Microsoft has made its digital personal assistant – Cortana – more integral to Windows 10 with every major update. Apart from searching your computer, it displays notifications, can send emails, set reminders, and do all of that using your voice. Some might find it too intrusive though, and would prefer to turn the helper off.
While you could turn off Cortana with a single toggle in the days before the Anniversary Update, that’s no longer possible. And with the recent Windows 10 Creators Update, disabling Cortana can entirely break search, according to reports, with the only way to fix it being a clean install.
If you’re still bent on plugging the plug on Cortana’s capabilities in Windows 10, there are ways to go about that. You can take away the tools it uses to learn about you, or you can completely switch it off.
Prevent Cortana from knowing you
First, let’s head into Cortana’s settings to cut off all the separate ways it monitors your computer habits. Here’s how:
To serve you better, Cortana collects data about your typing and talking, as well. If you’d like to turn that off, follow these steps:
Remember, turning this off will also disable dictation across Windows 10. If that’s a service you rely on, then you'll have to put up with Windows 'getting to know you'.
Turn off Cortana completely
Once you’ve gone through the steps above, Cortana won’t respond to your voice. But it’s still running in the background, waiting to be called upon.
To get rid of it completely, you need to do more. Depending on the version of Windows 10 you use – Home, Pro, or Enterprise – the steps will be slightly different.
How to disable Cortana on Windows 10 Pro
How to disable Cortana on Windows 10 Home
The process is slightly trickier, and involves editing the Windows Registry. If you’re not comfortable with this process, we suggest taking a backup, or setting a restore point.
Restart your computer, and Cortana should now be gone. Instead of “Ask me anything”, the new search box will only say “Search Windows”.
Did you have any trouble following any of the above steps? Let us know via the comments below.
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