How to disable Cortana button

cortana
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Microsoft doesn’t want you to disable Cortana. You used to be able to turn off Cortana in Windows 10, but Microsoft removed that easy toggle switch in the Anniversary Update. But you can still disable Cortana via a registry hack or group policy setting. This transforms the Cortana box into a “Search Windows” tool for local application and file searches.

Cortana has become increasingly restrictive since Windows 10’s release. It was previously updated to ignore your default web browser. Cortana now always launches the Microsoft Edge browser and only uses Bing when you search. If that sounds like something you wouldn’t want to use, here’s how to turn it off.

Disable Cortana via the Registry

If you have Windows 10 Home, you’ll have to edit the Windows Registry to make these changes. You can also do it this way if you have Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise, but just feel more comfortable working in the Registry as opposed to Group Policy Editor. (If you have Pro or Enterprise, though, we recommend using the easier Group Policy Editor, as described in the next section.

Standard warning: Registry Editor is a powerful tool and misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty simple hack and as long as you stick to the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. That said, if you’ve never worked with it before, consider reading about how to use the Registry Editor before you get started. And definitely back up the Registry (and your computer!) before making changes.

You should also make a System Restore point before continuing. Windows will probably do this automatically when you install the Anniversary Update, but it couldn’t hurt to make one manually–that way, if something goes wrong, you can always roll back.

Then, open the Registry Editor by pressing Windows+R on your keyboard, typing “regedit” into the box, and pressing Enter.

Navigate to the following key in the left sidebar:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search

If you don’t see a “Windows Search” key (folder) below the Windows folder, right-click the Windows folder and select New > Key. Name it “Windows Search”.

Right-click the “Windows Search” key (folder) in the left pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

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Name the value “AllowCortana”. Double-click it and set the value to “0”.

You can now close the registry editor. You’ll have to sign out and sign back in or restart your computer before the change takes effect.

To undo your change and restore Cortana in the future, you can just return here, locate the “AllowCortana” value, and delete it or set it to “1”.

Disable Cortana via GPO

If you’re using Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise, the easiest way to disable Cortana is by using the Local Group Policy Editor. It’s a pretty powerful tool, so if you’ve never used it before, it’s worth taking some time to learn what it can do. Also, if you’re on a company network, do everyone a favor and check with your admin first. If your work computer is part of a domain, it’s also likely that it’s part of a domain group policy that will supersede the local group policy, anyway.

You should also make a System Restore point before continuing. Windows will probably do this automatically when you install the Anniversary Update, but it couldn’t hurt to make one manually–that way, if something goes wrong, you can always roll back.

First, launch the group policy editor by pressing Windows + R, typing “gpedit.msc” into the box, and pressing Enter.

Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.

Click on the settings “Allow Cortana” and set this to “Disabled” as shown below.

When you are done, click on Ok. This policy will be applied by default after 90 minutes. In order to ensure the policy applies immediately, run “gpupdate” or “gpupdate /force” from the command-line.

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