How to disable Cortana on Windows 10

When Cortana isn't working for you on Windows 10, use this guide to disable the assistant using the registry or Group Policy.

Cortana in the Windows 10 taskbar

Microsoft is building Cortana to be an essential part of Windows 10, but it seems that the company doesn’t want you to disable it even if the feature isn’t for you.

Previously, you were able to turn off the assistant with a simple switch of a button, but since the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, the toggle to disable Cortana and turning off the Privacy settings no longer works. However, it’s still possible to disable Cortana by modifying the Registry or using Group Policy.

Although Cortana continues to improve with every update, Microsoft has been restricting the ways you can customize the experience. For example, Cortana only uses Microsoft Edge to show a search, and you are limited to only use Bing as the search engine, and now the company is even removing the ability to turn off the feature.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to disable Cortana on Windows 10 using Group Policy or Registry, if this is a feature you never use and don’t want to keep it enabled.

How to disable Cortana on Windows 10 using Group Policy

If you’re running Windows 10 Pro, you can easily disable Cortana using the Local Group Policy Editor. This is extremely useful tool that let you quickly customize numerous advanced settings in the operating system.

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.

  2. Type gpedit.msc and click OK.

  3. Browse the following path: 

    Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search
  4. Double-click the Allow Cortana setting.

    Group Policy Allow Cortana setting

  5. Check the Disabled option.

  6. Click Apply.

  7. Click OK.

    Allow Cortana setting Disabled

  8. Restart your PC to complete the task.

If you want to revert the changes, simply go back to Allow Cortana setting in the Local Group Policy Editor, and check the Not Configured option.

How to disable Cortana on Windows 10 using registry

If you’re running Windows 10 Home, you don’t have access to the Local Group Policy Editor, so you’re left with the most advanced option.

Important: It’s recommended you do a full backup of your computer before proceeding, as modifying the registry incorrectly can cause irreversible damage to your system.
  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.

  2. Type regedit and click OK.

  3. Navigate to the following path:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search
  4. There should be Windows Search key, if the key isn’t available, you’ll have to create it using the following steps:

    1. Right-click the Windows key.

    2. Select New and then click on Key.

      Registry Windows Search key

    3. Name the key Windows Search and press Enter.

  5. Right-click the Windows Search key and select New and click on DWORD (32-bit) Value.

  6. Name the new key AllowCortana and click OK.

    AllowCortana registry key

  7. Double-click the new key and set its value to 0, which should be the default value.

  8. Restart your computer.

Once you’ve completed the steps, you’ll only see the the Search Windows box, which allows you to do local and web searches. If you want remove Cortana and stop web results on search, then follow this guide.

If you want to re-enable Cortana, you can use the same steps, but on step No. 7, make sure to change the AllowCortana key value from 0 to 1.

Originally published on August 2016, updated on June 2018.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He's also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ & Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, and LinkedIn.