If you don’t like Cortana, you can temporarily or permanently disable it, and uninstall Cortana completely in Windows 11.
Cortana is Microsoft’s cloud-based digital assistant that helps users use voice commands. Since Windows 8.1, it has been an integral part of the Windows operating system. You can use Cortana to find files, folders, and applications on your PC, track calendars, set reminders, search for queries on the web, configure computer settings, and more.
Default search engine in Windows 11
Many people are not big fans of Cortana and find it more annoying than help. Although Cortana is a custom feature, in most cases it will not find effective results for the user’s search. Also, it will collect information about your habits, location, calendar entries, search history, email, etc., and store it on a cloud server. Most importantly, it will consume system resources and slow it down. So Microsoft decided to remove Cortana from the startup experience and taskbar in Windows 11.
It is no longer the default search engine in Windows 11, but just an app. Although it comes pre-installed with the Windows 11 operating system, it is inactive by default. Although Microsoft no longer tries to force people to use Cortana, it will still start with the system and run in the background of Windows 11, waiting to be called.
Microsoft’s virtual assistant
Whether you think Microsoft’s virtual assistant violates your privacy, or it is just another piece of bloat that you don’t use and want to get rid of, you can disable/remove Cortana on your PC. In this tutorial, we will show you how to temporarily or permanently disable and completely uninstall Cortana in Windows 11.
Disable Cortana From Startup (Temporarily) in Windows 11
By default, Cortana starts automatically when you start the system. If you don’t want Cortana to run before you manually open it, you can disable it so that it won’t start in Windows.
First open the Windows 11 settings, select the “Applications” tab on the left, and then click the “Applications and Features” option on the right.
On the “Applications and Features” page, scroll down the list of applications, click the three-dot menu next to the “Cortana” application, and select “Advanced Options.”
On the Cortana application page, scroll down and uncheck the “Run at login” option. Restart the computer to confirm the change. Now, when your PC starts, the Cortana service will be disabled.
Disable Cortana From Startup via Task Manager
Alternatively, you can disable Cortana from the Start Application Settings page in Task Manager.
To do this, right-click the Windows Start button and select “Task Manager” from the menu bar, or simply press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to start the Windows Task Manager.
In the Task Manager, open the ‘Startup’ tab, right mouse click on ‘Cortana’ and select ‘Disable’ from the context menu.
You can still run Cortana manually whenever you want by searching for it in the Windows search bar or by pressing the Windows logo key+C.
Disable Cortana Through the App in Windows 11 (Temporarily)
If you don’t want to open Cortana by mistake, there is another safe way to temporarily disable Cortana. Cortana can sometimes be accidentally activated using voice commands or hotkeys. If you want to disable Cortana so that you can only activate it manually, you can follow these steps:
Open the Cortana application by searching in Windows Search and clicking the result.
Click the three-dot menu (···) from the top left-top corner, then select ‘Settings’.
In the “This Device” section, click the “Keyboard Shortcuts” option.
Then, disable the “Keyboard Shortcuts” option and restart the PC to apply the changes. This will prevent Cortana from accidentally activating using keyboard shortcuts.
Next, go back to the Settings page and select the ‘Microphone’ option this time.
Then, click the ‘Microphone Permissions’ settings link.
On the “Microphone permissions” page, scroll down the list of apps and turn off the “Cortana” switch to disable Cortana’s microphone access.
In most cases, when you disable microphone access, voice activation may also be disabled. If not, please return to the “Settings” page and select the “Voice Activation” option.
Next, click on the voice activation permission setting link.
On the voice activation permissions page, disable the button next to “Cortana”. Cortana will now not respond to the `Cortana` keyword.
Cortana will now not activate accidentally. But you can still run it manually from the application. When you want to use Cortana again, be sure to re-enable these permissions before performing this operation.
Disable Cortana Permanently via Windows Registry
If you don’t like Cortana at all and want to disable it permanently, you can use the registry editor to turn Cortana off completely. When you disable Cortana through the Windows registry (regedit), even if you try to run it manually, you won’t be able to use the feature.
