Following the footsteps of Apple and Google, Microsoft created its own intelligent personal assistant named ‘Cortana’, to compete with Siri and Google Now. Cortana was initially released in 2014 and was later added to Windows 10 in 2015. It soon became an important component of Windows 10 Search and other Microsoft products.
What is Cortana and what can it do for me?
Cortana is basically a voice-controlled personal virtual assistant. It can respond to your commands just like Siri and Google Now, although its efficiency can be argued. Microsoft has already integrated Cortana with a lot of other Microsoft Products e.g, Skype, Xbox, Microsoft Edge, OneDrive, and Wunderlist.
Microsoft recently announced that Cortana would get third-party skills capability, similar to that in Amazon Alexa. Which means all your devices are connected and you can access and manage a lot of these services through Cortana. You can set timers, create to-do lists, and a lot more. It can also forecast weather and various sports score.
What shouldn’t I use Cortana?
Cortana can be useful for a lot of tasks but it isn’t perfect. Cortana collects a lot of user data, it indexes and stores user’s information on Microsoft’s Servers. This information includes location data and all your searches using the windows search bar, among other things. Data collection allows Cortana to learn about you and your habits.
Using this data Cortana provides you with the most relevant results. All data collection can be disabled from Windows Settings. But If you are concerned about your privacy and personal data then you might not want to use Cortana.
Another big drawback of using Cortana is the inability to change the default browser and search engine of Cortana Search. Cortana always uses Microsoft Edge and Binge to perform all searches.
How To Disable Cortana in Windows 10
You can still use Cortana without allowing collection of data by going to Cortana’s settings and toggling off all data collection settings. But if you want to completely disable Cortana in Windows 10 then you have to to do it through Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) in Windows 10 Pro/Enterprise or Registry Editor (regedit) in Windows 10 Home. After you disable Cortana, the search functionality will continue to work as normal.
You might still see a Cortana process in windows task manager after disabling Cortana, that is because it is integrated with windows search, so it is actually just the name of search engine process of Windows 10 and when you disable Cortana, only the search functionality will remain.
Disable Cortana in Windows 10 Pro
In Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise, you can use Local Group Policy Editor to disable Cortana.
- Press Windows Key + R on your keyboard to open Run Box, type ‘gpedit.msc’ and hit enter.
- Navigate to: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.
- Here locate Allow Cortana and double-click on it to open the relevant policy.
- Select Disabled on the left side.
- Click Apply and then Ok
- Restart your computer for the policy to take effect
After restarting your device, you will notice that Cortana’s ‘Ring’ icon is now replaced with the search icon and Cortana options are removed from search. You can now continue to search your windows settings, files, and apps as usual but all of Cortana’s functionality will not be available from now on. If you wish to revert this change, simply select ‘Enabled’ in Allow Cortana Policy.
Disable Cortana in Windows 10 Home
Unfortunately, Local Group Policy Editor is not available on Windows 10 Home edition. Windows 10 Home users can disable Cortana by using Registry Editor.
- Press Windows Key + R on your keyboard to open Run Box, type ‘regedit’ and hit enter.
- Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search.
- Locate ‘AllowCortana’, if there isn’t one, right-click on Windows Search folder and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value.
- Name it ‘AllowCortana‘.
- Now double-click it and set its value to 0 to disable Cortana in Windows 10 Home.
If anything goes wrong or you wish to revert back to Cortana-enabled windows search, simply delete ‘AllowCortana’ registry value.
Things to know
Above mentioned guide will disable Cortana completely but all your collected data before disabling Cortana is still stored online on Microsoft servers. You have to delete that manually by signing into your Microsoft account and going into ‘Privacy’ section. Here you can see and delete all your location, browsing and search history.
This guide is currently working in Windows 10 Anniversary Update and Windows 10 Creators Update. If anything changes in next Windows 10 update (Windows 10 Fall Creators Update) we will update this guide accordingly.