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Windows 10 : how to disable Cortana

Disabling or removing Cortana from Windows 10 is a question you often ask us. Microsoft’s Personal Assistant collects a lot of personal information about users. Others also complain of poor performance due to the assistant. Here’s how to turn it off.

Windows-10-Cortana

How to disable Cortana from Windows 10

How does Microsoft use our personal data? It is by asking this question that many users have started to deactivate the Cortana personal assistant from Windows 10. It seems to collect much more data than that from research in the assistant, without anyone really knowing what Microsoft is doing with it.

According to the company, this is about improving the user experience. But given Microsoft’s attitude, there often seems to be a gap between official releases and the company’s real intentions. And then how can we not be suspicious after all efforts of the firm to force its users to update to Windows 10?

You will see, at first glance, removing Cortana seems simple. According to Microsoft, the first steps in this tutorial should help prevent Microsoft from continuing to collect data.

We’ll explain a method that seems to work with most builds to really remove the assistant and the process attached to it.

Disable Cortana from the registry

There was a menu in the settings to disable the Cortana wizard, but Microsoft has simply removed it since the anniversary update. Now you have to make changes to the registry. To deactivate Cortana from the registry, you must be logged into a Windows administrator account:

  • Open the Windows Run tool, type regedit and validate.
  • Browse the tree following the path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search.
    registry-policies-microsoft-windows
    You must create the Windows Search key if it does not exist by right-clicking on the Windows folder > New > Key
  • Create a DWORD file in the Windows Search key. Right click on it, then on New > DWORD (32-bit) value
    registry-DWORD-value
  • Create a file and rename the file exactly as follows: AllowCortana
  • Double-click the file and make sure the value is set to 0.
  • Close the registry and restart the computer

Disable Cortana through the menu: the old method

This method worked in the first version of Windows 10. We maintain this part in the article for those who, for one reason or another, would be under version 1507 of Windows 10. For all the others, go to the next section.

  • Click on the wizard
  • Click on Settings
  • Disable Cortana, then click Manage what Cortana knows about me in the cloud
    From there, you can erase the personal data collected by Microsoft directly in your Bing account.
    disable-cortana-from-menu

Why does Cortana.exe stay active?

It’s a good question. Officially Microsoft explains that no personal data is collected after deactivation of Cortana. And yet the process remains active, and is “obviously” impossible to close.

delete-cortana-from-background-with-task-manager

Some users seem to have found the solution by renaming the folder containing Cortana with a trick, because this is not normally possible. We give it to you, but unfortunately it didn’t work for us. Let us know if it worked for you!

  • Right click on Cortana in task manager and click on Go to file location
  • You will then be in the next window. Try adding .bak at the end of the folder name:
    rename-cortana-file
  • Windows will tell you that one or more files in the folder are being used. And that’s the case !
  • Return to Task Manager without canceling the error message, and keep this window just a click away (because it will have to be fast).
  • Now right click on Cortana.exe and click on Details
  • You are now on the SearchUI.exe source process
    disable-cortana-searchui-exe
  • Click very quickly and in order on End task then Retry in the error window obtained when you tried to rename the folder of Cortana

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