If you use Windows 10 and updated to the software's "Anniversary Edition" last month, you may have noticed that Cortana is more integrated than ever before into the operating system. Cortana, Microsoft's search tool and digital personal assistant, can set appointments, fill you in on news updates and search for stuff on the web, not unlike Apple's Siri.
But some users would rather live without Cortana, which monitors PC usage and may be collecting data they'd rather keep private. Getting rid of Cortana, however, has become more difficult since the update. A Microsoft support page advises that Cortana "can't be entirely turned off."
Never tell PC geeks that something can't be done. Several websites such as Windows Central have created guides to disabling most of Cortana's features.
There's also a downloadable hack that alters the registry for Windows 10 Home users that will do the grunt work automatically. (Find it by Googling "Cortana disable registry" but heed this warning: messing around with the Windows registry can be risky; always have your system backed up if you plan to try it.)
The registry hack worked for me, reverting the space where Cortana resides back into a standard Windows search bar. It's debatable whether this may increase system performance, but it will at least keep the feature at bay until Microsoft updates Windows enough to override that change. Although, I must admit, I miss some of the features Cortana provided and may re-enable the helper before that happens.
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