Limit Cortana’s Access in Windows 10

Microsoft is making its digital assistant an essential part of the operating system, and by “essential,” I mean “mandatory,” because users will no longer be able to turn Cortana off.

In the Windows 10, Cortana is one and the same with search. If you use the search box to look for a file on your device, you’ll be using Cortana. What this means is, that searches you perform will be filtered through the web, and usage data will be sent to Microsoft.

I know this probably sounds like an invasion of privacy, but it’s not actually a huge change from Microsoft’s mandatory data collection. You can, of course, refuse to sign into Cortana or Windows 10 with a Microsoft account. However, your data will still be collected, it will just be anonymous.

The good news is that we can stop Cortana from collecting information about your speech, handwriting patterns and typing history. You can stop her from saving your habitual usage data across multiple devices. She will function more like a simple search box than a nosy personal assistant!


  • Disable Cortana’s Settings

Open Cortana and click the settings icon in the lower left corner to open Cortana’s settings menu. You’ll see several options with on/off toggles – turn all those toggles to off. This will prevent Cortana from sharing your usage history across devices and from syncing notifications and other settings across devices.

  • Wipe Cortana’s Memory

Once you’ve disabled Cortana’s settings, you can clear the information she’s already collected about you by opening Cortana, clicking the settings icon, and clicking Change what Cortana knows about me in the cloud. Scroll to the bottom of the next screen and click Clear.You can also clear your Bing search history by going to Cortana settings > Change what Cortana knows about me in the cloud and clicking Search History page under Where else is Cortana saving data about you.

  • Stop “Getting to Know You”

Cortana collects information about you — by listening to your voice and tracking your handwriting patterns and typing history — to help improve your personalized experience. To turn this off, open the Settings menu and go to Privacy > Speech, inking, & typing. Click Stop getting to know me to stop Cortana from collecting this info and to clear any information she’s already collected.

  • Hide the Cortana button

If you don’t plan on using Cortana or search at all in Windows 10, you can hide the Cortana button from your taskbar. To do this, right-click the taskbar, go to Cortana and click Hidden.



Originally Alameda Typewriter, ABM COMPUTERS has served the entire San Francisco Bay Area with professional, first-rate IT support and computer sales from the same location since 1939. Building on decades of experience, along with a dedicated team, we continue to provide in-shop and on-site standout, services and comprehensive, affordable solutions for all your computing needs.

Posted on August 2, 2016, in Computer Advice. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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