Windows 10 Tip: Turn Off Cortana Completely

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I don't know who the person is at Microsoft that decides people like things forced on them but that person needs to knock that crap off. Everything, not just Cortana, should have a way to be disabled without having to resort to registry edits.

On a system running Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise edition, you can use Group Policy to apply this setting across multiple machines in an enterprise network; on a single PC, use the local Group Policy Editor, gpedit.msc, to open the policy Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search > Allow Cortana and set it to disabled. On a system running Windows 10 Home, you need to make a manual edit to the registry. Find the key HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search (you might need to create this key if it doesn't exist), and then create the DWORD value AllowCortana and set it to 0.
 

sean.b

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we were chuckling at the "forced Cortana" and what that would do with the .gov and .mil world (where i work). this would be the equivalence of sticking a Furbie in an open storage top secret container. no way in hell would a forced-on Cortana be allowed on any networks there.
 

heatlesssun

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Yes there needs to be more controls here. But Cortana is pretty slick and I honestly think that this kind of stuff is the future. Ultimately people want computers to do more and make things easier.
 

amddragonpc

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I don't know who the person is at Microsoft that decides people like things forced on them but that person needs to knock that crap off. Everything, not just Cortana, should have a way to be disabled without having to resort to registry edits.

Enough said right there!
 

prime2515102

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Didn't the ability to disable this in group policy editor with the anniversary update, as well as the ability to disable cortana (among other things) in the registry editor? Maybe I read something wrong at some point...
 

dark_reign

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Did the edit to the registry and it works like a charm. Basic search on Windows 10 is all I need.
 

Mugato

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Anyone have a good guide or walk through on disabling Win 10 features in a corporate environment? I turn off everything I can, but if ya'll have a roll out procedure that would be awesome.
 

sadsteve

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Yes there needs to be more controls here. But Cortana is pretty slick and I honestly think that this kind of stuff is the future. Ultimately people want computers to do more and make things easier.

I'd have no problems with Cortana if it ran only on my machine (no cloud/microsoft server(s) tracking/involvement). Until that happens, I'll not use Cortana. Probably wouldn't anyways since my life is not complicated enough to need an assistant, digital or otherwise.
 

ICOM

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Yes there needs to be more controls here. But Cortana is pretty slick and I honestly think that this kind of stuff is the future. Ultimately people want computers to do more and make things easier.

Ultimately, people want more control of the applications they deem useless so they can disable them or remove them entirely. We don't want computers to do "more". We want "more" control of what they do.
 
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I agree that all optional type functions should be able to be turned on/off easily, and Cortana is not. The whole idea of Cortana reminds me of the Office Assistant paperclip of yesteryear, and I've had to consciously force myself to try it out rather than remove it as soon as possible; so far, I've found it useful and fairly unobtrusive. Although I did need to track down removing Cortana Helpful Hints from my lock screen. Ugh, who thought that was a good idea?

On the topic of searching for files though, I've felt that Microsoft has gone backwards over the last fifteen years toward making searching more difficult and less useful. Cortana's functions aside, the file search tool within Explorer is horrible. For those of you who have come to that same realization, I recently came across an extremely helpful tool by Nirsoft, it's called Search My Files. It is a portable application with a small footprint, and it can do amazing things to help track down files based upon a plethora of search variables. If you haven't done so already and have the need, I recommend you check it out: Alternative to Windows Search For Files + Duplicates Search

-ZA
 

heatlesssun

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I'd have no problems with Cortana if it ran only on my machine (no cloud/microsoft server(s) tracking/involvement). Until that happens, I'll not use Cortana. Probably wouldn't anyways since my life is not complicated enough to need an assistant, digital or otherwise.

What makes Cortana useful though is her ability to leverage tons of information. I had my brother-in-law and her wife stay overnight because of a long layover. So calls us gives of the flight number, I say "Hey Cortana", say the flight number, and boom. The flight is tracked across all my devices including phone and she even reminded me to go pick him up.

I strongly believe that this is kind of stuff is the future where computers will use more and more information and posses more autonomy. It's happening with everything else in tech now. It may not be what everyone wants and there's always risks with new tech but for now that's where things are headed.
 

heatlesssun

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Ultimately, people want more control of the applications they deem useless so they can disable them or remove them entirely. We don't want computers to do "more". We want "more" control of what they do.

Of course we want computers to do more, that's always been the case.
 

ICOM

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What makes Cortana useful though is her ability to leverage tons of information. I had my brother-in-law and her wife stay overnight because of a long layover. So calls us gives of the flight number, I say "Hey Cortana", say the flight number, and boom. The flight is tracked across all my devices including phone and she even reminded me to go pick him up.

