This new built-in feature is just as unhelpful as it is annoying. It’s like Microsoft doesn’t even use their own products. On top of that, it is yet another invasion of my privacy.
For those of us who just want to search for a file on our PC, and nothing or nowhere else, the following instructions will help you do so. This will help you turn off and disable Microsoft’s Cortana from your Windows 10 computer as well as disable the Bing search results from the Start menu.
What is embarrassing is how much data Cortana collects about me yet fails to be able to locate most of anything I tell it to search for. This virtual assistant is virtually useless and is sucking system resources on top of that. Disabling Cortana will help regain a bit of privacy by preventing it from sending what we do on our personal computers back to Microsoft (for quality assurance purposes of course).
Remember, it is always recommended to create a system restore point before doing any registry modifications. A reboot may be required and it may take time for your search results to update to more relevant content.
To limit what data Cortana can collect about you, visit the Cortana settings panel. To access this panel, click on “Start“, then the “Settings” gear icon. Click the “Cortana” panel and turn off every toggle. Continue to the section where you can “Change what Cortana knows about me in the cloud“. A “Personal Information” page is retrieved in the same Start panel. When it loads, simply scroll to the very bottom and click “Clear“.
Cortana collects information about your typing and talking as well. To turn that off press the “Start” button, then the “Settings” gear icon. Next, select “Privacy” and look for “Speech, inking & typing” under which you can click “Stop getting to know me” (Note: Turning this off will disable dictation across Windows 10.)
To Turn off Cortana completely on Windows 10 Home (Windows 10 Pro instructions) press the “Start” button at the bottom left of your screen and type “regedit” then press “Enter” on your keyboard. Copy and paste the below address into the address bar at the top:
Right click on the “Windows” directory and choose “New > Key” (folder). Enter “Windows Search“. Select the new “Windows Search” folder and in the right panel, right mouse click anywhere in the empty white section and choose “New > DWORD (32-bit) Value“. Enter “AllowCortana” making sure the “Value Data” is set to “0” (zero) Hexadecimal base.
You’ll need to restart your computer in order to implement these changes. You should also check to ensure that Cortana is disabled from your Startup process. Upon restart Cortana should be no more. Instead of “Ask me anything“, the new search box will only say “Search Windows” which seems to be much better now that it doesn’t search the internet when all you want is to search your local environment.
To Turn off Cortana completely on Windows 10 Pro press the “Start” button and search for and open “Edit group policy“. Next, go to “Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search” and find and open “Allow Cortana“. Click “Disabled“, and press “OK“.
Restart your computer, and Cortana should be no more. Instead of “Ask me anything“, the new search box will only say “Search Windows” which seems to be much better now that it doesn’t search the internet for a locally stored document.
To disable Cortana from starting with Windows right mouse click on an empty space within the taskbar at the bottom of your screen and select “Task Manager” from the context menu that appears. Otherwise, press the “Start” button at the bottom left of your screen and type “Task Manager” then press “Enter” on your keyboard.
The Task Manager window will appear. Select the “Startup” tab (see image below) and right mouse click on “Cortana“. Select “Disable” from the context menu that appears. This will disable the Cortana service from running when your PC starts up. Restart your PC to confirm that the service no longer runs at startup.
The following registry edit is required in Windows 10 version 1803 Spring Update since it removed the ability to disable the web results option within the Start menu.
Begin by pressing “Start” and type in “regedit.exe” and inserting the following into the address bar:
In the right side of the pane, right click and choose “New > DWORD (32-bit) Value” and enter “BingSearchEnabled“. Set the Value data to “0“.
We need to add another key. Right click and choose “New > DWORD (32-bit) Value” and enter “AllowSearchToUseLocation“. Set the Value data to “0“.
Double check to make sure that the “CortanaConsent” DWORD key exists with a Value data of “0“. If it doesn’t, you’ll want to create it. A reboot may be required to complete the process.
I hope this article has helped you disable the helpless Windows 10 “Personal Assistant“, Cortana. I welcome your thoughts, questions or suggestions regarding this article.
Let me know if you found any errors within my article or if I may further assist you by answering any additional questions you may have.
+ This article was revised on February 22nd, 2020 to enhance the internal link structure.
+ This article was revised on April 5th, 2021 to remove the “and” stop word from the URL and title.
+ This article was revised on April 6th, 2021 to add instructions on how to disable Cortana from startup on Windows.