
  • Tookie Says:

    Isn't there a free software program we can use that will take Cortana for a long walk on a short pier?

  • brian packer Says:

    please delete this article, it does not disable Cortana, it only removes access to it from the start menu, it still resides in RAM and runs in the background, it only removes a users access to it. Complete waste.

  • Lynkalin Says:

    Well it doesn't work for me. I have done everything exactly as described - very disappointing!!

  • Lynkalin Says:

    It didn't work for me. She is still there!. I will try again. My computer is seriously slowed down by her running in the background. Wish I had never activated her!

  • Kruse Says:

    Omg thank you so much, wasn't able to find a turn off cortana or toggle cortana off switch anywhere following other random guides.... THANKS SO MUCH APPRECIATE IT

  • john rehn Says:

    okay, it is working now. thank you.

  • john rehn Says:

    i followed the steps above but cortana still remains...please advise.

  • Jim Fowler Says:

    Awesome - thank you so much. Apple makes it easy to disable Siri, and I actually want Siri on my phone... but on my work PC is a very different use case and I do not want Cortana on there. I wish Microsoft would stop forcing her on us.

  • Steph Says:

    My tablet is stuck when I factory reset it. It says " a configuration was requested to clear this computers tpm. And it's not letting me press yes or no. What do I do. I can't even use it now

  • Michel Says:

    I can NOT get Cortana on my mobile phon Samsung S4 ..need some help

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