How to fix Cortana after the Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Microsoft hasn’t endorsed the solution, but if you want Cortana back it appears to work

How to fix Cortana after the Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Yesterday, I wrote about a flaw in Windows 10 Anniversary Update that completely disables Cortana on some machines. I have no idea why Anniversary Update clobbers Cortana. All I know is that on a significant number of upgraded machines, Cortana doesn’t appear in the search box, isn’t available on the taskbar’s right-click context menu, and is permanently turned off in Edge.

But sometime yesterday, a solution for the problem appeared.

As best I can tell, a self-described Computer Science student with the handle Ambious first posted the solution on the Microsoft Answers forum:

  1. Start the Registry Editor (type regedit in the search box)
  2. Navigate to
  3. And change the key BingSearchEnabled from 0 to 1

You may have to log off, then back on again, but some report that it works straightaway. Ambious also advises to make sure that all the Cortana flags are set to 1. On the machines I’ve seen, that means you should ensure CanCortanaBeEnabled and CortanaConsent are set to 1.

But there are two problems:

First, Microsoft hasn’t endorsed this approach. Microsoft has had two days and hundreds of publicly visible complaints (not to mention more than 100 Feedback Hub complaints), and as best I can tell, there’s been no official acknowledgment -- and this fix has been ignored.

Second, we don’t know if there are any undesirable side effects to the change. Everything I’ve seen says that setting BingSearchEnabled to 1 is innocuous. But if that’s the case, why is there a Registry entry for it in the first place? Is there something we don’t know about?

Microsoft managed to push the 14393.10 patch less than 24 hours before the general rollout of build 1607. You’d think it could've posted a manual fix in a similar timeframe.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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