Don’t like Cortana? Here’s how to shut her up….

By | August 7, 2015
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Don’t like Cortana? Here’s how to shut her up…

Those of you who have Windows 10 know who/what Cortana is — she’s supposedly your digital personal assistant. She can tell you the weather, answer questions, give you directions, and help you find whatever you’re looking for. But really, what she really is, is yet another manifestation of Microsoft’s Siri Envy. For those who don’t have an Apple device, Siri is Apple’s version of a personal digital assistant; she has been around almost 3 years longer than Cortana.

When Apple announced Siri – the digital personal assistant, Apple-o-philes ran amok with delight. When Microsoft released Windows 10 with Cortana – the digital personal assistant – the conspiracy theorist ran amok. So now we’ve supposed to believe that Microsoft is somehow in cahoots with the government or the NSA or some other nefarious organization and Cortana is the Wicked Witch of the Windows 10. Nothing but a sneaky way for Microsoft to spy on its users.

Yawn. We heard conspiracy theories about Windows XP too; everyone forgot about them because none of them were true.

But worse than speculation is that you can’t turn Cortana off – that Microsoft didn’t give users the option to turn Cortana off because Microsoft wants to spy on users. But he truth is:  Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Siri and if Cortana is a spy tool on Windows, then, logically, Siri must be a spy tool on Apple devices. In the real world, though, Siri is Siri and Cortana is Cortana.  You can turn Cortana off and it’s not hard to do.

First click Start then find Settings, then click on Privacy:

In the Privacy dialog, click on “Speech, inking & typing”

Under “Getting to know you” click the “Stop getting to know me” button.

Read the information above highlighted in green: “Turning this off also TURNS OFF DICTATION AND CORTANA and clears what this device knows about you.”  This device being your computer, tablet, or Smart phone; Windows 10 works on all three. (Emphasis – all caps – was added by us.)

So now, as clear as that is, someone, somewhere is going to say “that does NOT turn off Cortana” – It won’t matter that it says it will turn off Cortana, they’ll find a way to prove that it doesn’t.

More on Windows 10 and your privacy coming up…

It does seem that Microsoft is going off the deep end with this getting to know you stuff – getting to know your voice and writing style and collecting calendar events, speech, etc. Apple has been doing this for years, but no one thinks Apple is a division of the NSA. And if you don’t like Microsoft collecting info about you – you can change your privacy settings so Microsoft won’t collect anything – or very little – about you. We’ll be following this article up with more about how to shore up your privacy settings in Windows 10.



27 thoughts on “Don’t like Cortana? Here’s how to shut her up….

  1. Marian Fern

    Apparently we have to wait until hey Australianise her voice as she has trouble with the accent.
    Lord knows how she will cope with the dozens of dialects in the UK.
    Many thanks for the instructions on how remove Windows 10, and how to personalise the home page. Just wish they had arrived in the opposite manner. I removed Windows 10 because I hated Microsoft Edge, then read your instructions on how to change it!!!

    1. Rob

      what accent? everyone knows Aussies don’t have accents – we leave it up to the rest of the world to change their attitude to agree with us.

  2. A_Hippy_Hillbillie

    In today’s world, security & safety are of the utmost importance, and because of such we have, albeit big brother & the eye[s] in the sky! With this in mind, [all] electronic devices collects & stores information. So, in essence, what will you cup of tea be; or if you prefer something different, that may well fit the bill as well. No doubt, Windows 10 has unequivocally made this transition. Let us just hope, it is for our best interests, and not just about making monies!!!
    TC & EB, thank you both for staying on top and sharing with us, the critical things to know and change in simplistic form[]s. Cheers to you both!

  3. Glenys

    Would have liked to try Cortana, but it isn’t available where I live in Australia!

    1. Jen

      You are so blessed not to have Cortana in your country.I wish we would trade places.Cortana is really a stupid annoying witch that wouldn’t go away.MS doesn’t even care that many are complaining about this witch Cortana,they don’t even care that people spend their hard earned money to buy a supposedly good phone only to realize they bought junk.

