The Windows 10 May 2020 Update is here and its best feature (at least in my humble opinion) is that you can finally disable one of its biggest annoyances. That's right, you can basically kick Cortana to the curb by downloading the new Windows update.
Some might find Windows 10's propensity to push system updates hard on users to be quite frustrating, but I can't tell you how happy it makes me that Microsoft is giving you the option to fully remove the assistant. Some of us, myself included, just have no need for virtual assistants — nor do we want them in the background hogging resources or listening.
- The best laptops around
- HP Omen 15 2020: Release date, price, specs, AMD Ryzen options
- Plus: PS5 backwards compatibility leak sounds too good to be true
Cortana is a big part of the Windows 10 May 2020 update, as 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
- Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
- In Task Manager, click the Startup column.
- Select Cortana.
- Click Disable.
- Then, open the Start menu.
- Find Cortana under All Apps.
- Right-click on Cortana.
- Select More.
- Click on App settings.
- 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.
- Open the Start Menu and type in PowerShell.
- Right click on Windows PowerShell.
- Select 'Run as administrator'.
- Type the following text (minus the ' marks) in: 'Get-AppxPackage -allusers Microsoft.549981C3F5F10 | Remove-AppxPackage'
- 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.