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How to uninstall Cortana

windows 10 update how to remove cortana
(Image credit: ymgerman / Shutterstock )

Want to uninstall Cortana? We finally got a way to get away from Microsoft's virtual assistant. A long hoped-for feature for some (sorry, Alexa, not everyone wants to talk to their tech, it makes my roommates think I'm talking to them), this new option allows you to easily boot Cortana. 

We've got complete instructions for both regular folks and power users, depending on how deep in your system you want to get. And that's not the only place Cortana's losing its footing: the AI assistant's getting the boot from iOS and Android in 2021.

This is one of the few bright spots in Windows 10 these days, as most updates just lead to anger and frustration because of bugs that crash systems and break functionality. But giving power back to the users? We're all in favor for these new options, which let you either uninstall the assistant's app or brave the command line to remove it like you're clearing gunk from the gutters.

Cortana was a big part of the Windows 10 May 2020 update, which changed things so it now stands alone as more of a full-fledged app. It even starts up by default when you boot your machine. That is, unless you don't want it to, and know how to disable it. 

There are two ways to disable Cortana, as outlined by Windows Latest. You can either stop it from automatically opening when you boot your PC (the easier way), or remove the new Cortana app from Windows 10 (which is a little harder). We've got full instructions below.

How to disable Cortana

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  2. In Task Manager, click the Startup column.
  3. Select Cortana.
  4. Click Disable.
  5. Then, open the Start menu.
  6. Find Cortana under All Apps.
  7. Right-click on Cortana.
  8. Select More. 
  9. Click on App settings.
  10. Turn off the switch next to 'Runs at log-in.'

How to uninstall the Cortana app

These steps require a little tinkering, so a word of caution. Since you're going to be poking around in PowerShell, back up your system first. Our best cloud backup solutions provide easy ways to protect your data.

  1. Open the Start Menu and type in PowerShell.
  2. Right click on Windows PowerShell.
  3. Select 'Run as administrator'.
  4. Type the following text (minus the ' marks) in: 'Get-AppxPackage -allusers Microsoft.549981C3F5F10 | Remove-AppxPackage'
  5. Press Enter.

Of course, power users set on eradicating Cortana will need to dive even deeper into Windows Registry — which is even more risky for everyday users. Since it's less necessary and a bit dangerous, we recommend skipping that part. 

You've already shut Cortana up and removed its app presence. That should be enough for some extra peace of mind. 

  • dark lord of ram
    Now if only they could release an update that allows you to turn off windows update. and microsoft security essentials. and all the other garbage they have installed on most pre-builds! Ha
    Reply
  • gernot66
    Thanks a lot, it's always cool to receive an advice which really works.
    Reply
  • ryanthack
    So I do everything and I still get Cortana show up in my Processes under the Task Manager. I've done everything and it still pops up under

    C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy

    I'm trying to delete the whole folder. Changed permissions and all but it won't delete. Some advice would be really appreciated.

    Even when I give my user account full access to the folder and subfolders and try to delete it, it says along the lines "need permission from your user account to delete" when it's exactly the account I'm logged into. What gives?

    Ending the process on task manager just makes it come up again as well.
    Reply
  • gernot66
    hmm... i never saw this "girl". there is a reason i use the "win 10 debloater" it's recently a quite comfortable java script (last year it was a script to be executed by commandline) which will disable cortana and other annoying stuff ppl like me don't like to see or don't like to have running in background. but of course "at your own risk" you can find the debloater here: 8E6OT_QcHaUView: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E6OT_QcHaU
    Reply