If you are a privacy freak like me, here’s how you can prevent Cortana from sending data to Microsoft’s servers. Others who wish to know why there is such a huge hype about Cortana’s privacy issues and Microsoft’s policies, can read my article here. To know how to disable Cortana, there are certain tricks.
Coming straight to the point, Cortana can be disabled in more ways than one. Although Microsoft has removed the option to turn Cortana off since the Anniversary Update, it is still possible through the Registry Editor or Group Policy Settings. These tricks which used to work with the older Windows 10 versions, still work on the Creator’s Update.
Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise Users : Disable Cortana via the Group Policy Editor
If you are using Windows 10 Pro or an Enterprise Edition, then you are in luck; the Local Group Policy Editor is much more simpler to use than Registry Editor. It is recommended to make a System Restore Point, before making any changes.
1) First, launch the group policy editor by pressing Windows + R, typing “gpedit.msc” into the box, and pressing Enter.
2) Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.
3) Locate the “Allow Cortana” setting in the right pane and double-click it.
4) Set the Allow Cortana option to “Disabled” and then click “OK”.
5) Now close the Group Policy Editor and restart your PC. And voila ! Cortana is disabled !
If in future, you would like to try out Cortana again, then you can always navigate to the same path in gpedit.msc as above, and set the AllowCortana option to “Enabled”.
Windows 10 Home Users : Disable Cortana via the Registry
For Home Users, Group Policy Settings are not available, so only a registry hack is possible. Standard Warning : Registry Editor is a powerful tool and misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a simple trick and as long as you stick to the instructions, there won’t be any problems. You must back up the Registry. It is also recommended to make a System Restore Point, before making any changes.
1) First, open the Registry Editor by pressing Windows+R on your keyboard, type “regedit” into the box, and press Enter.
2) Go to the following folder (key) in the left sidebar :
3) If you don’t see a Windows Search (folder) below the Windows folder, right-click the Windows folder and select New > Key. Name it “Windows Search”.
4) Right-click the Windows Search folder in the left pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
5) Name the value to “AllowCortana”. Double-click it and set the value to “0”.
6) Now close the Registry Editor and restart your PC. And voila ! Cortana is disabled !
If in future, you would like to try out Cortana again, then you can always navigate to the same path in the registry as above, and set the value, “AllowCortana” to “1”.