Are you using Cortana, Microsoft’s smart virtual assistant integrated into Windows 11? If its presence bothers you, you can hide it or even disable it.
- How to disable Cortana via Windows 11 settings?
- How to completely disable Cortana with Registry Editor?
Cortana is the “intelligent” virtual assistant from Microsoft. Similar to Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant, it first appeared on Windows Phone – Microsoft’s now-discontinued mobile operating system – before coming standard in Windows 11. Like other virtual assistants, it works by voice, allows you to get various information (weather, meetings listed in the calendar, etc.) by searching if necessary for answers online or record memos, send emails or note appointments.
To work optimally, Cortana collects several pieces of information related to your activities and your Microsoft account: geographic and common locations, Bing search history, interests, contacts, appointments, communications, from certain apps ( health, sports, etc.). This curiosity can be limited in Windows settings, but if you don’t like this intrusive character, you can disable it if your PC doesn’t have a microphone or you never use this assistant. A complete uninstall is not recommended because the process is complicated and Cortana is a basic Windows component.
How to disable Cortana via Windows 11 settings?
If the presence of Cortana bothers you, you can disable it by adjusting various settings in Windows 11.
- Click the Cortana button (the circle icon) in the taskbar to open the wizard window.
- In the Cortana window, click on the Settings gear icon.
- In the Talk to Cortana options window, uncheck all the switches to disable the options.
- Then, in the left-hand menu, click on the Permissions section.
- First, check if Cortana is linked to your Microsoft account. If it is, click on your account.
- In the window that appears, click Sign out under your account line.
- Back in the Permissions window, click the Manage information that Cortana can access from this device link.
- Uncheck all the switches in this window to turn them off.
- When everything is off, click the Home icon to the left of the window name to return to the Windows Settings home.
- In Windows Settings, open the Privacy section.
- In the left-hand menu, select Handwritten input and customize input. In the right window, uncheck the switch in the Get to know you section to turn it off.
- Then select the Voice section in the left-hand menu. Uncheck the switch in the Online Voice Recognition section to turn it off. Be careful, if you are using voice recognition for anything other than Cortana (such as text dictation), do not turn the option off.
- Finally, right-click on the taskbar and uncheck the Show Cortana button option in the context menu.
After completing all these steps, Cortana will be hidden and will not bother you anymore. The assistant will not be uninstalled but only rendered inoperative.
How to completely disable Cortana on Windows 11 with Registry Editor?
If you want a more radical solution, faster but more risky, you can use the Registry Editor to disable Cortana on Windows 11. Be careful, this manipulation is not recommended if you are a computer novice.
- In the Start menu, navigate to the Windows Administrative Tools section. Unroll it and click on the Registry Editor shortcut.
- If you can’t find the icon, type the words Regedit.exe in the Windows search field and then click on the shortcut icon.
- In the editor window, browse to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows directory and check to see if it contains a folder called Windows Search.
If the Windows Search folder does not exist
- Right-click on the Windows folder. On the context menu, select New, then Key.
- Rename the new Windows Search key.
- Right-click on the Windows Search key folder you created. From the context menu, select New and then select 32-bit DWord Value.
- Enter AllowCortana as the name of this new value.
- Close the registry editor, then restart your computer.
If the Windows Search folder exists
- Right-click on the AllowCortana value and then click on Edit.
- Enter 0 in the Value data field. Then click on OK.
- Close the Registry Editor and restart your computer.
In both cases, Cortana will be completely disabled after the restart and will no longer appear. However, it will still be installed.