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Can I completely disable Cortana on Windows 10?

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Windows 10 has Cortana, which I don't like. I disabled it as soon as I could. However, looking in Task Manager, the process for Cortana is still running, and can't be effectively terminated: ending the task simply results in the process respawning a few seconds later. Using the command

taskkill /IM Cortana.exe /F

has the same result: the process respawns.

Is there any way to disable Cortana so that the process doesn't keep running in the background, and doesn't respawn if terminated?

asked Nov 17, 2016 by ArtOfCode  

2 Answers

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Apparently, this trick stopped working at some point. I've used @Meferdati's link at some point successfully: winaero: how to uninstall Cortona. It contains a script that does all the work for you, as well as an explanation of how it works.

Below are the steps I've been using, which are very similar to @MC10's answer, except I've always had to "TakeOwn" to get permissions and I move my files to a different folder:

  1. add TakeOwn to the context menu or (use takeown from the command line).
  2. Navigate to C:\Windows
  3. Create folder SystemApps.bak
  4. Use Takeown to gain ownership of c:\windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy
  5. (Gain ownership of anything else you want to move)
  6. Cut/Paste the folder(s) from SystemApps to SystemApps.bak
  7. When the "Permissions" pop-up appears, switch to Task Manager
  8. Kill SearchUI.exe process
  9. Switch back and give permission to move the folder

The folder is now in SystemsApps.bak - and you can simply move it back if the need arises.


First disable it, then uninstall the Cortana app.

Disable it in the search settings:

  1. Click the search icon/box in the bottom left
  2. click the gear on the left bar
  3. Click off next to Cortana/Web Searches

    enter image description here

Then uninstall it, as listed here:

In elevated PowerShell:

Get-AppxPackage | Select Name, PackageFullName
Remove-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_1.4.8.176_neutral_neutral_cw5n1h2txyewy

This is similar to MC10's answer, except that I'm sure the OS will be more accepting of uninstalling it via the "proper channels" (powershell) instead of renaming the folder.

Windows has fixed it so now you cannot remove "...Cortana_1.6.1.52_ ...". When this is attempted it states this is part of Windows now and cannot be removed. I guess I will go back to renaming the folder.

I'm using the same uninstall to remove other "features" like BingNews, BingSports, Etc

Edit: Likewise, you can remove the "Provisioned" applications (aka: crap that gets installed per user) via this method

Get-AppxProvisionedPackage -Online | Select DisplayName, PackageName
Remove-AppxProvisionedPackage  Microsoft.ZuneMusic_2019.6.11821.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe

Or... to remove ALL Apps that you can, app or provisionedapp, you can do this:

Just a warning: This will uninstall the Windows Store. That's not an issue for me, but uninstalling everything isn't for the faint of heart.

Get-AppxPackage | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxProvisionedPackage -Online | Remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -online

As mentioned in comments, it's probably wise not to completely remove the Windows Store. I haven't tried this yet, but this (in the comments) looks to be ballpark of what I'd use:

Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers | where-object {$ –notlike "*store*"} | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-appxprovisionedpackage –online | where-object {$_.packagename –notlike "*store*"} | Remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -online

Further resource: Delete Windows 10 Apps and Restore Default Windows 10 Apps

answered Nov 17, 2016 by WernerCD  
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Disclaimer: Please see WernerCD's answer for an improved method. This will break the search bar/Start search.

After playing around with it a bit, and I think I found a method.

Open Task Manager and have it show More details. Right click on Cortana and select Open file location.

Task Manager

Now find the Cortana folder, right click it, and select Rename. I would recommend just adding ".bak" to the end of the folder name so you can find it easily if you want to restore it back to it's original status.


If you attempt to rename, it will tell you that the folder is in use.

Folder In Use

This is when you want to go back to Task Manager, right click on Cortana, and select End task.

End task

Right after the task ends, switch back to the Folder In Use window and click Try Again. The folder should be renamed and the Cortana task will not start again.

answered Nov 17, 2016 by MC10