For heavy Cortana users, the May 2020 update turned the voice assistant into more of a productivity app. While you can still control some things with your voice, many users would prefer to just uninstall Cortana.
Microsoft used to make this nearly impossible, with most users choosing to just disable and hide the icon. Now you can uninstall Cortana if you no longer find it useful. If you ever change your mind, there’s also an easy way to reinstall it.
Is It Safe?
Since Cortana used to be built in to Windows 10, you may have heard that it’s dangerous to remove a core Windows component. However, Windows works fine without Cortana, even before the May 2020 update.
Now, Cortana isn’t integrated into Windows like it used to be. This makes it safer than ever to uninstall Cortana without harming your system at all. If you have any concerns, back up your files before proceeding.
Even though Cortana is now an app, you can’t uninstall it from the usual “Add & Remove Programs” area. Before now, you’d have to edit the registry in Windows 10 Home. In Windows 10 Pro, you could use the Group Policy Editor. As you can see, it wasn’t the easiest thing to do, especially if you were editing the registry.
Now, you just need to use PowerShell. If you’ve never used it before, don’t worry – it’s not complicated.
Click Start and type “PowerShell”. Choose the PowerShell Windows app.
If you don’t have administrator rights for your user account, right-click PowerShell in the results and choose “Run as administrator.” Press Yes if you receive a UAC (user access control) warning.
If you’ve used the command prompt before, PowerShell looks and functions in a similar manner.
Next, type or copy and paste the following line into the prompt:
Don’t add or remove any of the spaces. After typing it in, hit Enter on your keyboard. This will uninstall Cortana. Please note that this will only work if you’ve already installed the May 2020 Windows Update. Otherwise, you’ll still have the older version of Cortana, which is much more difficult to remove.
If you change your mind, Cortana’s not gone forever. You may decide that the new version isn’t so bad after all. If so, you can reinstall Cortana at any time. All you have to do is open the Microsoft Store.
Search for “Cortana.” Select the first result.
Click “Install” to install Cortana. You will need to log in with your Microsoft account in order to download the app.
Keep Cortana But Disable
If you don’t want to uninstall Cortana, but you’re not sure if you want to use the app, you can simply disable it. This works similar to how you would originally disable Cortana if you didn’t use it.
Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager. Open the Startup tab.
Select Cortana from the list. Once highlighted, click the “Disable” button at the lower-right corner. This disables Cortana from ever starting up when you boot your PC.
To let the changes take effect, restart your computer. When it starts, Cortana won’t start this time or any other time unless you re-enable the process. You might also want to delete Cortana’s log if you have no plan to use it anymore.