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Cortana - they removed the off switch!

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Yes in the latest update to Windows they don't let you switch snoopy Cortana off.  But why would anyone want it off because - as we're told - it is simply there to help us organise our busy lives?  Well... even supposing I was happy with yet another US mega-corporation being custodian of all my data, it takes up valuable memory on machines with factory limited RAM where I need to have some say in what that RAM is used for (and this isn't Microsoft bloat!).

In order to get the thing off your task-bar you now have to -gasp- edit the Windows Registry.  This isn't as risky as all the pundits would have you believe (unless you are a total fool). But please note that this simple guide is for the usual Windows Home editions and not intended for "Pro" versions of Windows.

First thing to do is to turn off some of the intrusive stuff:

Windows Key + i to get to the SettIngs.

Select the Privacy sectction then in the switches to the right turn everything off. (Actually I leave the "Let websites provide locally relevant content by..." on, as it of some use to me, but everything else is a cheeky intrusion.)

Now it's time to carefully edit the Windows Registry...

  • Windows key + r then type regedit into the command window and hit the OK button.
  • You'll need to give the admin level program the go ahead as normal.
  • Click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE then SOFTWARE then Policies then Microsoft
  • If there's a Windows Search category under Microsoft here then you need to use that, but it's more than probable that you'll need to create one by the Edit menu: Edit --> New -> Key
  • Make sure you are creating this new key in the correct place ie. under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Policies/Microsoft by checking this in the status bar at the bottom of the Regedit window.
  • Now you need to create a value called AllowCortana by Edit menu: Edit --> New --> DWORD (32 bit) Value.
  • The default value of this DWORD of zero (0x00000000 (0)) is just what you need, so you are done!
  • Reboot (Restart) the machine and Cortana will no longer appear of your task-bar and bother you again.


Note: I created this simple tutorial as a future reminder to myself, but I hope it's useful to others and welcome comments.



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