I strongly believe that this is kind of stuff is the future where computers will use more and more information and posses more autonomy. It's happening with everything else in tech now. It may not be what everyone wants and there's always risks with new tech but for now that's where things are headed.

That's a great story. So, why can't we disable Cortana?
 

Tak Ne

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Microsoft thinks they can dictate how a person uses a computer the same way Apple does. Sure they both have Kool-Aid but Microsoft's is made from Steve Ballmer's piss. Seriously though, Windows is in the same boat as Linux in that people want it to work the way that is best for them whereas OSX users seem happy to let Apple decide the best way to do something.
 

heatlesssun

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Holy Shyt...

No. We want more control of what computer do.

Then what would ever be the point of people buying new computers with a static feature set? Indeed part of the problem in the slow down of PCs is that their feature sets have probably been too static. VR is certainly a new capability that's becoming big with computers now, especially PCs.
 

ICOM

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Then what would ever be the point of people buying new computers with a static feature set? Indeed part of the problem in the slow down of PCs is that their feature sets have probably been too static. VR is certainly a new capability that's becoming big with computers now, especially PCs.

I'm all for new features of an OS but we should be able to decide which of those "useful features" are not useful (Cortana) and EASILY remove them from our experience without having to perform some circus act of magic to make them disappear. It's not TRON yet. I believe most users don't care about all the fluff and crap that comes with a new OS. Just play the games, surf the web, listen to music and bang out a spread sheet or power point presentation or make your youtube video.
 

polonyc2

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I didn't disable it (using a registry edit) on my W10 Home version but I did hide it so it doesn't show up on my taskbar...I did disable OneDrive...
 

ManofGod

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That's it, I think MS should release a payed for Windows 10 OS with no browsers, no file managers, no antivrus, no firewall, no search, no built in drivers and no programs. /s Pretty much that is what all these folks here that do not like Windows 10 should get. Oh, and no desktop manager at all. Figure out how to install programs all on your own for once.
 

heatlesssun

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I'm all for new features of an OS but we should be able to decide which of those "useful features" are not useful (Cortana) and EASILY remove them from our experience without having to perform some circus act of magic to make them disappear. It's not TRON yet. I believe most users don't care about all the fluff and crap that comes with a new OS. Just play the games, surf the web, listen to music and bang out a spread sheet or power point presentation or make your youtube video.

I agree but for the overwhelming majority of end users, I think Windows 10 does the stuff you listed just as well as anything else and the new features are just there without much concern. And some of the new stuff does make sense. The average user I'm all but certain is searching the web much more than local files, so searching the web as a standard feature makes sense and adding natural language support like voice for that kind of thing is common now.
 

heatlesssun

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We've seen there is a good number of users who would prefer to trade "do less" for "it just works." What's more popular at the moment, full featured desktop computers or tablets and phones? Which can do the most?

Windows 10 incorporates the elements of both and other OSes are doing the same thing now.
 

ManofGod

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I get it. Either you have to take Cortana, use it, and love it, or get a more slimmed down version of Windows than Windows PE or Windows Server Nano Core (basically MinWin).
Defn. Splitting

Clearly, sarcasm is outside your undersrtanding. Just in case you do not get it, that is what the /s means in the post. ;)
 

dark_reign

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I agree but for the overwhelming majority of end users, I think Windows 10 does the stuff you listed just as well as anything else and the new features are just there without much concern. And some of the new stuff does make sense. The average user I'm all but certain is searching the web much more than local files, so searching the web as a standard feature makes sense and adding natural language support like voice for that kind of thing is common now.
Normal search is still king. Using Cortana is slower and just feels weird. It's a cool feature but I don't see it being mainstream in a desktop environment. Seems better suited for mobile devices.
 

amddragonpc

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That's it, I think MS should release a payed for Windows 10 OS with no browsers, no file managers, no antivrus, no firewall, no search, no built in drivers and no programs. /s Pretty much that is what all these folks here that do not like Windows 10 should get. Oh, and no desktop manager at all. Figure out how to install programs all on your own for once.

Does it come without a NIC? I'll buy that. :D
 

Spidey329

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Yes there needs to be more controls here. But Cortana is pretty slick and I honestly think that this kind of stuff is the future. Ultimately people want computers to do more and make things easier.

Cortana could be useful if it can do stuff without taking the focus. For example, if I'm working in a CAD modeling program and asked Cortana what 276mm was in inches (example of course) and got an answer without ever leaving the app or what I was doing, that'd be useful. Same, if I was able to assign it to hotkeys so I could simply tell it to "Magic Wand" in Photoshop without every moving my hands.

