Microsoft has made a big song-and-dance about Windows 10’s built-in digital assistant. But, for many, Cortana remains unused or an annoyance.
The voice control doesn’t always work naturally, the tips it offers can get in the way, and Cortana harvests a fair amount of personal data about you in order to work, which some people may be uncomfortable with.
Annoyingly, recent Windows 10 updates have removed the option to turn Cortana off altogether. But, there are still ways to minimise its intrusions.
1) Access Cortana’s settings
Click inside the Search box on the left of the taskbar, then click the Settings icon. Here, click all the switches to Off.
If you’re concerned about the data Cortana has collected on you, click Change what Cortana knows about me in the cloud, then click Clear.
2) Clear Cortana’s notebook data
Cortana gives recommendations based on data from your tracked activities and interests.
To stop it collecting this data, click inside the Search box, then click the Notebook icon.
Next, click Permissions and switch off Location, Contacts, email, calendar and communications history and Browsing history.
You can work through the other categories in the Notebook – Cortana tips, Eat & Drink and so on – and switch off anything else you don’t want enabled.