Can You Disable Cortana?
Truth be told. You could have disabled Cortana. However, Microsoft made it very difficult to do so. Users, like myself, worry about privacy concerns. As Cortana collects data (speech and otherwise) in the background.
The most you can do is turn off “Hey Cortana” and hide the icon in the taskbar. Please note that as of writing, only the first 3 options help. Do all three for best results.
The other below methods no longer work. But, you are free to try. Maybe one will work in your case.
Disable Hey Cortana
When you turn off Hey Cortana, it means that Cortana can no longer listen or respond to voice prompts. Here’s what to do:
- Go to Settings.
- Choose Cortana from the list of settings.
- Under “Hey Cortana“, there’s an option “Let Cortana respond to “Hey Cortana“.
- Click the toggle to disable “Hey Cortana“.
Turn Off Speech Services & Typing Suggestions
- Firstly, go to Settings.
- Click on Privacy.
- Then, Speech, Inking & Typing.
- Lastly, click turn off speech services and typing suggestions.
On older versions of Windows, the option to turn off is Stop getting to know me.
Remove Cortana From Taskbar
The next thing you want to do is remove the taskbar icon for Cortana. Here’s how you can do so:
- Right-click an empty space on your Windows 10 taskbar.
- Then, hover over the Cortana option.
- Click Hidden to hide the Cortana icon in the taskbar.
The above two methods are the only two options offered by Microsoft. However, as I said, the methods below used to work to completely remove Cortana from Windows 10. But, they no longer work. I list them and the necessary steps for your information only.
Use Registry Editor
At one point, disabling Cortana was as easy as a simple registry edit. Here’s what you needed to do:
- Press windows + R.
- In the run dialog, type regedit and click OK.
- This opens the Registry Editor.
- In the menu to the left, search for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
- Then, click Software > Policies > Microsoft > Windows > Windows Search.
If there is no Windows Search folder. You need to create one. Right-click the Windows folder, click on New and click on Key. Name it Windows Search.
- Select Windows Search in the left menu.
- Then, in right, right-click an empty space.
- From the menu, choose New, and click DWORD (32-bit) Value.
- In the window that pops up, name the DWORD value AllowCortana.
- In the Value Data section type 0.
- Click OK to save the settings.
- Restart your computer.
Once the computer restarts, Cortana no longer appears. To enable Cortana once more, go back to the registry editor and set the Value Data to 1 at AllowCortana.
Use Local Group Policy
This method does not work for every computer. It requires access to gpedit.msc. But, not every version of Windows allows it. You must be on a Windows 10 Enterprise edition.
- Press windows + R to open the run dialog.
- Then, type gpedit.msc and hit enter.
- This opens the Local Group Policy Editor.
- Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.
- Double-click on Allow Cortana to open Cortana’s settings.
- Lastly, adjust the settings to Disabled, click Apply and Exit.
These are/were the best ways to completely get rid of Cortana on Windows 10.