Windows 10 : how to disable Cortana

Many users often inquire about disabling or removing Cortana from Windows 10. As Microsoft’s personal assistant, it collects a significant amount of personal information from users, which can be a cause for concern. Additionally, some users have reported experiencing performance issues due to Cortana. If you find yourself in either of these situations, here’s a quick guide on how to turn it off.


How to disable Cortana from Windows 10

Many users have started deactivating the Cortana personal assistant from Windows 10 as they are concerned about how Microsoft uses their personal data. Cortana seems to collect a significant amount of data, and users are unsure of what Microsoft is doing with it.

While the company claims that this is to improve the user experience, there often seems to be a gap between official releases and the company’s real intentions, especially after its efforts to force users to update to Windows 10.

Removing Cortana may seem simple, but it is not always effective. However, in this tutorial, we will provide a method that seems to work with most builds to completely remove the assistant and its associated processes. This should help prevent Microsoft from continuing to collect data from your system.

Disable Cortana from the registry

The option to disable the Cortana assistant was once available in the settings menu, but Microsoft has removed it since the anniversary update. As a result, you now need to modify the registry to turn off Cortana. To perform this action, you must be logged in to a Windows administrator account:

  • Open the Windows Run tool, type regedit and validate.
  • Browse the tree following the path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search.
    You must create the Windows Search key if it does not exist by right-clicking on the Windows folder > New > Key
  • Create a DWORD file in the Windows Search key. Right click on it, then on New > DWORD (32-bit) value
  • Create a file and rename the file exactly as follows: AllowCortana
  • Double-click the file and make sure the value is set to 0.
  • Close the registry and restart the computer

Disable Cortana through the menu: the old method

This approach was effective in the initial release of Windows 10. We have included this information in the article for users who may still be running version 1507. For everyone else, please proceed to the next section.

  • Click on the wizard
  • Click on Settings
  • Disable Cortana, then click Manage what Cortana knows about me in the cloud
    From there, you can erase the personal data collected by Microsoft directly in your Bing account.

Why does Cortana.exe stay active?

It’s a good question. Officially Microsoft explains that no personal data is collected after deactivation of Cortana. And yet the process remains active, and is “obviously” impossible to close.


A potential solution to disabling Cortana that some users have tried involves renaming the folder where it’s located, although this is not a recommended or supported method by Microsoft. While we can provide you with this workaround, we must note that we were not able to successfully test it. If you attempt it, please let us know if it worked for you.

  • Right click on Cortana in task manager and click on Go to file location
  • You will then be in the next window. Try adding .bak at the end of the folder name:
  • Windows will tell you that one or more files in the folder are being used. And that’s the case !
  • Return to Task Manager without canceling the error message, and keep this window just a click away (because it will have to be fast).
  • Now right click on Cortana.exe and click on Details
  • You are now on the SearchUI.exe source process
  • Click very quickly and in order on End task then Retry in the error window obtained when you tried to rename the folder of Cortana

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