How to turn off Cortana in Windows 10

Cortana is the digital assistant built into Windows 10. Here's how to turn off Cortana in the Anniversary Update if you don't want it offering to help each time you click on the search box

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  • Intro 1
  • Cortana settings 2
  • Sign out of Cortana 3
  • Hide Cortana bar 4
  • Clear Cortana data in the cloud 5
  • More stories
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Step 1 of 5:

Before the Anniversary Update came to Windows 10, there was an option to turn off Cortana. That's no longer there, but you can still sign out (if you opted in to Cortana in the first place) to remove the personalised service she offers. The change is because Cortana is now available on iOS and Android, and offers the same 'sign out' option on all platforms.

Cortana is an opt-in service, and you can simply choose 'Maybe Later' when first prompted if you don't want to use it, but this guide assumes you have tried out Cortana and now want to turn her off.

How to disable Cortana in brief:

  • 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

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Before the Anniversary Update came to Windows 10, there was an option to turn off Cortana. That's no longer there, but you can still sign out (if you opted in to Cortana in the first place) to remove the personalised service she offers. The change is because Cortana is now available on iOS and Android, and offers the same 'sign out' option on all platforms.

Cortana is an opt-in service, and you can simply choose 'Maybe Later' when first prompted if you don't want to use it, but this guide assumes you have tried out Cortana and now want to turn her off.

How to disable Cortana in brief:

  • 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

Step 2 of 5:

Click on the search box on the Windows 10 desktop and type Cortana. The top result should be Cortana and Search settings.

Alternatively, click on the Notebook icon on the left-hand side of the menu (the third one down which doesn't look like a notebook at all) and then choose About me.

Step 3 of 5:

To disable the personalised service that Cortana offers, click on your Microsoft account, and then in the window which opens, click on the account again to reveal the Sign out option.

Click it and Cortana will revert to the non-personalised standard search service.

That may be as far as you want to go. But.... 

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Step 4 of 5:

Some people prefer to get rid of the search bar entirely. To do this, right-click on a free area of the task bar, click on the Cortana entry in the menu, then choose Hidden.

Step 5 of 5:

If you really want to delete all the personal data Cortana (Microsoft) holds, then head to the web page for Bing personalisation settings. You will have to sign in using your Microsoft account and you will see options to clear your history for search, saved places and more, but at the bottom is a big 'Clear' button which will delete the data that is stored for Cortana online.

That's it. Cortana is now turned off, her search bar hidden and the cloud data deleted. Don't forget that if you use Cortana on another computer with the same Microsoft account, you may want to disable it on that one too.

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