How to Silence Cortana in Windows 10
If you’re running Windows 10 with the Anniversary Update or newer, please skip these instructions and click here.
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, she’s the manifestation of Microsoft’s Siri Evny. Siri is Apple’s version of a personal digital assistant – but 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 your can’t turn Cortana off, that Microsoft didn’t give users the option to turn Cortana off because Microsoft wants to spy on everyone all of the time. However, the truth is that Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Siri and if Cortana is a spy tool on Windows, then Siri must be a spy tool on Apple devices. Actually Siri is Siri and Cortana is Cortana and 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 it doesn’t. I’m going to assume that it does turn off Cortana. How about you?
You will have to edit the registry in order to turn off Cortana. The Anniversary Edition did away with any easy ways to turn off Cortana.
We’re going to make it easy for you to disable Cortana by changing the registry by downloading our Disable Cortana registry hack. Just download this .zip file, and open it. Then double-click on the “Disable Cortana.reg” file, and agree to add the information to your registry.
We have also included in the .zip file, an “Enable Cortana.reg” file, just in case you change your mind and decide you want to re-enable Cortana.
You’ll need to restart your computer before the changes will take effect.