I'm posting this for those that basically have no use for Cortana and One Drive or those that consider them more of an annoyance then a help. This is a compilation of multiple forum posts, discussions, and arguments so there really isn't one person that gets full credit for the procedures listed here. I've found out over time that certain updates from MS will re-install their settings back to the original and turn the programs back on so please don't blame me if it pops back up in a month or so. Also, it does have effects on other programs..... Programs like Edge (Win 10,) Windows Mail (Win 10,) App Store, and Windows Defender will either not work properly or have certain features disabled. If you use Office Outlook, it doesn't effect the online sync for new mail but the Voice to Text features will not work on office products.
For those not turned off by this, here we go.....
To disable Cortana in Win 10:
1.) Open up task manager (right click on task bar and select) and move to the right side of the screen where you can access it easily.
2.) Locate Cortana in the task menu In Win 10, it will be under background process.
3.) Highlight Cortana and right click. Select open file location.
4.) A new window will open and display folder Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy. If the folder is not highlighted, then click on it to highlight but do not open.
5.)This here is the tricky part. It is made easier by placing the task manager and the window containing the Cortana folder to where you are comfortable moving from one to the other. You have to be fast while switching as you will only have roughly 3 seconds to do the finishing move.
Right click on the cortana folder in the open window. Select rename and add .bak to the end of the filename. When you hit enter, a pop up window will appear saying you do not have permission. This is normal as the folder is controlled by the MS corporation and not you as the owner of the computer. Even as the administrator, you are not allowed to do anything to this folder. The pop up window will have two options, try again or cancel. Do not hit either one. Move it to where you can easily access it. Move back over to the task manager and highlight cortana once again. Right click on it and choose end task. Quickly move over to the pop up window and select 'try again.' If you did it quickly enough, the file name will change to add the .bak to the end of the filename. If you notice, Cortana does not appear again on your task manager as windows cannot locate the cortana file to restart the service. If it does, the pop up window will still be up giving you the same options. Do not close it, moving it closer to the task manager to where you can swiftly and easily click the try again button after ending cortana.
This procedure works for Windows 10 on disabling cortana. Following the same procedures, you can shut one drive off permanently as well. This is usually not needed for those who do not set it up when you purchased or upgraded your system, but if you did and do not want the service anymore- this will disable it until MS sends out their periodic updates. For those that have Windows 8 (non-enterprise edition,) the procedures will work for one drive as well.
This is updated from the instructions I gave on a seed a few months ago. The instructions there were slightly different, but they were for a effort to remove the programs permanently. As MS will re download it in their periodic updates if they cannot locate the folder, completely changing the name of the folder and removing the MS file permissions has been abandoned for now. Just adding a few more characters to the end of the filename (to make it appear as a system file) seems to keep MS from re downloading them on every update.
For more advance users, this can be done to other data collection services MS uses on Win 10 systems. But I am not going to post the services here as I will not be responsible for mistakes and weird system errors. And yes, the system will have problems if not done properly or in the right order. It is far easier to go to
log in, and from there you can clear out your data sent. Every time you use bing and/or edge, your search and some usage data appears here.
I took part in some of the discussions and there are parts of the process that were mine on the old method, but there are multiple users on SuperUser, HowtoGeek, and Winhelp that have updated the process to an easier method since discovering we couldn't get rid of them permenantly. So thanks go out to them for their new instructions.