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How to Shrink or Hide the Cortana Search Bar in Windows 10

Posted by Jim Tanous on November 17, 2019

A new feature in Windows 10 is Cortana, Microsoft’s personal assistant tool that can do everything from searching your files to checking the weather, to reminding you about an upcoming meeting. Most users will probably find value in Cortana’s capabilities, but one thing that many users won’t like is just how much space the Cortana search bar takes up in the Windows 10 taskbar. Thankfully, you can enjoy all of the features of Cortana in a much smaller package. Here’s how to shrink or hide the Cortana search bar in Windows 10.

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If for some reason you find your search bar not working, follow these steps in our guide.

 

Shrink the Cortana Search Box

To shrink the Cortana search bar, right-click on the search bar itself (or on any blank space in the taskbar) and select Cortana > Show Cortana icon.

 

You’ll immediately see the Cortana search box disappear, replaced by a much smaller taskbar icon with the familiar Cortana circle logo. Doing this does not affect the capabilities of Cortana; you can still access the full Cortana experience by clicking the Cortana search icon, or by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard.

Hide Cortana from the Taskbar

If you’d prefer to hide Cortana entirely, you can do so by right-clicking the Cortana icon, or the Task view icon in the desktop taskbar and selecting Cortana > Hidden.

This removes Cortana’s presence from the Windows 10 taskbar entirely, but Cortana will still run in the background for things like reminders and notifications.

Disable Cortana

Taking this one step further, you can disable Cortana completely if you don’t want to use the feature. Just click on the Cortana icon in your taskbar, select the “Notebook” icon from the search box sidebar, and click Settings. Alternatively, you can access this menu by searching for “Cortana & Search Settings” and clicking on the corresponding System Settings result.

The first toggle, labeled “Cortana can give you suggestions, ideas, reminders, alerts, and more” controls Cortana in Windows 10. Set it to Off to disable Cortana completely on your PC. When you do so, you’ll see that the Cortana icon in your taskbar changes to a magnifying glass. This indicates that Cortana has been disabled and that you now have access only to the basic Windows 10 search feature. For some users, this may be all they need.

To revert any of these change and re-enable Cortana, or restore the taskbar search box, just repeat the steps above and choose the desired option for how you’d like search or Cortana to appear in your Windows 10 taskbar.

How do I Permanently Disable Cortana?

Before the Anniversary Edition update for Windows 10, you were able to disable Cortana completely. Now, you’ll have to use a workaround. This can be done using the registry, or by downloading a third-party program.

How to Disable Cortana Using the Registry

Changing anything in your Windows 10 operating system using the registry can prevent your computer from starting. We advise backing up your computer if you’ve never done this before, or to remain cautious. The registry can’t change anything on your computer unless you ask it to. Make sure you know the website you’re using is trustworthy before continuing.

1. Open the registry editor by pressing Windows and R together. A box will appear.

2. Type “regedit” in the “Open” box, then click “OK.”

3. Put the following key in the sidebar without quotation marks. “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search.”

4. If you can’t see the following screen, right-click “Windows” and select Key > New > and name it “Windows Search.”

5. Right-click your newly created folder and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

6. You can name the new value “AllowCortana.” Double-click it and write “0” to set the value.

7. Exit the editor and restart your computer.

WARNING: Do not restart your computer unless you’re sure you’ve done all of the above steps correctly!

How to Disable Cortana Using the Third-Party Software

Since the registry is a sensitive part of your computer, you may be too nervous to mess with it. If that’s the case, you can download a third-party software called ShutUp10. ShutUp10 allows you to control specific parts of your operating system, including Cortana.

Keep in mind that Cortana will still exist in the background with these steps because it controls your search bar. Windows Indexing will still be in place, but Cortana should no longer access the internet. We’ve tested ShutUp10 and concluded that it does work, but if you want Cortana to disappear completely, you’ll need to access the registry.

9 thoughts on “How to Shrink or Hide the Cortana Search Bar in Windows 10”

CarolProgrammer says:
This article claims to allow you to “shrink” Cortana. It doesn’t. Show VS Hide is not “shrink”.
How do we make the search-box shrink by 50%?
Reply
Your Mom says:
Well, what more do you expect from someone blogging in a language that isn’t his first?
Reply
Ben Richards says:
Simply right-click on the taskbar and select “Show Cortana icon.” That will shrink it down to a circle.
Peratchi Selvam says:
How to change the size of the Cortana Box?
Reply
TekRevue says:
I haven’t found a way to change the size of the box. The only options appear to be “hide” or “show.” If you hide the box, however, you can still use the search and Cortana features. Just click on the Start icon or tap the Windows key on your keyboard and start typing. This allows you to use search/Cortana without the box taking up space on your taskbar.
Reply
Dinakaran says:
what is the software name in the last image next to Chrome with arrow symbol
Reply
TekRevue says:
That’s Plex, which is personal media center software for Windows, OS X, Linux, and most mobile devices and media players.
Reply
Dinakaran says:
Thank you.
Christian Vazquez says:
I have the search icon instead of cortana!
Reply
TekRevue says:
Did you choose to not enable Cortana during the initial Windows 10 setup? Or are you in a region where Cortana isn’t yet supported? If so, you’ll see only the Windows Search icon and have access to just the standard search features.
Reply
Christian Vazquez says:
I used a forced update. Normal update to Windows 10 would not work. Had to use microsoft’s force upgrade.
Aaron Bush says:
needs ability to show it on the top of screen and in small buttons, i have a small 720p screen (1366×768) and its to big, i have a monitor that i use sometimes with it, when im not using ps4, thats 1600×900 and the taskbar isnt big on it, but i use the taskbar on my laptop not my main display when connected
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Yoshix64 says:
My W10 is in english and Cortana is turned off (I was wondering I have problems with my microphone), later I found it that isn’t available in my region.
Reply
Karen Jennison says:
can someone give me some help please? I installed windows 10 last week and have not been able to get email I have just discovered that the page on the email is too big for my lap top and the buttons to complete actions when trying to sync the accounts are below the task bar. I have tried everything I can think of to reduce the size of the task bar but nothing is working! Help please getting very frustrated.
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Josh Halterman says:
Um, There is’nt even a search box option, and I actually like It. It just says “Hide” or “Show Icon”. HELP!
Reply
Aaron Bush says:
disable small icons, and make taskbar on bottom on screen. and somepeople got the search bar to stay in small icon by reverting size after enabling it.
Reply
Josh Halterman says:
Thank you so much!
Andreas says:
I never had Cortana to begin with ’cause I live in Denmark so I had the search icon instead and thought it useless but I catch myself using Search in the start menu a lot and therefore miss the search icon, I can’t get it back though, I hid it just like you said but I can’t get it back now, any other suggestions on how to do this?
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Josh Halterman says:
right click taskbar, cortana/search depending on your build, show Icon/search box if you want it.
Reply
Andreas says:
Already tried that, there’s no “Show Icon/Search box” options for me
Josh Halterman says:
what does it look like? what are the options? You have to click “Cortana” or “Search” first. make sure you are right clicking on an empty area on the taskbar. Did you disable cortana? If so, open it up via the app, click notebook, settings, and flip the first switch.
Andreas says:
Well, it looks empty, and Cortana is definitely enabled and the switch has been flipped, I enabled her after I removed the button though
Aaron Bush says:
disable small icons, and make taskbar on bottom on screen. and somepeople got the search bar to stay in small icon by reverting size after enabling it.
if ur stuck with it on then i dont know

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