How to disable Cortana on Windows 10

When Cortana isn't working for you, 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, and it seems that the company doesn’t want you to disable it. Before the arrival of the Anniversary Update, you were able to turn off Cortana with the simple switch of a button.

Starting with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft removed 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 Microsoft 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 the Group Policy or the registry, if this is a feature you don’t want to be using.

How to disable Cortana 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 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 the following path:

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

    1. Right-click the Windows key.

    2. Select New > Key.

      Registry Windows Search key

    3. Name the key Windows Search and press Enter.

  5. Right-click the Windows Search key and select New > 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 PC to apply the changes.

If you want to re-enable Cortana, simply go back to the registry and make sure to change the AllowCortana value from 0 to 1.

Once you disable Cortana, you’ll only see the the Search Windows box, which allows you to do local searches for settings and files. If you want to remove this search box, simply right-click the taskbar and click Hidden under Search.

Did the instructions help you to disable Cortana on Windows 10? Tell us in the comments below.