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Cortana, Assistant or Spy?

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 for years.

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

[HKEY_Local_Machine\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search]

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.

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