How to disable Cortana in Windows

(Pocket-lint) – Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Amazon Alexa. A digital voice assistant built right into Windows, so you can just say “Hey, Cortana” to get help when you need it.

For some, the idea of ​​having yet another device that listens to your every word may seem daunting. Don’t worry though, as you can disable Cortana fairly easily.

It’s worth noting before we start that Cortana isn’t enabled by default in Windows 11. So if you want to disable it, you only have to take care of it in Windows 10.

How to disable Cortana in Windows 10

One of the easiest ways to disable Cortana is to prevent it from loading when Windows is doing it. You can choose which apps load when you turn on your PC. So if you disable Cortana here, it won’t load at all anymore.

To do this, you must first open the task manager. There are several possibilities for this. You can press the Windows key on your keyboard and type “Task Manager” to find it, right-click on the taskbar and click to launch it, or use our favorite shortcut and follow these steps:

  1. Press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to start Task Manager
  2. Look for the Startup tab and click on it
  3. Browse the list of apps and look for Cortana
  4. Right-click Cortana and click Disable
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While you’re there, we recommend disabling anything else that you’re not using in your day-to-day activities that is important to your work or play. Many sneaky apps that you have installed will try to launch on startup and this can really slow down your computer’s boot time.

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Disable via Start Apps

You can also disable Cortana from the Start apps system settings. To access these:

  1. Click the “Start” button or press the Windows key and type “start apps”.
  2. Click on the Start Apps System Preferences
  3. Locate Cortana in the list of startup apps
  4. Click Disable

This works on both Windows 10 and Windows 11, so you can disable any apps you don’t want to start automatically with just a few clicks.

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Disable Cortana in the app settings

If you want to be doubly sure that Cortana is disabled, you can go into the app settings and click a few buttons to disable Cortana.

  1. Click the Start button or press the Windows key on your keyboard
  2. Navigate to “All Apps”
  3. Find Cortana in the list
  4. Right-click Cortana and click App Settings or More Settings.
  5. Look for the settings that say “runs at login” and turn them off

You can also see a microphone setting here, so you can disable Cortana’s access to your microphone.

How to completely uninstall Cortana

If disabling Cortana isn’t enough, you can always uninstall it. Unfortunately, this isn’t as simple as simply going to the Control Panel and clicking the Add or Remove Programs settings. It takes a bit of trickery to do that.

  1. Click the Start button or press the Windows key and type powershell
  2. Right-click Windows PowerShell and click Run as Administrator.
  3. Once it’s running, type Get-AppxPackage -allusers Microsoft.549981C3F5F10 | a Remove-AppxPackage
  4. Press enter
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This will remove Cortana from your system except for some registry files. Removing these might be too aggressive for most people, so we recommend just skipping it.

Writing by Adrian Willings.

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