How to disable Cortana from the task bar in Windows 10

One of the prominent new features in the task bar in Windows 10 is the Cortana search box to the right of the Start button. It's a really great tool to have close at hand, but, it does also use up quite a bit of real estate. So, it's understandable you might want to make it go away – especially if you can't use Cortana right now.

Fortunately, that's really simple.

The search box will be enabled by default when you fire up Windows 10 for the first time. To make it go away, follow these steps:

  1. Right click on the task bar.
  2. Select the "Search" option.
  3. You'll now see three new options for what to do. To make it go away altogether hit "Disabled."
  4. If you still want to keep it but want more space on the task bar, select "Show search icon" and the box will be replaced by a little magnifying glass icon.
  5. To make it all come back again follow the same steps but hit the option to enable the search box.

For more Windows 10 tips be sure to visit our dedicated help page here

Originally published January 2015, updated July 2015

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

134 Comments
  • How to disable Cortana from the task bar in Windows 10 Preview?   how could you even think about it? It's very mean.
  • I wouldn't disable her, but I do like shrinking the box into icon only to conserve taskbar space. :)
  • You can also just check "Use small taskbar buttons". This shrinks cortana to an icon, makes the icons smaller, and makes the taskbar slimmer. It's the ultimate if you care about conserving space.
  • If you put the taskbar on the side it also shrinks it into an icon but a regular size along with the others.
  • I use the TB on the side too. Shows all open windows in "portrait" mode and more on one line. Good for mutiple screens use if the TB is between the screens. Less mouse travel back and forth.
  • Some language builts can't use Cortana and Cortana is still on the task bar. So, I can see why some would want to get rid of it.
  • now that's make sense
  • Seems like a more interesting article would be, how to change settings to enable Cortana in your region...
  • Only way is changing region to US or some other region that has Cortana.
  • I might...I dont have a microphone hooked up to my computer, so it's not usefull unless I want to talk to her. 99% of the stuff that I will need on a day to day basis is web based (things I would search for on the web). So on the desktop, not sure I need her like on my phone...
  • You can search web based stuff with Cortana, and soon she'll be built into Spartan
  • I like that since more recent builds you can continue to work whilst interacting with Cortana using voice. I've been replying to a message about going out for a meal and asked Cortana if I was busy on that day whilst typing the rest of my response, rather than switching to my calendar to check and it worked quite nicely. There needs to be a way to tell Cortana which account to send an email from (at the time of sending it) but I think that's useful to send a quick email without switching out of Visual Studio. Example, email a customer to tell them I was readying a fix, without leaving Visual Studio to go into the mail app.
  • <glados> I want her gone. </glados>
  • Okay get the moron.
  • The title is misleading....
  • How is the title misleading?
  • it is non of your business (kidding) she is my wife and no one can dare to do it this is the warning next time you will die
  • Forever aloneness at its best
  • Dude get a hobby...and maybe a proper life...
  • are you (Windows Central) gonna make a video showcasing this new build?
  • That would be great!
  • Why not just watch the event Microsoft just had showcasing it?
  • I did, but a non-biased, more in depth review would be nice
  • Because that shit was long and really boring. They needed more excited people there to make it more exciting to watch. It was kind of pathetic.
  • Reminds me of when Windows 8 first came out and all people was like "How to disable metro UI?" and now theyre all like "How to disable Cortana?" *sigh*
  • Well, there's no point in having her enabled when the only message we get is "In not available in your region" is there? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • True. So Cortana on PC is the exact same as on phone? Dissapointing. I dont see a problem enabling her to all and who wish to speak in English to her he will and who not, the person will simply disable her. So I dont understand this move from MS. Maybe it is to prevent the spam of whines like "Why cant she speak my language"
  • I think they want to give her more info about the local region so that cortana can truely be personal, not just a simple assistant. If they open it up without region specific knowledge everyone starts to say that cortana isn't personal and just the same as other assistants
  • It can't just be the need for regional information because UK users have no Cortana in Windows 10, but she seems to have plenty of regional info on my phone.
  • In that case you're right and i don't know why it should not be available there.
