Okay, let’s be honest with ourselves. How often do we use Cortana on Windows 10? Well, I hardly remember the last time I deliberately wanted to use Cortana and make it do some work. I mostly used it for testing features and article purposes. Yes, Cortana is great and is getting feature-rich with every windows update. But, I don’t really think I want it on my PC. And, I want to completely uninstall it. Well, if you think the same and want it uninstalled then follow along with me. Here, I’ll show you how to disable and uninstall Cortana from your Windows 10 PC.
Now, before you dig into this guide, there is a caveat that I’d like to share. If you are thinking to completely uninstall Cortana from the core of Windows 10 then you’ll have to say goodbye to the Search Box. Cortana and Search box are tightly integrated. So, the Ctrl+S feature to search for apps and software will not work. However, there’s a workaround and alternative for this caveat.
The workaround for the above problem is to disable Cortana and not uninstall it. Disabling means Cortana will stop it’s functions but it will remain installed on Windows 10. That way you’ll have the search box working perfectly. But, if you’re so damn sure that you want to totally remove Cortana then there’s an alternative for the Start Menu and Search Box that I’ve shared below. I’ve applied the following guide on the latest Anniversary update. So, don’t worry if you’ve updated. Let’s dig in.
How to Disable Cortana on Windows 10
In order to disable Cortana, we’ll edit it’s Group policy. Now, if you’re a Windows 10 Home user then you’ll have to go through a few more step. And, if you’re a Pro or Enterprise user then it’s easy as cake. I’ll first show the step for the Pro & Enterprise user and then will cover it for the Home users.
Disabling Cortana on Windows 10 Pro & Enterprise
Windows 10 Pro & Enterprise already have the policy settings available for disabling Cortana. So, all you have to do is find the setting and disable it.
- Run gpedit.msc or search for it in the search box.
- Navigate to the following path – Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search. On the right under the Settings column, you’ll find Allow Cortana. Double-click on it.
- In the dialogue box set Disabled. And hit Apply and Ok.
- Restart your PC.
Disabling Cortana on Windows 10 Home
The Windows 10 Home users will have to edit the Registry in order to make this happen. I’d recommend you to create a restore point before starting. Here’ how you can do it.
- Open Registry Editor. Type Regedit in the search box.
- Navigate to the following path – HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Policies > Microsoft > Windows > Windows Search.
- Right-click on Windows Search and in the menu option go to New > Key. Name it WinSearch or anything similar.
- Right-click on the newly created key and in the menu go to New>DWORD. Name it AllowCortana.
- Right-click on it and hit Modify. Set the value of the D-WORD to 0 and hit Save.
- Restart your PC and Cortana must have disappeared.
However, it won’t disappear totally. You’ll still find Cortana’s process running in the background in Task Manager. Even if you kill the process, it will pop up again and start running. Well, that’s where the next part of our guide come in. If you’re unsatisfied with disabling it and if the process running in the background is bugging you then you should probably uninstall it.
How to Completely Uninstall Cortana on Windows 10
Well, enough of warnings and cons. Let’s talk about the positives. If you might be knowing, the SearchUI.exe is one of the major processes that send data back to Microsoft. Uninstalling Cortana will also stop SearchUI.exe from functioning the background. So, it’ll help in maintaining privacy and save your internet bandwidth. So, let’s dig in.
I first tried uninstalling Cortana using Powershell. According to WernerCD in this post, you can easily remove system app by uninstalling the packages. The process worked well in the previous builds, but, in the latest builds, Microsoft doesn’t allow you to do it (specifically for Cortana). However, you can remove other system apps like Bing News, Sports, Xbox and other using the process.
Although, a script developed by WinAero lets you uninstall Cortana like it never was on your PC. A big thanks to the developers who made the script. Download this zip file and extract it. It will contain .cmd script and WIMTweak tool which the script uses to uninstall Cortana. Right-click on the script and run it as administrator. The script will start uninstalling the packages related to Search and Cortana. After it’s been successfully uninstalled, restart your PC.
You just killed the terminator.
— Abhishek Macwan (@abmacwan) September 13, 2016
The Search Box Alternative
After you restart your PC, the search box will stop functioning. CTRL+S will no longer respond. Am not sure about the start menu, but, in my case, it works just fine. So now, if you’re thinking of a search box alternative then I recommend you the Start Menu alternative by ClassicShell.
There’s No Coming Back
Well, the so-called terminator won’t come back unless you made a system restore point or you are ready to re-install Windows 10. The Cortana packaged has been successfully removed. Do share your thoughts down in the comments. Or tweet me @abmacwan or @alltechflix.