[Guide] Disable Cortana in Windows 10 after Anniversary Update

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After the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, it looks like Cortana is here to stay whether you like it or not. Microsoft seems determined to makes us use Cortana or at least keep her enabled on our systems.

She also prefers the Microsoft Edge browser and Bing search engine over anything else, and you cannot specify your personal preferences which is downright annoying.

But it doesn’t mean you can’t get rid of her, along with your privacy concerns. You can use a group policy setting or a registry hack to disable Cortana in Windows 10 after Anniversary Update. Instead of the online-connected virtual assistant, you will get a local Windows search function.

How to disable Cortana in Windows 10 after Anniversary Update

I mentioned above there are two ways to disable Cortana in Windows 10 after Anniversary Update – one is a registry hack for those using Windows 10 Home and any other edition and the other involves changing a Group Policy setting which only works for Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions.

Method 1 – Registry hack for Windows 10 Home and other editions

If your computer is running Windows 10 Home you will need to edit the system registry to disable Cortana. This method also works for any other Windows 10 edition.

Before you proceed you should be aware editing the system registry in an inappropriate manner can seriously damage the operating system and you should proceed at your own risk. Nevertheless, the instructions below are already tested (and safe) so you won’t run into any trouble if you will follow them correctly.

disable Cortana in Windows 10 after Anniversary Update

Right-click on the Start Button and select ‘Run’ from the context menu, then type ‘regedit’ in the text field and hit the OK button.

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In the tree view sidebar go to the following path:

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

Disable Cortana in Windows 10 after Anniversary Update 1

If there’s no Windows Search folder there, you will need to create a new one. You can do this by right-clicking on the Windows folder and then select New -> Key. Name the new folder ‘Windows Search’.

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Right-click on the ‘Windows Search’ folder in the left tree view and from the menu select New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name the value ‘AllowCortana’ and double click on it. Set the value to “0” and if it was already “0” just leave it like that.

Now you can exit the registry editor and log out and back into your current user account or restart Windows to apply the change.

If you ever change your mind and want to re-enable Cortana you will need to return to the ‘AllowCortana’ registry value and set it to “1” or delete it.

Method 2 – Registry hack for Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise only

If you’re using Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, there’s a quicker way to disable Cortana in Windows 10 after Anniversary Update, specifically through the Local Group Policy Editor.

Of course, if you’re on a company network you might want to ask your admin about disabling Cortana since there might be domain group policies in place that override any local group policies. With that said, here’s what you need to do:

Run - Group Policy Editor

Open the Run dialog from the Start button context menu or use the Windows+R shortcut. In the text box, type ‘gpedit.msc’.

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In the left-hand panel go to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Search. In the right panel, double-click on the “Allow Cortana” setting.

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Set this option to Disable, click “OK” to save the changes and close the group policy editor. Just like for the previous method you will need to restart your computer or relog into your user account for the changes to take effect.

To reactivate Cortana via the group policy editor, simply return to the above screen and set the ‘Allow Cortana’ option to ‘Enabled’ or ‘Not Configured’.

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