I have just set up a new PC with a fresh installation of Windows 10. The PC is connected to my company's network, and must make use of a proxy server to connect to the internet, because of company policy.

I have turned off Cortana in the settings, and also turned off Search online and include web results in the Cortana & Search Settings menu.

However, when I open the start menu and start typing, a dialogue titled Cortana appears asking for proxy login and password. If I cancel this dialogue, I can continue typing my search term, e.g. update, but no search results appear. The results box remains blank, not even the animation with the flying dots appears which indicates a search being executed on a properly working system.

If I search for the term update on my private Windows 10 machine at home, this search yields, among others, Search for Windows Update, Windows Update Settings, and files with the word update in the name, all local results.

As an experiment, I tried circumventing the proxy server, which results in the start menu search working as expected: It yields local results but not web results, as configured. If I turn the proxy server back on, the search continues to work until the PC is restarted, at which point search stops working again.

The same happens when I provide valid login data when prompted: Search begins to function and continues to function even if I uncheck the proxy login dialog's save credentials box.

At this point I could ask the person who will be using the PC later on to provide their proxy login to Windows and have the system save the credentials. However, it irritates me that they should have to do that, since I have explicitly turned off any start menu setting related to accessing the web.

Are there maybe some settings I have missed that will eliminate the need for Windows to access the internet when the start menu is used, or is this unchangeable Windows 10 behavior?

  • You can completely disable Cortana on enterprise versions through a group policy
    – Ramhound
    Feb 15, 2016 at 16:30
  • If you are concerned about privacy, remember that most proxies won't filter HTTPS in-depth. And Cortana works on HTTPS like just any other search engine. Feb 15, 2016 at 20:15
  • 1
    @Ramhound Thanks for the tip! I just gave that a try, and while it does lock the Cortana toggle in the off state, Windows will still ask for a proxy login when I open up the start menu. I've also rebooted the PC and manually ended the Cortana task, but the result is the same.
    – waldrumpus
    Feb 16, 2016 at 8:59
  • Did you disable "Get to know me" in Settings?
    – pulsejet
    Aug 22, 2016 at 20:26
  • Was anything here of help for you? Same issue
    – Samuel
    Feb 14, 2018 at 13:15

3 Answers 3


Click on Search/Cortana section next to the start button > Notebook > Settings > Turn off the Cortana can give me suggestions, ideas, reminders, alerts and more option.


I'm always nervous about going into the registry editor of Windows. However both my friend and I agree this would permanently disable cortana from Windows 10. First you'll want to backup your registry or create a system restore point, because shit hitting the fan ain't good for anyone (except the economy).

Support.Microsoft.com suggests the following:

•From the Start menu, type regedit.exe in the search box, and then press Enter. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

•In Registry Editor, locate and click the registry key or subkey that you want to back up. Click File > Export.

•In the Export Registry File dialog box, select the location to which you want to save the backup copy, and then type a name for the backup file in the File name field.

•Click Save.

And to restore your registry manually they suggest this:

•From the Start menu, type regedit.exe, and then press Enter. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

•In Registry Editor, click File > Import.

•In the Import Registry File dialog box, select the location to which you saved the backup copy, select the backup file, and then click Open.

Now that that's out of the way, you'll want to press Windows + R and then type "regedit" and press Enter. Now to the left, don't do the chacha and don't bring it to the right (man I need more coffee) you'll see a navigation section, you're going to want to look for the following: "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > Policies > Microsoft > Windows > Windows Search" however that last bit might be a little invisible because Microsoft has a real thing for Cortana. So if you can't find the "Windows Search" folder, right-click on Windows and hover over "new" until you see a second menu open and you'll want to click "key".

You're probably confused right now but bear with me, the key will be nameable and you'll have to name it "Windows Search". So not only did you have to create the folder that already existed but you might even have to create the file that already existed. Reminds me of the NSA too. Right click in your brand-spankin new folder (right section of the Registry Edit Program now) and hover over "New" and left-click "DWORD (32-bit) Value".

Oh look another thing to name, well be sure to name it the opposite of what you want (that's windows for you, so counter-intuitive it runs smoother when emulated). Name it "AllowCortana" of course. Easy part: Double-Click the newly named file and in the empty field type "0" and select "hexidecimal". Voila relogin / reboot and you now have a basic search engine that can look through el computor.

The irony is that I'm actually French.


Have a look at this very comprehensive video about stopping Windows 10 from spying on you. It's 30 minutes long, but I think you might actually like it.

  • 5
    External links can break, in which case this answer would have no value. They also can't be indexed, so the information isn't very accessible. Videos are especially poor as the primary way to share information on the site. Please make the answer self-contained by including the essential information here, and use the link for attribution and reference. Thanks.
    – fixer1234
    Dec 6, 2016 at 19:51

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