LockBit 3.0 ‘Black’ attacks and leaks reveal wormable capabilities and tooling

Reverse-engineering reveals close similarities to BlackMatter ransomware, with some improvements

A postmortem analysis of multiple incidents in which attackers eventually launched the latest version of LockBit ransomware (known variously as LockBit 3.0 or ‘LockBit Black’), revealed the tooling used by at least one affiliate. Sophos’ Managed Detection and Response (MDR) team has observed both ransomware affiliates and legitimate penetration testers use the same collection of tooling over the past 3 months.

Leaked data about LockBit that showed the backend controls for the ransomware also seems to indicate that the creators have begun experimenting with the use of scripting that would allow the malware to “self-spread” using Windows Group Policy Objects (GPO) or the tool PSExec, potentially making it easier for the malware to laterally move and infect computers without the need for affiliates to know how to take advantage of these features for themselves, potentially speeding up the time it takes them to deploy the ransomware and encrypt targets.

A reverse-engineering analysis of the LockBit functionality shows that the ransomware has carried over most of its functionality from LockBit 2.0 and adopted new behaviors that make it more difficult to analyze by researchers. For instance, in some cases it now requires the affiliate to use a 32-character ‘password’ in the command line of the ransomware binary when launched, or else it won’t run, though not all the samples we looked at required the password.

We also observed that the ransomware runs with LocalServiceNetworkRestricted permissions, so it does not need full Administrator-level access to do its damage (supporting observations of the malware made by other researchers).

Most notably, we’ve observed (along with other researchers) that many LockBit 3.0 features and subroutines appear to have been lifted directly from BlackMatter ransomware.

Is LockBit 3.0 just ‘improved’ BlackMatter?

Other researchers previously noted that LockBit 3.0 appears to have adopted (or heavily borrowed) several concepts and techniques from the BlackMatter ransomware family.

We dug into this ourselves, and found a number of similarities which strongly suggest that LockBit 3.0 reuses code from BlackMatter.

Anti-debugging trick

Blackmatter and Lockbit 3.0 use a specific trick to conceal their internal functions calls from researchers. In both cases, the ransomware loads/resolves a Windows DLL from its hash tables, which are based on ROT13.

It will try to get pointers from the functions it needs by searching the PEB (Process Environment Block) of the module. It will then look for a specific binary data marker in the code (0xABABABAB) at the end of the heap; if it finds this marker, it means someone is debugging the code, and it doesn’t save the pointer, so the ransomware quits.

After these checks, it will create a special stub for each API it requires. There are five different types of stubs that can be created (randomly). Each stub is a small piece of shellcode that performs API hash resolution on the fly and jumps to the API address in memory. This adds some difficulties while reversing using a debugger.

Screenshot of disassembler code
LockBit’s 0xABABABAB marker

SophosLabs has put together a CyberChef recipe for decoding these stub shellcode snippets.

Output of a CyberChef recipe
The first stub, as an example (decoded with CyberChef)

Obfuscation of strings

Many strings in both LockBit 3.0 and BlackMatter are obfuscated, resolved during runtime by pushing the obfuscated strings on to the stack and decrypting with an XOR function. In both LockBit and BlackMatter, the code to achieve this is very similar.

Screenshot of disassembler code
BlackMatter’s string obfuscation (image credit: Chuong Dong)

Georgia Tech student Chuong Dong analyzed BlackMatter and showed this feature on his blog, with the screenshot above.

Screenshot of disassembler code
LockBit’s string obfuscation, in comparison

By comparison, LockBit 3.0 has adopted a string obfuscation method that looks and works in a very similar fashion to BlackMatter’s function.

API resolution

LockBit uses exactly the same implementation as BlackMatter to resolve API calls, with one exception: LockBit adds an extra step in an attempt to conceal the function from debuggers.

Screenshot of disassembler code
BlackMatter’s dynamic API resolution (image credit: Chuong Dong)

The array of calls performs precisely the same function in LockBit 3.0.

Screenshot of disassembler code
LockBit’s dynamic API resolution

Hiding threads

Both LockBit and BlackMatter hide threads using the NtSetInformationThread function, with the parameter ThreadHideFromDebugger. As you probably can guess, this means that the debugger doesn’t receive events related to this thread.

Screenshot of disassembler code
LockBit employs the same ThreadHideFromDebugger feature as an evasion technique


LockBit, like BlackMatter, sends ransom notes to available printers.

Screenshot of disassembler code
LockBit can send its ransom notes directly to printers, as BlackMatter can do

Deletion of shadow copies

Both ransomware will sabotage the infected computer’s ability to recover from file encryption by deleting the Volume Shadow Copy files.

LockBit calls the IWbemLocator::ConnectServer method to connect with the local ROOT\CIMV2 namespace and obtain the pointer to an IWbemServices object that eventually calls IWbemServices::ExecQuery to execute the WQL query.

Screenshot of disassembler code
BlackMatter code for deleting shadow copies (image credit: Chuong Dong)

LockBit’s method of doing this is identical to BlackMatter’s implementation, except that it adds a bit of string obfuscation to the subroutine.

Screenshot of disassembler code
LockBit’s deletion of shadow copies

Enumerating DNS hostnames

Both LockBit and BlackMatter enumerate hostnames on the network by calling NetShareEnum.

Screenshot of disassembler code
BlackMatter calls NetShareEnum() to enumerate hostnames… (image credit: Chuong Dong)

In the source code for LockBit, the function looks like it has been copied, verbatim, from BlackMatter.

