(Pocket-lint) – Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Amazon Alexa. A digital voice assistant built right into Windows, which means you can just say “Hey, Cortana” for help when you need it.
For some though, the idea of having another device listening to your every word can be off-putting. Don’t worry because you can disable Cortana with relative ease.
It’s worth noting before we get started that Cortana isn’t enabled by default in Windows 11. So if you’re looking to disable it, you only have to worry about it in Windows 10.
How to Disable Cortana in Windows 10
One of the easiest ways to disable Cortana is to prevent it from loading when Windows does. You can choose which apps load when you turn on your PC, so disabling Cortana here will even prevent it from loading in the first place.
To do this, you must first open Task Manager. There are several ways to do this. You can press the Windows key on your keyboard and type “Task Manager” to find it, right-click on the taskbar and click to launch it, or use our favorite shortcut and follow these steps:
- Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC to launch task manager
- Look for the Startup tab and click on it
- Look in the list of apps and find Cortana
- Right click on Cortana and click disable
While you’re at it, we recommend turning off anything that you don’t use in your day-to-day activities that is essential for your work or play. Many sneaky apps you have installed will try to launch on startup, which can really slow down your computer’s startup time.
Disable via startup apps
You can also disable Cortana using the Starter apps system settings. To get there :
- Click the start button or press the Windows key and type “startup applications”
- Click Startup Applications System Settings
- Find Cortana in the list of startup apps
- Click on disable
It works in both Windows 10 and Windows 11, so you can disable any apps you don’t want to launch automatically with just a few clicks.
Disable Cortana from app settings
If you want to be doubly sure that Cortana is disabled, you can go to app settings and click a few buttons to disable Cortana.
- Click on the start button or press the Windows key on your keyboard
- Go to “all apps”
- Find Cortana on the list
- Right-click on Cortana and click “app settings” or “more settings”
- Look for settings that say “runs at login” and disable them
You may also see a setting for the microphone here, so you can disable Cortana’s access to your microphone.
How to Completely Uninstall Cortana
If disabling Cortana isn’t enough, you can always uninstall it. Alas, it’s not as simple as heading to the control panel and clicking on the add or remove programs settings. You need a little trickery to do this.
- Click the Start button or press the Windows key and type Powershell
- Right click on Windows Power shell and click “run as administrator”
- Once it runs, type Get-AppxPackage -allusers Microsoft.549981C3F5F10 | Remove-AppxPackage
- Press Enter
This will then remove Cortana from your system, except for some registry files. Deleting them may be too aggressive for most people, so we advise you to ignore them.
Written by Adrian Willings.