      1. infoave Post author

        I wonder how people would have felt had Microsoft done to their users what Apple did to iPhone users. Can you imagine MS slowing down Windows 7 computers so people would upgrade to Windows 10? And everyone loves Siri but hates Cortana. Do Apple users really think Siri is less invasive than Cortana?

        It’s OK to bash Microsoft – but let’s be fair about it.

  4. Lynn S.

    Siri? Cortana? Digital Assistant?
    Digital Secretary more lIke it. Sounds pretty sexist to me.
    Why not Sirian and Cortan so we can make HIM shut up! How ’bout it Apple and Microsoft? It’s the 21st century after all.
    Just sayin.

    1. infoave Post author

      Good point. Maybe Cortana is transsexual. Cortano ? Siro? Cipro?

  5. Shelia Hallmark

    Thanks for the info – I am going turn off Cortana. What does it have to be an “all or nothing”. I don’t like being tracked by Microsoft. Why can’t I simply still search for a document on my laptop without Cortana?

  6. Rosemary

    I hate this feature and can’t turn it off. I went to settings and to Cortana and turned off all her functions and she is still yapping at me – “Down arrow” “down arrow” Bad work, Microsoft, very bad!

    1. infoave Post author

      You can turn off Cortana, once and for all, via the registry. Most people don’t like mucking about in the registry, so we’ve created a zip file containing 2 REG keys – One to turn off (Disable) Cortana and one to turn on (Enable) Cortana. Download our Disable-Enable-Cortana zip file from here, and save it to your desktop. Unzip the file. You’ll have two files – one called Disable_Cortana and the other called Enable_Cortana (just in case you want to turn Cortana back on someday). Double-click on Disable_Cortana.reg . It will add a DWORD to the registry that will disable Cortana. In order for the change to take effect you’ll need to restart your computer.

      If you’re sure you’re never going to want Cortana, you can delete the zip file you downloaded. If you’re not sure, save the zip file in your downloads or documents folder. In order to enable Cortana, just unzip and double-click on Enable_Cortana.reg.

  7. Bop

    Why didn’t you proofread before publishing this? “Evny”? “Does ot”??

    1. infoave Post author

      I’m sorry – are proffreader were on an drunken bender the weak thsi was pubblished. She have sobered up onw, so ti shud bee much betters.

  8. Mary

    I hate Cortana, but love the ease of scrolling with two fingers. I just hate being INTERRUPTED BY CORTANA!!!!!!
    It is an awful busy body always looking over your shoulder saying, “hey’ can I help?”

  9. Theo

    What a rediculous idea this Cortana is, having this voice continually annoying the user and no simple switch to turn it off and also being linked to Bing which I do not like either.
    In the past I loved Microsoft and thoroughly dislike Apple, however unfortunately I think MS are loosing the plot, a bit like other great products like Nokia.

  10. Destructinator5678


  11. Tim Baker

    Cortana’s voice is so agitating and irritating. Sounds abrasive and is very disruptive. One of the worst things to ever come out of MS.

    1. infoave Post author

      She has other voices… including a male voice if you prefer…

  12. anna

    I hate Microsoft because of this trash Cortana. I dont want it at all. I simply trashed the computer with my hammer…

  13. Nadine Neilson

    Well it is now 2020 and I rebooted my PC and all these Cortana pop ups started. hundreds of them!. Took forever to figure out they were even cortana. took forever to turn this crap off. Not even sure I have succeeded. I wish to send Microsoft a bill for my time. I am SO ANGRY I will NEVER purchase a microsoft product again. I am pragmatic that all brands are tracking us but at least have the decency to ask permission and don’t get in my way. I wanted to smash my android phone before my husband figured it out, and now the computer. What happened to computers being a tool for increase productivity. Well done Anna I get it.

    1. infoave Post author

      You have malware installed. Cortana does not cause popups as you describe. So you need to have your computer cleaned and the malware, PUPs, and any other popup causing badware removed.

      If you have Windows 10 May 2020 Update (version 2004) you can completely remove Cortana from your computer. See this page.

      I think you’ll find you still have popups even with Cortana removed.


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