Cortana is Microsoft’s cloud-based digital assistant that assists users with their voice commands. It has been an integral part of the Windows operating system since Windows 8.1. You can use Cortana to find files, folders, and apps on your PC, keep track of calendars, set reminders, search queries on the web, configure computer settings, and a lot more.
Many people aren’t huge fans of Cortana and finding it to be more annoying than helpful. Even though Cortana is a personalized feature, most of the time it fails to find valid results for users’ search. Plus, it collects information about your habits, your location, your calendar entries, your search history, your email, and more and stores it on a cloud server. On top of that, it sucks up system resources and can slow down your system. So Microsoft decided to remove Cortana from the boot-up experience and the taskbar in Windows 11.
It is no longer the default search engine in Windows 11 but rather just an app. Although it is pre-installed with Windows 11 operating system, it’s not active by default. Even though Microsoft no longer tries to force people to use Cortana, it still starts up with the system and runs in the background in Windows 11, waiting to be called upon.
Whether you think Microsoft’s virtual assistant invades your privacy or it’s 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’ll show you how to temporarily or permanently disable as well as fully uninstall Cortana in Windows 11.
Disable Cortana From Startup (Temporarily) in Windows 11
By default, Cortana starts up automatically when you boot your system. If you don’t want Cortana to run until you activate it manually, you can disable it from starting with Windows.
First, open Windows 11 Settings, select the ‘Apps’ tab from the left, and then click on the ‘Apps & features’ option on the right.
In the Apps & features page, scroll down the list of apps, click on the three-dotted menu next to the ‘Cortana’ app, and select ‘Advanced options’.
On the Cortana app page, scroll down and turn off the toggle under the ‘Runs at log-in’ option. Restart your computer to confirm the changes. Now, the Cortana service will be disabled when your PC starts up.
Disable Cortana From Startup via Task Manager
Alternatively, you can also disable Cortana from the Startup apps settings page in the Task Manager.
For that, right-click the Windows Start button and select ‘Task Manager’ from the menu bar, or just press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to launch 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)
There’s also another safe way to disable Cortana temporarily if you don’t want to activate it by mistake. Sometimes, Cortana can be activated accidentally using voice commands or shortcut keys. If you want to disable Cortana so it can only be activated manually, you can follow these steps:
Open the Cortana app by searching for it in Windows search and clicking on the result.
Click the three-dot menu (···) from the top left-top corner, then select ‘Settings’.
Under the ‘This device’ section, click the ‘Keyboard shortcut’ option.
Then, turn off the ‘Keyboard shortcut’ toggle and restart your PC to apply the changes. This will prevent Cortana from activating by mistake using the keyboard shortcut.
Next, go back to the Settings page and select the ‘Microphone’ option this time.
Then, click the ‘Microphone Permissions’ settings link.
On the Microphone permission page, scroll down the appl list and turn off the ‘Cortana’ toggle to disable the Microphone access to Cortana.
Most of the time, when you disable Mic access, Voice Activation is also probably disabled. If not, go back to the Settings page and select the ‘Voice activation’ option.
Then, click the ‘Voice activation permission’ settings link.
On the Voice activation permission page, turn off the toggle next to ‘Cortana’. Now, Cortana won’t respond to the ‘Cortana’ keyword.
Now, Cortana won’t be activated accidentally. But you can still run it manually from the apps. When you want to use Cortana again, make sure to re-enable these permissions before you do.
Disable Cortana Permanently via Windows Registry
If you don’t like Cortana at all and want to permanently disable the feature, you can use the Registry Editor to completely turn off Cortana. When you disable Cortana via Windows Registry (regedit), you won’t be able to use the feature even when you try to run it manually.
Windows Registry is a powerful tool that stores settings for the Windows operating system and you must be careful while editing the Windows Registry since misusing it can render your system unstable or cause it to crash. So, we recommend you create a System Restore point before you edit the Windows Registry, so you can roll back to previous settings if something goes wrong. Follow the below steps to edit 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 the ‘Windows Search’ folder, select ‘New’, and select ‘DWORD (32-bit) Value’. Then, name the new file “AllowCortana” and set the Value data to ‘0’ as we showed above. Restart your PC to apply changes.
Now, even if you try to run Cortana manually, it will show you Cortana is disabled message as shown below.
If you decided to re-enable Cortana, go back to the registry editor, navigate to the same above folder, and set the Value data of ‘AllowCortana’ to ‘1’.
Disable Cortana Permanently via Group Policy Editor
Another way you can fully disable Cortana is by accessing the Local Group Policy Editor in Windows 11. To Turn off Cortana completely via Local Group Policy Editor:
First, open the Run command by pressing Win + R. Then, type gpedit.msc into the box and 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’.
You can now close the Group Policy Editor and restart your computer. If you want to re-enable Cortana, return to the same above setting (Allow Cortana), and change the setting to ‘Not Configured’ or ‘Enabled’.
Uninstall Cortana from Windows 11
Although Cortana is only an app now, Microsoft still doesn’t allow users to uninstall it like other native apps. However, if you decided to get rid of Cortana for good, you can do it with the help of PowerShell commands.
To uninstall Cortana, first, you need to open Windows PowerShell in Windows Terminal as administrator. To do that, right-click on the Start icon and select ‘Windows Terminal (Admin)’ 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 get it back on your Windows 11 any time you want. Restoring Cortana in Windows 11 is much easier than disabling or uninstalling it. You can easily download and install it from Microsoft Store, whenever you want. Here’s how:
Open Microsoft Store by searching for Microsoft Store in the Windows search bar. In Microsoft Store, search for “Cortana” in the search field and select the Cortana app from the result.
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.