Not sure if it can do that or not.
 

heatlesssun

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Cortana could be useful if it can do stuff without taking the focus. For example, if I'm working in a CAD modeling program and asked Cortana what 276mm was in inches (example of course) and got an answer without ever leaving the app or what I was doing, that'd be useful. Same, if I was able to assign it to hotkeys so I could simply tell it to "Magic Wand" in Photoshop without every moving my hands.

Not sure if it can do that or not.

You can get unit conversions as you mentioned here without losing focus. You do have to close the Cortana bar manually by clicking the close "X". But you're pointing out what's cool about it. You can ask Cortana all kinds of things like this, a simple math problem, what day a holiday is one, etc. It's plenty useful. I get that some do not like it but yeah, it's well beyond just getting in the way.
 

heatlesssun

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What are these other OSes you are referring to that are doing the same thing now? Windows 8 was incorporating elements of tablet and mobile phone computing. Apple and Tim Cook have expressly said they are not incorporating elements of tablet/mobile with desktop/laptop. Android doesn't seem to be. Chrome OS is incorporating elements of Android, but it is a browser OS that is incorporating elements of a mobile OS. Google is working on yet another OS. And you have "long said" Linux couldn't support your many Surface platforms. Are you referring to an OS that you have said many times cannot support modern hardware? Do you run anything but Windows?

Microsoft was late to the personal assistant game. Apple, Google, and Amazon came first. Even Ubuntu beat Microsoft to the unified web and local search, and it was not well received even before Cortana was a glimmer in Microsoft's eye.

The iPad Pro is a Surface Pro ripoff. They added split screen to iOS 9. You pointed out what Google is doing with Chrome. macOS is adding Siri. Linux can't even support my sig rig. Beyond gaming, just the damned gadgets on new PCs, the motherboard lighting and monitoring is supported under Linux. For every grievance that one would make of Windows, there's at least one that would be exchanged for desktop Linux. Linux does things differently, there is more control over things. And with that comes substantially less support for anything new.
 

heatlesssun

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Siri on macOS is a "desktop" version of Siri.

Like Windows 10?

Adding split screen to iOS is adding a feature to a mobile OS.

But multitasking is a desktop experience. Why add a desktop feature to a mobile OS?

Apple and Tim Cook say they are keeping iOS and macOS separate - one is "desktop" and one is mobile. Are you saying Apple and Tim Cook are lying? I'm saying the only one really doing "one Windows," so to speak, is Microsoft. Tell me: am I right or wrong? Be direct and quit dodging, avoiding, and redefining.

Is that really more than I won't copying a competitor until I will? Apple is well known for that.

The iPad Pro couldn't do for you what the Surface Pro does for you. It isn't trying to. It is a bigger iPad with a keyboard cover and stylus included. Things that were available third party for iPads already.

Not really. The Apple Pen is true digital pen with support at the OS level.
 

heatlesssun

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There is no such thing as desktop versus mobile Cortana in Windows. There is a macOS Siri and an iOS Siri. That's the whole point.

There is definitely a difference if for no other reason Cortana isn't full screen on the desktop.

Multitasking is not a desktop feature. Multitasking is a computing feature and has existed since the dawn of computing. It used to be emulated as task switching. Nothing new.

Absolutely not true, not from a UI. The first PCs didn't have it.

If you really think the iPad Pro is the same as a Surface Pro, I will buy an iPad Pro, swap it for your Surface Pro, restrict you to working on the iPad Pro and I'll only work on the Surface Pro, and we'll see which of us can actually go through a work week and be similarly productive.

I have a Surface Pro 3 and Surface Book so I know these devices aren't the same. But the point of the iPad Pro was certainly aimed at those markets.

You've got a very few number of arguments. This is your "everybody else is doing it" argument. Except here, everyone else is not doing it. It is a differentiator for Microsoft and Windows which you've embraced. You should be proud of it and not ashamed of it.

Yes, everyone else is doing some type of convergence. Convergence is natural force in tech.
 

heatlesssun

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Someone needs to read The Mother of All Demos - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Multics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and Computer multitasking - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia to see how long multitasking has been around.

Every facet of human pursuit takes ideas from other places. However, Microsoft is clearly taking a different tact than it's competitors. (It's the whole basis of competition, after all) I can't help you if you can't see the differences and think that Windows is the same as macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and iOS, Android, Chrome OS, Linux, etc. Just the fact that Microsoft has Windows while Apple has watchOS, tvOS, iOS, and macOS should say something about their different approaches.

Not sure where you're coming from. I know that multitasking has been around for a long time. The first PCs didn't have it though, not the TRS-80s, Apple IIs or VIC-20s, particularly at the UI level. Windowed UI multitasking was a later event. All I was saying is that Microsoft put a good multitasking OS on tablets and is well ahead in that area today.
 

