Microsoft’s scurry into competing with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri with Cortana did not yield to be very fruitful for those who use Windows 10 or 11. Whether used or not, the assistant often seems to use way too much RAM slowing down your system or even crashing it in some extreme cases.
To stop Cortana from using a lot of RAM, you can use any of the following methods:
1) Running a debloater that disables Cortana.
2) Using the Registry Editor.
3) Disabling Cortana through the Local Group Policy Editor (Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise only).
This article will dive into exactly why Cortana hogs so much RAM and all the methods you can employ to free up some of your system resources.
Why Does Cortana Use So Much RAM?
In a general use case, Cortana should not be taking up a lot of RAM. However, as it often is with products from Microsoft, glitches, faulty updates, and bugs seep into the user experience causing undue system errors and crashes.
Generally, Cortana uses a lot of RAM when searching through files or indexing multiple locations at once. But, it can also just be due to a faulty update or the assistant not recognizing prompts properly.
In any case, unless and until you don’t use Cortana, we recommend turning it off to save your system resources.
Before you go about disabling Cortana, make sure that your Windows is up to date. Chances are that an update might just end up fixing Cortana taking too much RAM, and you won’t have to go through the hassle of disabling it.
Method #1: Run a Debloater
Microsoft is known to chime in with a lot of bloatware on a freshly installed system. One such addendum is Cortana. Besides that, though, there are tons of applications in the Windows Store that are pre-installed, which can also hog down your system memory.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of finding all these applications one by one and then removing them, you can use a debloater. They’re completely free, updated often, and don’t need technical knowledge.
- Download the Windows 10 Debloater.
- Extract the files to a folder of your choice.
- Now, right-click on “Windows10DeblaoterGUI.ps1“ and select “Run With Powershell.“
- After being prompted with the creation of a “Restore Point,” the program will open.
- Move down to the third column to disable Cortana and click “Disable” on Cortana.
Debloating your files can lead to some applications not running properly. If that ends up happening, make sure to click on “Revert Registry Changes” to bring your system back to normal.
Method #2: Using Registry Editor
Before the Windows 10 Anniversary Update Edition, disabling Cortana required you to head to your Settings. Now though, the process is much more tedious and complicated. However, with Registry Editor, you’ll finally be able to disable the voice assistant from using your RAM for good.
- Press the Windows + R key.
- Now, type in “Regedit” and click “Run.”
- Head to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > Policies > Microsoft.
- Right-click on the Windows folder, hover on “New,” and then click the “ON” key.
- Type in “Windows Search” and hit “Enter.”
- Select this new folder, right-click, hover on “New,” and click on “DWORD (32-bit) Value.”
- Type “AllowCortana” on the new value.
- Double click on “AllowCortana,” type “0,” and click “Ok.”
- After doing so, restart your computer. You should not see the Cortana icon come up again.
Method #3: Using the Local Group Policy Editor
If you are running the Professional or Enterprise version of Windows, you’ll also be able to disable Cortana using the Local Group Policy Editor. This is extremely useful when you want to batch-disable the assistant on a number of different Windows installations.
- Head to Search and type “Edit Group Policy.”
- Open the Local Group Policy Editor.
- On the left-hand side, head to Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.
- Once there, click on “Search” and click on “Allow Cortana.“
- Now change the setting to “Disabled” and click “Ok.”
- Also, disable “Allow Cortana” above the lock screen in the same manner.
- Restart your computer and you should be good to go.
The Local Group Policy Editor can be used to make changes to multiple Windows installations at once. So, if you are the local administrator for a group of Windows PCs, following the method above is your best bet.
By using any of these methods, Cortana should not be taking up any of your RAM anymore. If you still see Cortana popping up on your Task Manager, we recommend checking whether you’ve followed the methods we’ve mentioned to the brim.
If so, try the debloater. It is the easiest and least cumbersome way to disable Cortana once and for all.