How to Properly Disable Cortana in Microsoft Windows 10

ussnorway

Windows Forum Team
Staff member
Premium Supporter
#21
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.
Turning the searchui service off would slow down your network... wifi in particular won't like this and may drop you out of the domain at boot time until the tool times out looking for it.

Its your system mate but be aware of the down side.
 


Veegertx

Extraordinary Member
#22
Turning the searchui service off would slow down your network... wifi in particular won't like this and may drop you out of the domain at boot time until the tool times out looking for it.

Its your system mate but be aware of the down side.
NONE even with 10586. I first upgraded to 10586 and it came back but I got rid of it.
No down side. Running like this several months although I have reinstalled a couple times but I put back everything I am doing.
Wifi when I have used it is fine. No problems here at home

I now have uninstalled everything including Store when I went to 10586 and my system for last 2 weeks hasn't run better since I put this 10 on. I have Pro but basically have an Enterprise version uninstalling ALL. I know where I work a very large Fortune 500 they won't allow none or most of that junk on the Start menu when we do switch, usually several years behind. We know the way upgrades come about slow in the Enterprise.

If I could buy an Enterprise version that's what I would do.
 


#23
Yeah you can't just "uninstall" it using some random tool :)
I agree it isn't an ideal situation, but clearly Microsoft has no desire to play nice and allow us to uninstall items we don't want.

As for the error message in the above post, that may be the result of removing Cortana but the thing is, those same errors are ever present in a brand new fresh install of windows ten too, so what's the excuse for that?

I monitored the event viewer before taking out Cortana and it's flooded with 10001 and 10010 event errors. It's the same story on three different PC's all done as a clean install as opposed to an upgrade, yet when browsing the web some indicate the latest version of Win 10 fixed start menu and Cortana errors. Not!

Trying the group policy route doesn't do much as Cortana and Cortana Background Process are still active in Task Manager.

This is Win 10 Pro 64 Bit build 10586 FWIW.

Linux Mint is looking more and more attractive each day.
 


#24

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.
I followed the instructions but in the Local Group Policy Editor under Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> there was no Search folder, so couldn't continue.

Thanks
Chris
 


Josephur

Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
#25
Looking at the Group Policy definition ADMX files this setting corresponds to the following registry key:

"HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search" valueName="AllowCortana"

So just set that setting (create it if it does not exist) to 0 via regedit, it's a DWORD value.

Note: For you Windows Home edition users you should be able to set this key as you don't have a Group Policy editor persay, as that is a Professional version option.
 


Last edited:
#26
Thanks Josephur

I followed your instructions, having to create the "Windows Search" key under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows with Value "AllowCortana" REG_DWORD 0x00000000 (0)

Rebooted, killed Cortana in Task Manager but it still came back.
 


Josephur

Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
#27
It will come back yes, that cannot be avoided even with this policy in place, but what you should find is that she doesn't work anymore and shouldn't eat any CPU cycles.
 


#28
Hey, that's got it! Thanks a lot Josepur. A pox on Microsoft and their invasive software!
 


#29
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 :)

thanks :)
 


RichM

Well-Known Member
#30
All I do on machines is right click taskbar and then where you see "Cortana" just click "hidden" and you will never know it is there.
 


Josephur

Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
#31
RichM,

While that method hides Cortana it does not disable her, she'll still sit in the background and eat up system resources. That's why using the Group Policy/Registry key (they are the same thing essentially) is the best way supported by Microsoft to "disable" her.
 


RichM

Well-Known Member
#32
While that is quite true very few of us ever even barely tap the resources of the systems we are running so I wouldn't worry about it. I worry more about mistakes screwing around in the registry by users who don't belong doing that.
 


Josephur

Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
#33
While that is quite true very few of us ever even barely tap the resources of the systems we are running so I wouldn't worry about it. I worry more about mistakes screwing around in the registry by users who don't belong doing that.
This is not "screwing around with the registry". This is Microsoft's official way of disabling Cortana, which is EXACTLY the same as using Microsoft Group Policy editor (except Home Edition users do not have the privilege of having that component). And Cortana can eat up to 20% of your CPU, and many MB of memory, not to mention hook on to Windows Search components, etc. It is worth disabling her if you're not going to use her.
 


RichM

Well-Known Member
#34
OK maybe not the best choice of words on my part, and point made.
 


BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
#35
Not to mention that since the Tech Preview days, Ms. Cortana is very sensitive. Great story here: when I was working with Mike on first getting Cortana to talk, my wife heard her talking to me on my test computer, and she said "who the heak is that you are talking to?"! I had to explain, and it took me 6 months to get her to talk to me again. :rofl:

<<<BIGBEARJEDI>>>
 


RichM

Well-Known Member
#36
Pretty funny Marc.
 


BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
#37
Yeah, Rich! :wink:
 


#38
This is a message for Josephur

I would like to completely remove Cortana from my system.

I have an audio system - or two.
it used to work really well under Win-7
it was a little compromised in terms of performance with the 'Free' update of Windows 10
And now both systems are completely useless now Anniversary has come along.

One system is a 6core overclocked at 4.2
The other is an 8 core laptop at 2.9khz
All with SSD's

My problem is that when Cortana tries to send information to an external server - it interrupts my PC - as seen in the resource manager
Only for a fraction of a second - but long enough to totally un-sync all of my audio
USB, audio buffers and disk access are temporarily suspended
And therefore it is completely impossible to work

I'm going to roll back to Win-7 over the weekend
But if you have an aggressive hack - could I possibly try that as a solution?

I have tried the group policy
the registry hack
And also the firewall rule - which was the most successful
This worked really well for 4 hours - and allowed me to get some work done

But as soon as I enabled the internet to deliver material
My machine has been compromised again - and M$ have found another way to interrupt my machine.

I have disk images of pre and post Anniversary - which forcibly installed itself 9 days ago
I have kept these for comparison
I have rolled back - but Cortana in it's new SearchUI / Latest Cortana incarnation - simply re-spawns as the Anniversary edition.

Any help to rid my system of this awful utility - would be very welcome.

Many thanks,

Dave
 


Josephur

Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
#39
If you run "Get-AppxPackage -Name Microsoft.Windows.Cortana" in Windows Powershell (Run Powershell as Administrator) you will find the true path to Cortana's exes and DLL files.

You can then use the Everyone DENY permission to block the executables from running. However this should be a last resort and may cause future update/upgrades to fail. (unless you revert the permission before applying said updates).

For instance in my configuration Get-AppxPackage returns

InstallLocation : C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy

In my experience setting Deny permissions on the executables is usually enough, however by default TrustedInstaller owns them and you will have to take ownership before you can edit the ACL (Access Control List) to add an Everyone Deny permission to prevent them from running. This can cause other unintended consequences such as random errors logged in your Event Log as well.

I really don't want to give exact instructions in the thread as I don't want people messing their systems up, if this wasn't enough information for you to figure it out PM me and I'll assist. Myself, Windows Forums or Stack-Tech is not responsible for any damage caused however :D

You might also be interested in Spybot's Windows Anti-Beacon which can further block communication to Microsoft. Again, use at your own risk.
 


#40
If you run "Get-AppxPackage -Name Microsoft.Windows.Cortana" in Windows Powershell (Run Powershell as Administrator) you will find the true path to Cortana's exes and DLL files.

You can then use the Everyone DENY permission to block the executables from running. However this should be a last resort and may cause future update/upgrades to fail. (unless you revert the permission before applying said updates).

For instance in my configuration Get-AppxPackage returns

InstallLocation : C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy

In my experience setting Deny permissions on the executables is usually enough, however by default TrustedInstaller owns them and you will have to take ownership before you can edit the ACL (Access Control List) to add an Everyone Deny permission to prevent them from running. This can cause other unintended consequences such as random errors logged in your Event Log as well.

I really don't want to give exact instructions in the thread as I don't want people messing their systems up, if this wasn't enough information for you to figure it out PM me and I'll assist. Myself, Windows Forums or Stack-Tech is not responsible for any damage caused however :D

You might also be interested in Spybot's Windows Anti-Beacon which can further block communication to Microsoft. Again, use at your own risk.
That's great info - Thank you
Even if Everyone Deny has unintended consequences - it can't be an worse than th unintended and unwanted consequences of Anniversary.

I had tried TakeOwn (Take Ownership) as my first attempt - to cut and paste the Cortana files into a different folder - but that was soon foiled and re-spawned - and then TakeOwn couldn't take ownership of those files anymore.

The idea to restore productivity to full capacity is to get 3 fully working Win-7 Audio systems up and running - and keep them well away from the internet.

Again - thank you so much.

Dave
 


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