Cortana: Block outbound network connections completely

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 29, 2016
Updated • Feb 29, 2016

The integration of Cortana with native search on Windows 10 devices have made the digital assistant, even if not used, a feature that cannot be easily disabled without losing access to search as well.

While there are options to use third-party search tools like Everything, XSearch or any of these desktop search programs reviewed here, it is probably not something that most users will resort to.

One thing that bothered me ever since Cortana was added to Windows 10 was that it added web search results to search.

I found those to be completely useless as I use search solely to find local items. I have talked about how to turn off web search on Windows before, and how to make the search in Windows 10 really fast.

Note: Before anyone jumps in stating that they like Cortana and Web Searches. That's fine, completely. I'm not saying, don't use Cortana or the built-in functionality, but if you don't, then there is little reason to keep it around, is there?

Cortana: Block outbound network connections

There are two types of outbound network connections that Cortana makes: web search, and "network traffic to to evaluate if certain Cortana components are up-to-date or not".

I don't want to rehash what I described already, so please check out the link above that leads to a resource that explains how to turn off web search on Windows 10.

This article concentrates on the traffic to instead.

Step 1. Open the Group Policy Editor with a tap on the Windows-key, typing gpedit.msc, and hitting enter.

Navigate to Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Windows Firewall with Advanced Security > Windows Firewall with Advanced Security > > Outbound Rules (note: skip LDAP name if not present).

Right-click on Outbound Rules and select > New Rule from the selection menu.

cortana block outbound traffic

Step 2: This opens the New Outbound Rule Wizard. On the Rule Type page, make sure that Program is selected. Click on the next button.

rule type program

Step 3:  Select "this program path" on the Program page, and add the following path using copy and paste to it: %windir%\systemapps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy\SearchUI.exe

Click on Next afterwards.

outbound rule searchui exe

Step 4: Make sure "block the connection" is selected on the Action page. This prevents the program from making outbound connections. Click on the next button.

block connection

Step 5: Make sure Domain, Private and Public are checked on the Profile page.

  • Domain: Applies when a computer is connected to its corporate domain.
  • Private: Applies when a computer is connected to a private network location.
  • Public: Applies when a computer is connected to a public network location.

Click on the next button afterwards.

block domain private public

Step 6: Add a name and an optional description for the new rule, e.g. Block Cortana Outbound Traffic. Click on Finish to close the wizard and add the new rule to the system.

You can hit cancel to prevent the rule from being added to Windows Firewall.

block cortana name

Step 7:  Right-click on the new rule that you have created in the Group Policy editor, and select properties from the context menu.

cortana firewall rule

Step 8:  Switch to the "Protocols and Ports" tab, and make sure the following is listed there:

  • Protocol Type: TCP
  • Local Port: All Ports
  • Remote Port: All ports

block cortana protocol ports

Undo the change

To undo the change, right-click on the firewall rule that you have created and select the delete option from the context menu.

Alternatively, useful for testing, select disable this rule instead which makes sure it is not applied but not deleted.

Third-party firewall

While the configuration path to block Cortana outbound connections may be different, the core parameters that you enter when configuring the new firewall rule are the same:

  • Program path and name: %windir%\systemapps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy\SearchUI.exe
  • Rule: Block all outbound traffic
  • Protocol: TCP
  • Ports: All
Cortana: Block outbound network connections completely
Article Name
Cortana: Block outbound network connections completely
Find out how to block Cortana from making any outbound connection on Microsoft's new Windows 10 operating system.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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