HoffY

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Then what would ever be the point of people buying new computers with a static feature set?
I know i'm wasting my time with this Apologist. But i suppose you're the kind of person that buys a new phone and just loves all that bloatware crap that slows it down... all because they are "new features"?

Just stop with your endless excusing for MS. We don't care. WE want choice. We always have. If you want to waste your development hours on useless crap that only makes marketing bullet points and then force users to just accept that its going to "revolutionize" our lives and not allow us to turn that crap off PROPERLY or uninstall/remove it FULLY.

Then you can EAD. And you clearly have no sense and as such your comments are tireless moot!
 

STrAYeR

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I usually do the end process and rename to .old. Will remember this.
 

Galvin

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Its getting to the point where 3rd party programs will have to alter parts of the OS to disable things. Its just a matter of time before MS disables the reg key for cortana.
 

ManofGod

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I know i'm wasting my time with this Apologist. But i suppose you're the kind of person that buys a new phone and just loves all that bloatware crap that slows it down... all because they are "new features"?

Just stop with your endless excusing for MS. We don't care. WE want choice. We always have. If you want to waste your development hours on useless crap that only makes marketing bullet points and then force users to just accept that its going to "revolutionize" our lives and not allow us to turn that crap off PROPERLY or uninstall/remove it FULLY.

Then you can EAD. And you clearly have no sense and as such your comments are tireless moot!

I know I am wasting my time with this hater but, I suppose you are the kind of person that buys Windows 3.1 computers because of your paranoia. :D ;) Just stop with your hatred of everything Microsoft, no one cares. We want stuff that works and works well with options that we can use or simply ignore.

Then you can get on with your life. Your tireless hatred has no sense and your comments are tireless moot! /s ;) :D I am simply amazed, but not surprised, that someone is called an apologist by someone that seems incapable of reading all that the person says. Nope, they only see that someone likes something they do not and goes off accusing them of being an apologist. :rolleyes: From what I have read of his posts, he has always agreed for more control but he has also made good points of what is available and how good the new stuff can be.

Me? I could not care less one way or the other. If you want more control, use the Microsoft feedback app because, as I am sure you already know, Microsoft probably does not read these forums.
 

nightfly

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I don't know who the person is at Microsoft that decides people like things forced on them but that person needs to knock that crap off. Everything, not just Cortana, should have a way to be disabled without having to resort to registry edits.
As near as I can figure, Microsoft created the registry and all it's complexity because they didn't want end users to have the ability to make changes which Microsoft didn't want them to. We had become accustomed to reading and editing our autoexec.bat, config.sys, win.ini and system.ini files whenever we wanted to. Microsoft and the other software vendors didn't like that. They wanted something that they could adjust, that the end user couldn't 'undo'. Like hidden insertions that re-activate stuff you don't want activated (like microsoft's very own 'update'), and turning on all sorts of stuff you don't want turned on, but it keeps activating itself because the end user isn't allowed to know where in the registry those activation lines are written. You know, like hide which programs start processes along with windows at startup, what programs are sending information back to 'the mother ship' without the end user knowing about it, and, of course, removing any way for a customer to remove records of what they have done in the past that the corporations might want to know about some time later (did you ever try their software before? Didn't like it, so you removed it; then, years later, they come out with a new version, but because you had previously used up your 'trial' use, you can't do it again. That information is stored somewhere in your registry. But YOU can't find it. It's conveniently hidden from you. Everything gets hidden away in the huge registry, and sometimes I wonder if even microsoft knows where it all is. Why do I wonder this? Because of windows rot. Time and time again, some things go wrong with windows, and it seems no one is able to fix it. The only cure is to wipe everything clean, and start over. The quickest one I can think of, is the rendering of picture files in a folder, which slowly stops them from showing up as thumbnails. Eventually, you click on the folder, and you get a hodge podge of some thumbnails, some icons, even some blank spaces; the grey line going across the top of the window very slowly creeps along to the end, and it seems that the computer just gives up trying to read the files. There's nothing wrong with the folder, or the files, because other computers can read it and render the thumbnails just fine. But something in windows goes rotten, and no one seems to understand how to fix it. That's only one example. I'm sure there are plenty of others. All because the information of what does what and where, is hidden away, never to be found.

Did the edit to the registry and it works like a charm. Basic search on Windows 10 is all I need.
Yes, we can do that. But normal people should be able to do it too, without having to learn how to edit the registry. It's called being user friendly. And there's no reason why Microsoft cannot make it this way, if they gave a shit about their customers. Which, they don't. They have a virtual monopoly. They don't have to. Somehow, they got around the anti-trust laws, and now have so much market share, that it doesn't matter anymore.
 
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