How to turn off Cortana on your Windows 10 PC [tutorial]

Considered one of the most visible features of Windows 10, Cortana is also a useful feature in making searches online. In order to work efficiently though, Cortana has to collect enough information from you like your browsing habits, calendar information, your voice, your location, schedules, and many more. This puts security-conscious individuals worry about this feature in the long run. If you’re one of them, you might be wondering if there’s a way to disable Cortana as it’s a core Windows 10 feature.

When Windows 10 was first released, Microsoft provided an easy way to turn off Cortana with a single toggle switch. However, starting with Anniversary Update, that toggle switch was removed so the only way to turn off Cortana at this time is by going under the registry and disabling it from there. If you don’t know how, follow the steps below.

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Create a backup of your registry

As mentioned above, disabling Cortana requires editing the registry first. Just to be on the safe side, we want you to back you registry up first in case something not right will  happen. To back up the registry, follow these steps:

  1. From the Start menu, in the search box, type regedit.exe, and then press Enter. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  2. In Registry Editor, locate and click the registry key or subkey that you want to back up.
  3. Click File > Export.
  4. In the Export Registry File dialog box, select the location where you want to save the backup copy to, and then type a name for the backup file in the File name field.
  5. Click Save.

How to turn off Cortana on your Windows 10 PC

Now that you’ve already saved a good copy of your PC’s registry, it’s time to turn Cortana off.

    1. From the Start menu, in the search box, type regedit.exe, and then press Enter. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. 
    2. Once you’re in the Registry Editor, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search. Some Windows 10 PC may not have Windows Search. If yours does not have it either, you have to create it first. To do that, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft and right click on Windows folder. Then, select New>Key and name it Windows Search
    3. Now that you have created Windows Search key, right click on it and select New > DWORD (32-bit Value).
    4. Then, name the DWORDAllowCortana.”
    5. Click AllowCortana it and make sure the value is 0.
    6. Restart your computer.

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to turn off or remove Cortana entirely. The program may still show as running in the background when you check Task Manager but that’s okay. You’ll find out that it’s actually gone even if you’ll search the process in your machine. If you’re positive that you followed our steps above, Cortana should no longer bother you, unless of course Microsoft will revive it again once you install another Windows update. Be sure to keep the steps above handy in case you’ll need to disable Cortana again.


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