Fix: Remove Cortana and Web Search from Windows 10 Taskbar

Cortana is a new feature that comes packaged with Windows 10. The feature is very similar to Siri that is found on the Apple iPhone that acts as your personal assistant. Cortana’s natural language search capabilities and her intelligent surfacing of news and notifications that matter to you help to tailor Windows 10 to suit your specific needs. However not everyone takes kindly to Cortana which warrants it to be disabled. Signing out from application might not be enough for some people that want to get rid of it from the task bar completely.

Previously before the Windows 10 Anniversary update, it was simple to remove Cortana from the taskbar.  If you are running previous versions of windows 10, you can disable Cortana in the following way.

  1. Right click on a blank area of the Taskbar.
  2. Select the Cortana submenu and select Hidden.
  3. If you want to get rid of it from the taskbar completely, make sure the option ‘Show Cortana/Search Icon’ is not checked.

Or

  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

For Windows 10 anniversary users, the complaint that has been going around is that it is impossible to disable Cortana using the method shown above. In fact, it was updated to ignore your default web browser. Cortana now always launches the Microsoft Edge browser and only uses Bing when you search. Microsoft said that it did this to encourage the use of Cortana. If that sounds like something you wouldn’t want to use, here’s how to turn it off.

Method 1: Disable Cortana via system registry

You might want to back up your registry before taking these steps. This will help in restoration in case something goes wrong.

  1. Log off from your account by doing the following: Open the Cortana search box in Windows 10, Click the Notebook icon (the one below the house icon), Click About me, Choose the user account, Click Sign out
  2. Open Notepad and type or copy paste the key below:Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search] “AllowCortana”=dword:00000000
  3. Click on file and choose save as.
  4. In the Save as window type a name with the extension .reg e.g. something.reg
  5. Double click the file you saved to Run it
  6. You will get a warning, just allow the file to run
  7. If you are asked whether you want to merge the key, click yes
  8. Reboot your computer

You can re-enable Cortana by setting the key dword value as “AllowCortana”=dword:00000001

Method 2: Disabling Cortana search via Group Policy

This policy setting specifies whether Cortana is allowed on the device. If you enable or don’t configure this setting, Cortana will be allowed on the device. If you disable this setting, Cortana will be turned off. Furthermore, Cortana won’t be connected to your account and will not get access to your Microsoft account details.

  1. First, we need to log off your account. Open the Cortana search box and click the Notebook icon (the one below the house icon) present at the left side of the small window.
  2. Now click “About me” from the list of options available. You will be shown the email address which Cortana is connected with. Click it once.
  3. A small window will pop up consisting of details of your account. Right underneath it, there will be an option “Sign out”. Click it. Your account will now be logged out of Cortana.
  4. Press Win + R keyboard to open Run dialog box.
  5. Type gpedit.msc and hit Enter or OK to open Local Group Policy Editor.
  6. Navigate to following path:  Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Search.
  7. In the right pane, double-click on the policy named ‘Allow Cortana’.
  8. Select the Disabled radio button.
  9. Restart the PC and Cortana Search and Bing Search will be disabled.

To re-enable Cortana, return here, double-click the “Enable Cortana” setting, and change it to “Not Configured” or “Enabled”.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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Fix: Remove Cortana and Web Search from Windows 10 Taskbar

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