How to Properly Disable Cortana in Microsoft Windows 10

Discussion in 'Windows 10 Tutorials' started by Mike, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    How to Properly Disable Cortana in Windows 10

    Using Local Group Policy Editor in Microsoft Windows 10, it is possible to completely disable Cortana, without it restarting, and without editing the registry, or making forced changes.

    In this tutorial, I will show you how to properly disable Cortana on Microsoft Windows 10 client.
    • Search and open gpedit.msc
    • Locate Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Search
    • Scroll down to Search and find "Allow Cortana". Right-click to "Edit"
    • Disable
    • Search the Command Prompt with elevated privileges by right-clicking and "Run as Administrator"
    • Execute gpupdate /force in the Command Prompt.
    • Go to Task Manager and end the "Cortana" task.
    • Cortana is disabled as a matter of company policy and will not run in the background, even when disabled.
    Additional notes 2015-11-15:

    It is true that this process disabled Cortana, but does not remove the process. This is still an effort that people are working on and discussing.
     
    #1 Mike, Aug 1, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
  2. Josephur

    Josephur Windows Forum Admin
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    Your welcome ;)
     
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  3. ussnorway

    ussnorway Windows Forum Team
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    If the search doesn't find it you can press [windows key] + [r] and type gpedit.msc then press [enter]

    Another option is to go to "Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Administrative Tools" and run the "Local Security Policy" app (secpol.msc)
     
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  4. Josephur

    Josephur Windows Forum Admin
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    For Home Edition users that may not have Group Policy editor you can do this via the following registry key:

    HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search
    Value: AllowCortana
    Change to 0 to Disable Cortana, 1 to Enable.

    You may have to reboot for it to take effect.
     
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  5. Kellbelle3201

    Kellbelle3201 New Member

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    Hello - I followed the video instructions down to the letter today and when I open task manager it's still running. I also tried the registry suggestion and also the control panel suggestion - Help?
     
  6. Josephur

    Josephur Windows Forum Admin
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    She may show in task manager, under app history, but reset the statistics using the "Delete usage history" and see if her CPU time goes up or not?

    I have a more aggressive method for disabling her, but it involves setting the deny execute permission on her binaries and that should only be done by someone who really understands the ramifications :)
     
  7. Kellbelle3201

    Kellbelle3201 New Member

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    I have a friend who was a computer programmer for 25 years and he has fixed my computer many times. If you give me the instructions, if he understands it, I will have him do it for me. Thanks - Kelly
     
  8. Kellbelle3201

    Kellbelle3201 New Member

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    Under settings for Cortana it says "Cortana is disabled by company policy" but it's still running in task manager and when I end task it pops right back up.
     
  9. Josephur

    Josephur Windows Forum Admin
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    Correct, but the way Windows 10 works with Metro apps is it literally suspends the threads, which means memory management makes sure the memory is mostly free and CPU cycles aren't wasted. The only way I've found to completely nuke her is to set permission deny attributes on her exe files. This of course is an advanced option that should be reserved only for people who completely understand this process. If you download Process Explorer you will see the suspended processes sitting there.
     
  10. Josephur

    Josephur Windows Forum Admin
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    Kelly,

    The only problem is the Cortana process gets updated with Windows update, and since Metro apps version information is incorporated into the path it changes when it updates sometimes. As you can see:

    Code:
    Name              : Microsoft.Windows.Cortana
    Publisher         : CN=Microsoft Windows, O=Microsoft Corporation, L=Redmond, S=Washington, C=US
    Architecture      : Neutral
    ResourceId        : neutral
    Version           : 1.4.8.176
    PackageFullName   : Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_1.4.8.176_neutral_neutral_cw5n1h2txyewy
    InstallLocation   : C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy
    IsFramework       : False
    PackageFamilyName : Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy
    PublisherId       : cw5n1h2txyewy
    IsResourcePackage : False
    IsBundle          : False
    IsDevelopmentMode : False
    
    I've toyed around with the idea of writing a small Windows service or something of the sort that suppresses Cortana completely automatically (even through updates), but really I don't know that too many people are searching for such a tool.
     
  11. Veegertx

    Veegertx Honorable Member

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    I have uninstalled Cortana using another Tool and still get these in eventlog. Don't really care but this proves it was imbedded very deeply as a com. Future updates may put it back but will deal with that when it happens.

    Event ID 10001
    Unable to start a DCOM Server: CortanaUI as Unavailable/Unavailable. The error:
    "2"
    Happened while starting this command:
    "C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy\SearchUI.exe"
     
  12. Josephur

    Josephur Windows Forum Admin
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    Yeah you can't just "uninstall" it using some random tool :)
     
  13. Veegertx

    Veegertx Honorable Member

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    There are some who don't want this Privacy Invasive stuff so

    Oh but you can. Folder is empty but something calling it as the Event log shows but its starting nothing.