  • Even in the UK you don't get Cortana, even though we speak English as our native language and already have Cortana on phones. Let's hope we don't lose Cortana in the UK with the Phone Preview. Cortana and Bing are the two products that I can think of that don't get as much attention outside of the US region in general.
  • The Lumia 930,830,and 735 have Cortana and yes I'm in the UK. The 930 gets it from a quick update update which gave it 8.1.1 features even though it was still running cyan
  • Well if you go to settings and go to add features you'll find a English UK narrator & cortana speech pack
  • Exactly - and to rub salt in the wound, it then shows me a picture from my region!
  • Metro UI was very non-user-friendly for pc users.
  • It is just like any other application that runs on the desktop.
  • Why would you do that?
    Unless you are one of those "i prefer win 7 and i'm too dumb to learn anything new" sheep. 
  • Well because Cortana does not work in most parts of the World.
    Until Microsoft starts to think globally, and delivers Cortana globally most of us will be cancelling this feature.
  • Yep Cortana doesn't work for example here in Finland so of course I disabled it. I don't do anything with regular search, it's just waste of space.
  • Cortana for the phone is now available in US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, India, Canada, Portugal and Italy. You have to remember that siri only had US and UK at this point. Microsoft are giving every country a proper reigonalised experience. And you still say Microsoft don't think globally :(
  • Cortana is NOT available in Portugal. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Your list of countries doesn't make it 'global', which is why he said what he did. They gave us Sway here first in New Zealand, but for an English speaking country that a couple years ago had a 15% WP share, we don't have Cortana.  Some of this regionalizing of the speaking voice is just delaying things. Most of us would be just fine, and prefer, Jen Taylor or just a Cortana 'Lite' so we can at least use the Reminders/Quiet Hours features without having to change regions.
  • Did you read it? Of course you didn't because you're one of those "I post on articles after reading the title" sheep.
  • Ever heard of never change a running system.
  • Wow Shobin Drogan you're really an ignorant troll. Do you just search for articles with titles you disagree with so you can insult people and make yourself feel as if you're smart? If you don't need the answer to the question, move on.
  • First I need cortana for my phone.. Then I will see how it works in lap.
  • I see what you did there, nasty boy! XD
  • U sir have a nasty brain :3
  • What's up with you Indians calling everybody Sir. C'mon that's so weird.
  • Since I did and update two months ago to get the new preview, my laptop is stuck on a bootloop. Can someone help me? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I'm sure someone in the forums can
  • Do a clean boot (shift+power), enter advance start up settings and or remove last build and redownload the update (it'll j jump straight to this one I believe)
  • Where is the Cortana language roadmap? I would love to see to which countries she's coming to next.
  • You can properly just Wiki a list of countries with the most inhabitants and work your way down to your country. Well not 100% but more or less
  • Just set to show search icon and your taskbar will never be the same, i love Cortana icon that halo.
  • Ask for the halo instead of the magnifying glass in Feedback?
  • It is a halo if you have Cortana enabled without the search bar. If your pc language and region is set to anything other than English U.S., then there is no halo, just a magnifier.
  • In my opinion, if you installed the tech preview, disabling the search icon should be a no brainer. Tech preview is for the curious. On the other hand though, anybody knows how to make start and taskbar transparent as per the screenshots?
  • i was also searching to make start transparent, still no idea.
  • I think it's just not possible in this build
  • Not possible. They made it solid. Metro UI. I think it looks cool
  • Yes, I was wondering where the hell this option was..... Beauty of the preview, is that if your running 8.1 before you install, you can roll back to 8.1 really easily.... Just restart the computer, and the option is right there.
  • I can make start and taskbar transparent, it's in the personalization settings.
  • Who in his right senses would ever think of disabling Cortana
  • You might want to try reading more than just the title before posting.
  • Is it worth to install windows 10? Can someone help me, not sure about it.
  • If you are unsure then don't do it on your primary PC. I have it on my primary PC and I really haven't had that many glitches. There hasn't been any "your PC and all files on OneDrive will self-destruct in 10, 9..."
  • If you have a spare hard drive or spare pc then I would install it. I wouldn't install it on my main pc because its still a bit buggy
  • Partition and dual boot your machine
  • Mike stopped working but I got it back with new drivers. IE has crashed. Seems like the fan is running faster. I installed straight over 8.1 on a second computer. Went well but stopped Setting up... at 69% for maybe an hour.
