With Windows 10 came Cortana. Cortana is Microsoft’s new virtual assistant. In other words, Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Now. Cortana is described as a digital assistant capable of responding to voice commands. It can also search the internet, manage your calendar and contacts and control your operating system. It was supposed to be the cornerstone of the new operating system. Except one thing, no one really seems to use Cortana. Subsequently, now people are asking how to disable Cortana in Windows 10 permanently.
Whether one is inclined to use Cortana or not, the addition of the virtual assistant to Windows raises a number of privacy, security and workflow issues. First, Cortana is always listening and collecting your personal data. This data includes your location, contacts, calendar, browsing history, favorite websites, speech, typing and more. Second, Cortana represents a significant change in workflow for people who are uncomfortable with using voice commands. And finally, Cortana can sometimes be resource intensive. It can hog RAM and CPU from other vital processes, especially on computers that are on the lower end of the system requirements.
Whatever your reasoning, there are two easy options for disabling Cortana.
Disabling Cortana in Windows 10 Pro Via Group Policy
If your computers are running Windows 10 Pro, Cortana can be disabled easily using Group Policy. You can configure this as part of a local policy for individual machines. You can also apply the policy to a domain or OU to configure the policy for multiple machines. Here are the steps for disabling Cortana via Group Policy in Windows 10 Pro:
- From the search bar, type gpedit.msc and hit return to launch the group policy editor
- Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search
- Double click Allow Cortana
- Set the setting to Disabled
- Click Apply
- Click Exit
Disabling Cortana in Windows 10 Home Via Registry
If you computers are running Windows 10 Home, Cortana can be disabled easily using registry edits. Here are the steps for disabling Cortana via Windows Registry in Windows 10 Home:
- From the Search Bar, type regedit and hit Enter
- Navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search
- In the left panel, right click Windows Search
- Select New > DWORD (32-Bit) Value
- Name the new DWORD ‘Allow Cortana’
- Set the value of the new DWORD to ‘0’ to disable the feature
Cortana does offer some interesting features. As a result, disabling it is not for everyone. For those that are certain they don’t want to use the feature, hopefully the information above was of some benefit.