The Windows Registry is a powerful tool that can store the configuration of the Windows operating system. You should be careful when editing the Windows registry as abuse of it can make your system unstable or cause system crashes. Therefore, we recommend that you create a system restore point before editing the Windows registry so that you can revert to previous settings in case of a problem. Follow the steps below to edit the Windows registry:
First, open the Run command by right-clicking the Windows icon and selecting “Run” from the context menu or by pressing Win + R.
Type regedit in the run command, then press Enter.
Alternatively, you can also search for ‘Registry editor’ in the Windows Search and open it from the result.
In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following directory:
Or you can simply copy and paste the above folder path in the address bar of the Registry Editor and press Enter.
Then, right-click the ‘Windows Search’ folder, select ‘New’, and select ‘DWORD (32-bit) Value’.
Next, name the new file “AllowCortana”.
Then, double-click the ‘AllowCortana file’ to open it, and make sure Base is set to ‘Hexadecimal’ and Value data is set to ‘0’. Then, select ‘OK’.
If you don’t see the ‘Windows Search’ folder under the Windows directory, then do this:
Right-click the ‘Windows’ directory, select ‘New’ and select the ‘Key’ option.
Next, rename the newly created key (New Key #1) to “Windows Search” as shown below.
Then right-click on the “Windows Search” folder, select “New” and then select “DWORD Value (32-bit)”. Then name the new file “AllowCortana” and set the value data to “0” as shown above. Restart your PC to apply the changes.
Now even if you try to run Cortana manually, it will display the message Cortana disabled as shown below.
If you decide to re-enable Cortana, go back to the Registry Editor, navigate to the same folder as above, and set the value data for “AllowCortana” to “1”.
Disable Cortana Permanently via Group Policy Editor
Another way to completely disable Cortana is to access the Local Group Policy Editor in Windows 11. To completely close Cortana through the Local Group Policy Editor:
First, press Win + R to open the run command. Then type gpedit. msc in the box and then press Enter to open the local group policy editor.
Or, you can type gpedit.msc in the Windows search bar and open it from the result.
Next, navigate to the following settings using the left-hand navigation bar:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search
Then, double-click on the ‘Allow Cortana’ setting in the right pane as shown below.
Then, set the Allow Cortana settings to ‘Disabled’, click ‘Apply’ and select ‘OK’.
Now you can close the Group Policy Editor and restart the computer. If you want to re-enable Cortana, go back to the same settings as above (Allow Cortana) and change the setting to “Not configured” or “Enabled.”
Uninstall Cortana from Windows 11
Although Cortana is now just an application, Microsoft still does not allow users to uninstall it like other native applications. However, if you decide to get rid of Cortana entirely, you can do so with the help of PowerShell commands.
To uninstall Cortana, you must first open Windows PowerShell in Windows Terminal as administrator. To do this, right-click on the “Start” icon and select “Windows Terminal (Administrator)” from the context menu.
You can also directly open Windows PowerShell with admin privilege.
To uninstall Cortana only for the current user, copy and paste the following command and press Enter:
Get-AppxPackage *Microsoft.549981C3F5F10* | Remove-AppxPackage
To remove Cortana for all users, enter the following command and press Enter:
Get-AppxPackage -allusers Microsoft.549981C3F5F10 | Remove-AppxPackage
Now, Cortana will be completely uninstalled from your Windows 11 PC.
How to Reinstall Cortana in Windows 11
If you want to use Cortana again, you can restore it to your Windows 11 at any time. Recovering Cortana in Windows 11 is much easier than disabling or uninstalling it. You can easily download and install it from the Microsoft Store at any time. The method is as follows:
Open the Microsoft Store by searching for Microsoft Store in the Windows search bar. In the Microsoft Store, search for “Cortana” in the search field and select the Cortana app from the results.
Then, click the ‘Free’ or ‘Install’ button on the Cortana page. Wait for the app to download and install. Once the digital assistant is installed, you can use it again.