One of the most talked about features in the latest version of Windows 10 was the Cortana personal assistant that is integrated directly into the taskbar. But what if you don’t want to waste all that taskbar space?

Luckily they not only provide a way to remove the search box from the taskbar, but you can change it into an icon, or you can remove it entirely and then it’ll show up on the taskbar only when you open the Start Menu (so you can still search for your apps).

We’re not entirely sure if we like the idea of a digital assistant as part of Windows, but if you’re using the preview, we recommend that you test it out at least to give it a chance. If you don’t like it, then you can disable it and make the search box revert back to the Windows 8.x behavior where it searches your apps as well as the web.

Removing the Cortana Search Box from the Taskbar

Note that hiding the search box doesn’t actually disable Cortana — keep reading below for instructions on how to do that. This will simply hide the box from the Taskbar.

Simply right-click on any empty space on the taskbar, go to Search, and then change “Show search box” to either “Show Cortana icon” or “Hidden”.

If you change it to an icon, it’ll show a circle like you can see below.

And if you disable it entirely, it’ll be removed from the taskbar. You can also hide that Task View button while you are at it by just right-clicking and unchecking the box — although we’ll say that the new task switcher is pretty nice.

Disabling Cortana

If you haven’t enabled Cortana, you’ll see the top of the box that looks like this when you click on the Search box and then click the Settings icon. Note that Cortana is Off. You can also turn off the online search and including Bing results when you search the Start Menu by flipping that switch off as well.

If you have already enabled Cortana, the settings dialog changes completely and is hidden beneath the Notebook icon — from here you can click on Settings and get to the screen above.

Once you disable Cortana and Bing, you can then hide the icon.

It’s really nice that you can turn it off — we’d have probably preferred that Bing stay out of our Start menu in the first place though.

Profile Photo for Lowell Heddings Lowell Heddings
Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
Read Full Bio »