Stop Cortana Background Process in Task Manager

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Cortana is Microsoft’s digital voice assistant that comes pre-installed on Windows 10. And even if this feature is not for you, Microsoft doesn’t want you to disable it. You may notice that there is no dedicated option to disable Cortana. But, it’s not impossible though. This guide shows how you can completely disable Cortana and stop its background process in Task Manager.

Disable Cortana Completely in Windows 10

Windows 10 Home users can disable Cortana with the Registry Editor tool, and users of Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise can use either the Registry Editor or the Group Policy Manager. Disabling Cortana just turns the Cortana box into a basic search box, but it will still run in the background.

Method 1: Disable Cortana via Registry Editor in Windows 10 Home

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Step 1: Open Registry Editor. (Press ‘Win+R’ key, type ‘regedit’ in the run box, and hit enter).

Step 2: Go to the following path,
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows

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Step 3: Right-click on ‘Windows’. Click ‘New’ > ‘Key’ option, and name it ‘Windows Search’. (skip this step, if the ‘Windows Search’ folder is already there).

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Step 4: Right-click on ‘Windows Search’, and select ‘New’ > ‘DWORD (32-bit) Value’, and name it ‘AllowCortana’. (Even if you are running Windows 10 64-bit, you need to select ’32-bit DWORD value’).

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Step 5: Double click on ‘AllowCortana’, and set its value as 0.

Step 6: Close Registry editor windows, and restart your computer.

Method 2: Disable Cortana via Group Policy Manager in Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise

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Step 1: Press ‘Win + R’ keys, and type ‘gpedit.msc’ in the run box, and hit enter.

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Step 2: Navigate to the following path,
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search

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Step 3: On the right panel, locate ‘Allow Cortana’ and double click on it.

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Step 4: Select ‘Disabled’, and click ‘Apply’ and ‘Ok’.

Step 5: Close the Group Policy Manager and restart your computer.

Stop Cortana process by editing the Cortana folder

Editing Cortana folder name will stop Cortana process in Task Manager. However, it also disables Windows local search.

Step 1: Head to Cortana folder path, c:\windows\SystemApps

Step 2: Rename ‘Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy’ folder into any random name, and hit enter. You’ll get an error message. Keep the dialog box opened.

Step 3: Open Task Manager by pressing ‘Ctrl+Shift+Esc’, and select Cortana from the background processes list.

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Step 4: Click on ‘End Task’ button and immediately click ‘Try Again’ button on the dialog box. (Before restarting Cortana process again).

Step 5: You can now rename Cortana folder.

In the future, if you want to get back Cortana, simply rename Cortana folder to its default value.