    No searchui running here. I also removed all MS metro except weather(disable live tile and all ports close when you close it) so my machine has become less chatty to MS. I realize a future update I might be back to square 1 but will deal with that when it happens cause you can't stop the background updates bypassing firewall rules but guess what, many many out there working on getting rid of these things.

    I was told Iobit uninstaller would remove Cortana but it can't and won't. Just tested by imaging back to day 1 release and testing that, it will remove a bunch of those other things but I use W10Privacy to remove all the rest because it gets User as well as System Apps.

    One method to remove Cortana and Search2 is here
    EDIT msg me and I'll give link

    All MS has to do is give us an Uninstall option if we don't want it.
     
    #13 Veegertx, Sep 14, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
  14. Josephur

    Josephur Windows Forum Admin
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    This method could cause irreparable damage to your windows installation and possible failure of future updates and/or service packs. I would not recommend it, if your that hell bent then set an Everyone DENY permission using NTFS permissions on Cortana's executables. Either way your event log will get flooded with errors as it's not the correct way to do this.
     
  15. Veegertx

    Veegertx Honorable Member

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    I edit the link above. Msg me if you want to remove Cortana for Testing

    Willing to take that risk in the name of Testing. Each time I boot 4-5 errors in event log about Cortana not starting, not a flood. Running like this 21 days now. Using an Event log script clear's event log in about 15 seconds.

    Been paying MS since 3.1 for all my OS, every version, paying Tech Net subscriber over 8 years since I am a developer but I dropped that after this 10. Been helping people online for many years free of charge to fix Windows problems, just my nature to help if I can.

    Now they give us a so called Free OS and want to shove all this crap I don't want down my throat I think in the name of giving us ad's we don't want, I don't even use their browser. Hmmm who else does this? can you say Google with all their crap on the android phones talking to Ireland halfway around the world.

    I don't like the way MS going. May lose but not going to take it lying down, not my nature. Going to attempt to use whatever I find to shut down and eliminate. If thats Hell bent then like we say in Texas You bet

    If we don't want Cortana, give us an Uninstall
     
  16. Josephur

    Josephur Windows Forum Admin
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    Veeg,

    The only problem with these third party tools is can you trust them? If they are open source, sure ok. But that W10Privacy site even LOOKS like a scam to me, ran the download through Virus Total and 2 AV engines flag it as a trojan as well.

    Unless there's an open source tool I wouldn't use it, period.
     
  17. Veegertx

    Veegertx Honorable Member

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    Josephur

    100% of all programs begin that way where most AV flag them. I know it don't like some of mine I have done. Not that road
    Open source, there's an idea, guess you have the source to MS Windows, wanna share it with us? Not that road either
    He a simple man like me and don't have a 100,000 dolllar web site. Not that road either

    Looking at your picture I can see I been at this a whole lot longer than you, my gray emphasizes that.
    I've only ever had one virus self inflicted in my early days from a floppy I copied at work.

    Had a couple pups from among a lot others on my list
    [Junkware]
    Ashampoo=yes
    IOBIT=yes
    Auslogics=yes
    Have you used any and I mean any of those, they are pups

    I trace track and watch everything going on in my system. W10Privacy only set's registry settings, firewall, host, service configurations, uninstall Microsoft Privacy stealing apps. I've traced it all and nothing outbound except you set to check for updates. Wireshark and a few other things let me watch that.

    I've advanced a bit and found methods to not have any errors in error logs from this anymore.
    Today is the day, drop 10586. Will see what happens

    But, as a long time Windows user, yes, lot longer than you I have downloaded a Linux distro and am almost ready to heave ho Microsoft.
     
  18. Josephur

    Josephur Windows Forum Admin
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    Veeg,

    W10Privacy is an encrypted Autoit3 script and not actually a program in the traditional sense which is why it may be flagged, either way I don't trust it.

    I'm very familiar with software and security, I disassemble software for fun especially malware (love to learn how it works). Ah remember the good 'ol disassembling binaries to assembly code to change them.. it's a shame that IL code anymore makes it so hard to do these days :) I've even written a basic hash and pattern based detection engine just for fun so I do understand a bit about software ;)

    I've only been using Windows since 3.11 so if you had previous experience to that I guess you got me, I still stand by my decision to not use software like this, I do encourage people to share information such as registry keys and settings to get the job done however.
     
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  19. ussnorway

    ussnorway Windows Forum Team
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    You need to get a girl... have too much time on your hands mate.:oops::rolleyes:
     
  20. Josephur

    Josephur Windows Forum Admin
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    I have one, her heart is a overclocked i7-6700k ;)
     
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