Optimizing Win 10 - Killing Cortana

August 5, 2017 at 09:20:05
Specs: several
Months ago I got a new HP laptop with Windows 10. I was trying
to set it up so that once Windows loads, there will be no more disk
accesses unless I initiate them. I was interrupted in this quest by
responsibilities coming from the Real World. Hopefully I now have
some free time to resume the quest. However, I've likely forgotten
some of what I learned and will need to cover that territory again.

I booted the computer and started Process Monitor near the end
of the boot process. I have it set to show disk accesses only.
Including the accesses done during the last part of bootup, it says
there have been 61,305 accesses in the last 50 minutes. Starting
Process Monitor and scrolling through the list of disk accesses are
all I have done.

Among those 61,309 (currently) accesses, I notice several which
have the name Cortana in the path of the accessing process.
Processes I notice doing this include svchost.exe, csrss.exe, and
backgroundTaskHost.exe. The accesses generally indicate
SUCCESS in the Result column.

I have turned off Cortana in every way I have found to do so, short
of removing the link on the Start menu and deleting the files from
the disk. If I remember correctly, I have never once run it. Never
clicked on it. It has not been updated in any way.

I counted over 300 entries in the Process Monitor list of disk
accesses that refer to Cortana before I quit counting. (I expect
that I could find a way to count them all automatically, but I'm
not going to bother with that.) The current total of all disk
accesses, an hour and 24 minutes after starting Process
Monitor, is 89,235.

Is it possible to eliminate these pointless disk accesses?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#1
August 5, 2017 at 15:07:37
The "pointless disk access" isn't pointless to MS, they want to know as much about you as they can. I doubt you will ever be able to turn everything off. Plenty of sites explain how to disable Cortana, here's one of them:

https://www.windowscentral.com/how-...

If you don't know Black Viper, he's been posting "How-to's" about various Windows versions for years. Here's his Service Configuration recommendations:

http://www.blackviper.com/service-c...

You could also disconnect from the internet whenever you're not using your computer & then you have nothing to worry about. Or do what I did, dump Win10 & switch to Linux.

message edited by riider


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#2
August 5, 2017 at 20:31:08
I've already disabled Cortana in several ways, but those file accesses
still show up.

I started using Black Viper's suggestions in Windows 7. I might decide
to try replacing Win 10 on the new laptop with Win 7. Black Viper seems
to have revised his website since I last visited it and printed out his
suggestions for Win 10 less than a year ago.

I have several old versions of Ubuntu. The most recent is 12.04.1
(Precise Pangolin). The only versions I've used much are 9.10
(Karmic Koala) and 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat). I installed them on
my Windows 7 desktop computer, which is no more.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

message edited by Jeff Root


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#3
August 6, 2017 at 07:16:08
Try the latest version of Linux Mint. I'd been running Mint 18 Xfce for a while, then upgraded to 18.1. Version 18.2 was released last month. What's nice about Mint is they stick with the latest Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) release as their base package. Mint 18 is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS & will be officially supported until April 2021. They don't bother with the "standard releases" such as the xx.10 releases that you mentioned because of their short 9-month support term. For example, Ubuntu 16.10 has already reached its end-of-life & is no longer supported.

I prefer the Xfce Desktop Environment because it's simple & uses less system resources than most of the other DEs.

https://www.linuxmint.com/

EDIT: I noticed the article in my other response is out of date & doesn't apply to the Win10 Anniversary Update (& beyond). Looks like you'll need a registry hack to disable Cortana:

https://www.howtogeek.com/265027/ho...

Also, if you don't have God Mode set up, it may come in handy:

https://www.windowscentral.com/how-...

message edited by riider


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#4
August 11, 2017 at 13:18:46
riider,

Following your link to Linux Mint, I tried several times yesterday
and today to download the English PDF user guides for "MATE
Edition" and "Cinnamon Edition". Whatever those are. An arrow
flashes briefly in the top-left corner of my Android tablet indicating
that a download is starting, but then nothing for several minutes
until it says "Download unsuccessful."

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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