  • Seems faster
  • Can you just start typing a search while on the start screen and it will automatically open the search window like in win 8/8.1? If so, I don't see any need for this box to take up space on the taskbar.
  • Yes you can. As soon as you open the start menu the search box appears automatically, whether you have it on your taskbar or not
  • Hi, whats wrong with the WiFi ?:( always drop from my Network:((
  • Hi. Try reinstalling your wifi drivers :)
  • I rolled back to 8.1 on my Dell Venue 8 Pro. OneDrive not working, no modern UI ie, taskbar pins not showing up, and recent/all apps list needs to be hidden in tablet mode/ a gesture away/ hamburger menu, it takes up way too much of the start menu, especially on a small tablet. I was hoping for new mail app, still old one, photos app not working. All that being said, there is definitely a lot of potential, Cortana on my tablet is awesome. Tablet mode needs more work, it's still too desktop centric.
  • You can disable the task bar in tablet mode. Just set it to auto hide through the taskbar properties
  • Hell I have autohide in regular mode, i enjoy the extra real estate :)
  • Awesome :)
  • Wish I could use Cortana, but the latest build disabled my speakers, mic and webcam. Still working on fixing that.
  • Reinstall your driver's and reboot
  • they should make cortana windows a bit larger and information smaller so that she can show more in home. Currently it looks like a phone cortana sitting on taskbar. Doesn't take advantage of bigger screen.
  • Agree
  • most people think that Cortana is just Cortana, thats not yet available to other country so better get rid of her. Cortana is the 'search' tool of the PC. anything you want to search, like filles in your local drive or something on the web, you type it there in the search field. why would you want to rid of this essential features in your PC? 
  • She isn't. The search function is still present on the Windows Start button. If Cortana doesn't work in a region, having her constantly on the taskbar is just a waste of space.
  • You didn't read the article.
  • Also you can hide it And it'll still work when you say "hey Cortana" or you just start typing when the start menu is open
  • I selected the option to make the task bar icons small and the search bar went away and became just the Cortana icon. I wish that with the smaller task bar icons I could still have the search bar.
  • Feedback app
  • Now I just wish they'd add the ability to allow me to move her to my other taskbar. I like having the box always there but I'd prefer it out of the way.
  • Its pretty much useless unless you login with you MS account. Would be nice if it was also local.
  • You might want to re-read the Microsoft Insider Program rules you agreed to when you joined the program.
  • This is a full release Windows it has nothing to do with the insider program, what are you on about?
  • Just make a MS account man, you probably already have one!
  • But I am testing Windows 10 on many different devices. Its annoying having to login on each device to test one feature. Plus I dont want these test devices tied to my MS account.
  • Make a test accout for test devices or disable syncing.
  • Thanks Disabled / removed for now :)
  • The title should have been "How do I move Cortana to the Start menu and/or Notification Center".  Personally, the notification center is where she belongs.  She'd be a quick right-swipe away, with real-estate to show additional info, once engaged.
  • Personally I don't want or need Cortana on a PC (or phone for that matter). Just as long as they make it easy to turn her off everybody will be happy!  
  • You don't want or need an extremely useful voice activated alarm, calander, task manager, search engine, reminder, etc? Your loss.
  • When I was on windows phone development, i changed my location to USA to get Cortana to work on the phone, can i do the same to Windows 10 on my tablet to get Cortana to work in the UK. Please Advise  Ty Cal
  • Please can someone better knowledgeable answer me these burning question? 1 Why is Cortana being denied to other other regions though they would be using English US? 2 Why is Cortana dependent on regions, why can't it depend on language only, what's the reason? 3 There are no Country Variant phones for other countries, these countries (Users) import phones from other countries, so does it mean that these Lumia owners would never enjoy cortana unless they change their regions? 4 Is cortana being release per Region, Language, country or all three? HELP PLEASE, even on this Preview Win10, its not available in my region!!
  • It's a preview, so they haven't finished all he languages and regions yet.
    And in windows phone 8.1 Cortana supports many different regions and languages, just Bing it to see if you're region is supported to find out if you can use Cortana on a Lumia :)
  • Cortana also is a personal assistant. They look at your local geography, weather, entertainment etc. Its not just about language. There's a reason its loads better than siri etc.
  • I agree it should be based on language, not region, what if I want local results but want to use English as my OS and Cortana language, am I screwed then?