Cortana, Assistant or Spy?
By Stephen Bucaro
Cortana is Microsoft's digital assistant. According to Microsoft "Cortana is your digital agent.
She'll help you get things done." Cortana records everything you do, every keystroke you enter,
every syllable you speak. They claim it uses this information to make suggest links to news
and web items that she thinks may be interesting to you. If you believe that, I've got a bridge
I'd like to sell you.
Cortana is spying on you to gather marketing information so that it can direct you to Microsoft's
store and to other sources from which Microsoft receives revenue. In other words, Cortana's job
is to milk you for as much money as it can get. Microsoft didn't invent this marketing method,
Apple's Siri has been wrestling it's users to iTunes and other Apple revenue generating sources
Assuming that you prefer to search for resources on the web on your own, without everything you do
being recorded with the purpose fo milking as much money from you as possible, here's how to
disable Cortana. Note that initially it was easy to disable Cortana, but Microsoft, in it's lust
for your money, keeps using Window's Update to make it more and more difficult to disable its
Windows 10 revenue generating schemes.
Now, on a system running Windows 10 Home, to disable Cortana you need to edit to the registry.
Find the key: HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search. You might need to
create this key if it doesn't exist.
Then create the DWORD value AllowCortana and set it to 0. This change applies to all user accounts
on the PC you're configuring. Sign out and sign back in and you'll notice that the text in the search
box has changed from "Ask me anything" to "Search Windows".
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
If you don't want to mess around with the registry manually, you can use a .reg batch file. Use
Windows Notepad to create a text file and paste into the file the text shown above. Then save the
file on your desktop and rename it with a filename with the .reg extension (e.g. disable cortana.reg).
Then double-click on the file to execute it.
Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for the use of this code. By using this material,
the user assumes complete responsibility for any and all damages resulting from that use.
It's not that I don't trust the code, I just don't trust all users to not edit the code
or do crazy things their computers. Besides, I never take responsibility for anything.
More Windows Administration Information:
• Network Security Through the Principle of Least Privilege
• Configure Windows 10 to Search Windows Only
• What is the difference between MSI and EXE Installations?
• PC Technician's Guide to Providing Telephone Support
• Choosing a Tape Drive
• Easy PC to PC Files and Settings Transfer Cable
• How to Harden a Server
• Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure
• Kill The Messenger (Service)
• PC Technician Certifications and Professional Organizations