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How to Enable and/or Disable Cortana on your Windows PC

Cortana
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Let’s check out how to enable (and disable) Cortana on a Windows PC after the initial setup.

Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, etc.

It can help in booking meetings, sending emails, searching locations, finding rides, etc.

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However, there are people on both sides of the fence.


Jack: Cortana didn’t seem like a good idea while setting up my Windows computer. But after a few weeks, I wanted to try it, only to find it nowhere.
Denisse: I was very excited to use Cortana to boost my productivity. But I was hardly using it. I tried to remove it, but I don’t know how.

Enabling (or Disabling) Cortana

So we are here to help both groups and see how to enable/disable Cortana. While it seems a standard feature to turn it off or on, it’s not available in Windows settings or anything similar.

It involves group policy or registry editing, which you’ll easily do after this tutorial.

Let’s get started.

Please remember that this will work for personal computers with admin privileges. And you should consult your system administrator for any issues if your PC is part of a business network.

Using Group Policy Editor

Open Windows Run by pressing ⊞+R, type gpedit.msc, and press enter.

enabling cortana from local group policy

Next, navigate to Computer Configuration>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Search>Allow Cortana.

enabling cortana

Finally, choose Enabled/Disabled, click Apply, then press OK.

allow cortana from local group policy

Using Registry Editor

Enabling Cortana is even easier from the registry editor.

First, type regedit in the Windows run and press enter. Then navigate to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search.

Alternatively, use the above path in the registry editor and hit enter to land there directly:

enabling cortana from registry editor

Subsequently, double-click over AllowCortana, change the Value data from 0 to 1 to activate it and press OK. To disable Cortana, change this value to 0 and click OK.

Bottom Line

This article aimed to enable or disable Cortana after the initial Windows setup. You can do this by Group policy or registry editing.

Cortana can help in getting little things done with ease. Still, many users avoid these digital personal assistants citing various reasons, including privacy.

But there is no denying these robo assistants are far from ideal, and it’ll be interesting to see how they shape the future of voice search.

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