Microsoft’s virtual assistant, Cortana, is supposed to save you time and help you do things more productively. For some Windows 10 users, Cortana does the exact opposite: takes time and reduces productivity. If you can’t work because Cortana keeps appearing on your Windows PC, refer to the troubleshooting solutions in the section below.
Before doing anything, try restarting your computer. If the virtual assistant still appears when you turn your PC back on, try the following fixes.
1. Disable Cortana’s sleep password
By default, Cortana is configured to always listen for the wake-up word “Hey Cortana”. Saying the wake-up call or something similar triggers the digital assistant. If you find that Cortana keeps appearing on your Windows 10 PC when you or other people mumble random words and phrases, you should turn off the “ Hey Cortana ” wake word. Follow the steps below to do so.
Step 1: Launch the Windows Settings menu and select Cortana.
2nd step: In the Cortana menu, turn off the “Let Cortana respond to Hey Cortana” option.
If the wake word still triggers Cortana after disabling the above, try restarting your PC to apply the change.
2. Activate battery saver
Turning on Windows Battery Saver is a nifty way to solve the issue Cortana keeps raising. The battery saving feature is designed to automatically turn off the assistant’s wake-up call. So if you’d rather not go through the lengthy process of permanently disabling “Hey Cortana”, this is an easier method.
Tap the battery icon in your computer taskbar and click the Battery saver icon in the battery pane.
The only downside to this method is that Battery Saver will simultaneously disable some crucial features (app notifications) on your PC. Additionally, Cortana may continue to appear when your PC is plugged into AC power.
3. Troubleshoot the touchpad
For laptops, Cortana is sometimes configured to launch based on trackpad gestures. Check that your PC’s touchpad is working properly and make sure that no foreign object triggers it by accidental gestures. A bad or dirty touchpad could also cause Cortana to keep showing up intermittently. Clean the trackpad to remove dirt and debris using a clean, dry microfiber cloth.
If the touchpad issue is software related, check out our guide to troubleshooting issues with Windows 10 touchpad gestures. You can also try updating the mouse driver. You can also use a USB or wireless mouse if Cortana keeps popping up, or you’d rather not mess up your PC’s touchpad setup. It’s helpful to note that if Cortana isn’t showing up when using an external mouse, the problem is most likely with your touchpad. We recommend that you follow the troubleshooting tips in this section to remedy this.
Finally, you can reduce touchpad sensitivity if you frequently activate Cortana or other apps by accident, especially while typing. Go to Settings> Devices> Touchpad and select a lower sensitivity option.
4. Disable Cortana
If you barely use Cortana or can’t fix the constant digital assistant pop-up error, you can turn it off completely. The process is not really simple, however; there is no direct on / off switch for Cortana in Windows 10. Follow the steps below to disable Cortana on your PC using the Windows registry editor.
Note: We strongly recommend that you back up the registry files before proceeding. If you mess anything up or accidentally delete a file, you can easily restore the backup to get the file back.
Step 1: Launch the Run Windows dialog box using the “Windows Key + R” keyboard shortcut.
2nd step: Type regedit in the Run box and press Enter on your keyboard or press OK.
This will launch the Windows Registry Editor.
Step 3: Then enter the path below in the address bar of the Registry Editor and press Enter.
If the above path does not exist in your PC registry editor, try navigating to the path below.
Now create a file / key that will disable Cortana on your device.
Step 4: Right-click on the Windows Search folder, select New, then press “DWORD (32-bit) Value”.
Step 5: Rename the newly created value AllowCortana and press Enter to save.
Step 6: Double click on the AllowCortana value to modify it. Make sure the value is set to 0 and press OK.
Restart your computer and Cortana should no longer appear at insane intervals.
If you decide to re-enable Cortana, follow steps 1 through 6, change the value of AllowCortana from 0 to 1, and restart your computer.
Another troubleshooting solution you can try is to hide Cortana or temporarily disable it. This could prevent the virtual assistant from behaving badly. We provide more information on how you can do it in this guide. Finally, and we can’t stress this enough, make sure your operating system is up to date. Go to Settings> Update & Security to download and install the latest Windows 10 update available for your computer
Are you unable to use the Start menu and Cortana on your Windows PC because they are “not working”? Read the guide below to learn four ways to fix any errors that prevent them from working.
Last updated Sep 29, 2020
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