Microsoft released Windows 10 version 2004, a new feature update for the operating system recently. One of the changes of the release was that the company switched from integrating Cortana natively in the operating system to offering it as an application that is provided via the Microsoft Store.
The move did not just cut the tie between Windows 10 and Cortana as Microsoft rebuild the new Cortana application from scratch; some functionality, most consumer features such as controlling music playback, are no longer available in the Cortana application and Microsoft stated already that these features would not be reintroduced at a later point in time. The new focus is business and work according to Microsoft, and using Cortana requires that users sign-in to the application with a Microsoft Account, or a school / work account.
While Cortana has changed significantly, it still appears that the application is started with Windows. Our colleagues over at Deskmodder noticed this. We tried to replicate this on a system that we upgraded to Windows 10 version 2004 but saw no sign of Cortana starting with Windows directly after the upgrade to Windows 10 version 2004.
The first Microsoft Store update on the other hand brought a Cortana update along with it, and this update seems to have added Cortana to the system autostart.
Tip: you may also disable Microsoft Store updates as outlined in this guide to prevent Cortana from updating automatically.
Be it as it may, you may want to check if Cortana is autostarting on your devices if you have upgraded to Windows 10 version 2004. If you have no plans on using Cortana, you may as well disable its autostart.
Disable Cortana in the Task Manager
One of the easier options to do that is to open the Task Manager on the system using Ctrl-Shift-Esc, switch to the Startup tab, and see if Cortana is listed there. A right-click and the selection of “disable” blocks the new Cortana from autostarting with Windows.
Cortana application options
Another option that you have is to open the Cortana options as you find an autostart toggle there as well. Here is how that is done:
Use Windows-I to open the Settings application, or select Start > Settings.
Open Apps in the Settings window.
Search for Cortana and click on the result to display its options.
Select Advanced Options.
Toggle the “runs at log-in” option on the page that opens.
Disable Cortana autostart via the Registry
You have to dig deep to find the autostart of the Cortana application as it is not listed in the usual places. To disable Cortana autostarting with Windows, do the following:
Open Start, type regedit.exe and hit the Enter-key on the keyboard.
Confirm the UAC prompt that is displayed.
Go to the key HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTLocal SettingsSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionAppModelSystemAppDataMicrosoft.549981C3F5F10_8wekyb3d8bbweCortanaStartupId
You should see a State value on the right. Double-click it and set it..
to 1 to disable the autostart of Cortana.
to 2 to enable the autostart of the Cortana application.
Restart Windows to complete the change.
Now You: do you plan to use the new Cortana application?
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