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How to Permanently Disable Cortana in Windows 10 & 11

Key Takeaways:

  • Cortana lacks the versatility and functionality of other digital assistants and even the most automation software.
  • You can disable Cortana from the Group Policy Editor or Registry Editor.
  • Once disabled, you can completely uninstall Cortana from your Windows Computer.

Cortana is the built-in digital assistant in Windows. Though useful in rare situations, you can disable Cortana on Windows if you don’t need it.

Microsoft first released Cortana in Windows 10 with much fanfare and told the users that it could do a lot of things like creating reminders, settings up alarms, helping you with definitions, spellings, conversations, etc. Sounds impressive, but all these tasks are pretty basic. In fact, everything that Cortana can do, you can do better and much more easily. You don’t have to give Cortana specific commands or use your voice.

To put it simply, though Microsoft wanted Cortana to be useful, it can be more of a distraction than a help. So much so that Microsoft stopped talking about it in Windows 11 and separated Windows Search from Cortana to make sure it didn’t bother you. However, Cortana is still alive and kicking in Windows 10 and 11.

If you are not using Cortana or don’t want it on your computer, you can disable and uninstall it. In this guide, let me show you how to disable Cortana permanently on Windows 10 & 11.

Table of contents:

  1. How to disable Cortana on Windows
    1. Using Group Policy Editor
    2. Using Registry Editor
  2. How to uninstall Cortana on Windows
  3. Conclusion

How to disable Cortana on Windows

To disable Cortana on Windows 10 or 11, you must use the Group Policy Editor or Registry Editor. This is because there is no direct option in the Settings app.

Once you disable Cortana, you can uninstall it to make sure it doesn’t bother you in any way. Since Microsoft separated Windows Search and Cortana, it shouldn’t cause problems with the Start menu or File Explorer search.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Important note: Before making big changes to your computer, create a system restore point. The restore point helps restore your computer if something goes wrong.

1. Using Group Policy Editor

Pro and Enterprise users can use the Group Policy Editor to turn off Cortana permanently with just a few clicks. All you have to do is find the policy and disable it. It is very easy to do; follow the below steps.

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Search for “gpedit.msc” and open Group Policy Editor.
  3. Go to the “Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates” folder.
  4. Navigate to the “Windows Components/Search” under it.
  5. Find and open the “Allow Cortana” policy on the right pane.
  6. Select the “Disabled” radio option in the policy settings window.
  7. Click the “Apply” and “Ok” buttons.
  8. Close the Group Policy Editor.
  9. Restart your computer.
  10. With that, you’ve disabled Cortana on Windows.
Disable cortana from group policy editor

That’s it; you’ve disabled Cortana permanently on your Windows computer. Select “Enabled” or “Not configured” in the policy settings window and save changes if you want to enable Cortana back again.

2. Using Registry Editor

You can create and modify the “Allow Cortana” value in the Registry Editor to disable Cortana on Windows. This method is particularly useful for users running the Home edition of Windows 10 and 11.

Back up the registry before making changes. The backup helps in restoring the registry if something goes wrong.

2.1 Automatic Registry Method:

Rather than modifying the registry manually, you can download and run the registry file I created to disable Cortana. The reg file automatically creates and configures the required keys and values. If you are curious, you can open the .reg file with Notepad to see what keys and values we are creating and modifying.

  • Download disable Cortana reg file, open the zip file and extract the .reg file to the desktop. Double-click on the “DisableCortana.reg” file. When warned or prompted, click the “Yes” buttons to merge the registry settings.

That is it. Restart your computer, and Cortana is disabled completely. If you want to enable Cortana, download enable Cortana reg file and run it.

2.2 Manual method:

If you don’t want to run the downloaded reg file, follow the below steps to manually create the Allow Cortana and modify it to disable Cortana on your computer.

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Search for “regedit” and open the Registry Editor.
  3. Go to the “Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows” folder.
  4. Right-click on the “Windows” key on the left pane and select “New -> Key.”
  5. Name the new key “Windows Search.”
  6. Select the Windows Search folder on the left pane.
  7. On the right pane, right-click and select “New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value“.
  8. Name the value as “AllowCortana.”
  9. Double-click on the AllowCortana value.
  10. Set value data to “0“.
  11. Click “Ok” to save changes.
  12. Close the Registry Editor and Restart Windows.
Disable cortana registry editor

That is it. With that, you’ve disabled Cortana on Windows using the Registry Editor. If you want to enable it back, either delete the Allow Cortana value or change its value data to “1.”

How to uninstall Cortana on Windows

Even though you’ve disabled Cortana, it still runs in the background. It doesn’t provide any functionality, but it still lingers. If you don’t want that, you can uninstall Cortana from Windows.

Since Cortana is a built-in Microsoft Store app, you cannot uninstall it using the Settings app. So, we will use a free and open-source uninstaller called Bulk Crap Uninstaller (BC Uninstaller). It lets you uninstall any program with just a couple of clicks. Let me show you how.

  1. Get the BC Uninstaller from the official website.
  2. Install the Bulk Crap Uninstaller software on Windows.
  3. Open the Start menu.
  4. Search and open “BC Uninstaller.”
  5. Find the Cortana app in the list of apps.
  6. Right-click on the Cortana app.
  7. Select the “Uninstall” option.
  8. Click “Next” and follow the on-screen instructions.
  9. Close the BC Uninstaller and reboot the computer.
  10. With that, you’ve disabled Cortana on Windows.

Download link: https://github.com/Klocman/Bulk-Crap-Uninstaller/releases

uninstall cortana

Disabling Cortana on Windows — Conclusion

As you can see, it is rather easy to disable Cortana permanently on both Windows 10 and 11. Whether you use the Group Policy Editor or Registry Editor, all it takes is a few clicks. If you see the Cortana process in the Task Manager or the Cortana icon on the taskbar, follow the uninstallation instructions above. That way, it doesn’t bother or come back.

Do keep in mind that if you upgrade your computer to a new Windows version (22H1 to 22H2), it is possible that Cortana is enabled back. In that case, follow the steps again to disable it.

That is all. It is that simple to disable Cortana on Windows.

I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need help, email me, and I will try to help as much as possible.

If you like this article, check out how to enable automatic login on Windows and how to disable notifications on Windows.

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