Screenshot of disassembler code
…as does LockBit

Determining the operating system version

Both ransomware strains use identical code to check the OS version – even using the same return codes (although this is a natural choice, since the return codes are hexadecimal representations of the version number).

Screenshot of disassembler code
BlackMatter’s code for checking the OS version (image credit: Chuong Dong)
Screenshot of disassembler code
LockBit’s OS enumeration routine


Both ransomware contain embedded configuration data inside their binary executables. We noted that LockBit decodes its config in a similar way to BlackMatter, albeit with some small differences.

For instance, BlackMatter saves its configuration in the .rsrc section, whereas LockBit stores it in .pdata

Screenshot of disassembler code
BlackMatter’s config decryption routine (image credit: Chuong Dong)

And LockBit uses a different linear congruential generator (LCG) algorithm for decoding.

Screenshot of disassembler code
LockBit’s config decryption routine

Some researchers have speculated that the close relationship between the LockBit and BlackMatter code indicates that one or more of BlackMatter’s coders were recruited by LockBit; that LockBit bought the BlackMatter codebase; or a collaboration between developers. As we noted in our white paper on multiple attackers earlier this year, it’s not uncommon for ransomware groups to interact, either inadvertently or deliberately.

Either way, these findings are further evidence that the ransomware ecosystem is complex, and fluid. Groups reuse, borrow, or steal each other’s ideas, code, and tactics as it suits them. And, as the LockBit 3.0 leak site (containing, among other things, a bug bounty and a reward for “brilliant ideas”) suggests, that gang in particular is not averse to paying for innovation.

LockBit tooling mimics what legitimate pentesters would use

Another aspect of the way LockBit 3.0’s affiliates are deploying the ransomware shows that they’re becoming very difficult to distinguish from the work of a legitimate penetration tester – aside from the fact that legitimate penetration testers, of course, have been contracted by the targeted company beforehand, and are legally allowed to perform the pentest.

The tooling we observed the attackers using included a package from GitHub called Backstab. The primary function of Backstab is, as the name implies, to sabotage the tooling that analysts in security operations centers use to monitor for suspicious activity in real time. The utility uses Microsoft’s own Process Explorer driver (signed by Microsoft) to terminate protected anti-malware processes and disable EDR utilities. Both Sophos and other researchers have observed LockBit attackers using Cobalt Strike, which has become a nearly ubiquitous attack tool among ransomware threat actors, and directly manipulating Windows Defender to evade detection.

Further complicating the parentage of LockBit 3.0 is the fact that we also encountered attackers using a password-locked variant of the ransomware, called lbb_pass.exe , which has also been used by attackers that deploy REvil ransomware. This may suggest that there are threat actors affiliated with both groups, or that threat actors not affiliated with LockBit have taken advantage of the leaked LockBit 3.0 builder. At least one group, BlooDy, has reportedly used the builder, and if history is anything to go by, more may follow suit.

LockBit 3.0 attackers also used a number of publicly-available tools and utilities that are now commonplace among ransomware threat actors, including the anti-hooking utility GMER, a tool called AV Remover published by antimalware company ESET, and a number of PowerShell scripts designed to remove Sophos products from computers where Tamper Protection has either never been enabled, or has been disabled by the attackers after they obtained the credentials to the organization’s management console.

We also saw evidence the attackers used a tool called Netscan to probe the target’s network, and of course, the ubiquitous password-sniffer Mimikatz.

Incident response makes no distinction

Because these utilities are in widespread use, MDR and Rapid Response treats them all equally – as though an attack is underway – and immediately alerts the targets when they’re detected.

We found the attackers took advantage of less-than-ideal security measures in place on the targeted networks. As we mentioned in our Active Adversaries Report on multiple ransomware attackers, the lack of multifactor authentication (MFA) on critical internal logins (such as management consoles) permits an intruder to use tooling that can sniff or keystroke-capture administrators’ passwords and then gain access to that management console.

It’s safe to assume that experienced threat actors are at least as familiar with Sophos Central and other console tools as the legitimate users of those consoles, and they know exactly where to go to weaken or disable the endpoint protection software. In fact, in at least one incident involving a LockBit threat actor, we observed them downloading files which, from their names, appeared to be intended to remove Sophos protection: sophoscentralremoval-master.zip and sophos-removal-tool-master.zip. So protecting those admin logins is among the most critically important steps admins can take to defend their networks.

For a list of IOCs associated with LockBit 3.0, please see our GitHub.


Sophos X-Ops acknowledges the collaboration of Colin Cowie, Gabor Szappanos, Alex Vermaning, and Steeve Gaudreault in producing this report.

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Industry 4.0: CNC Machine Security Risks Part 3

In this final installation of our three-part blog series, we lay out countermeasures that enterprises can do to protect their machines. We’ll also discuss our responsible disclosure as well as the feedback we got from the vendors we evaluated.


We found that only two of the four vendors analyzed support authentication. Neither of them has authentication enabled by default, which leaves the machines vulnerable to attacks by malicious users. Enabling authentication is essential for protecting Industry 4.0 features from abuse.

Resource access control systems are important for reducing the impact of attacks. Many technologies allow access to all a controller’s resources, which can be dangerous. A correct approach is to adopt resource access control systems that grant limited access. This will help to ensure that only authorized users have access to the controller’s resources and that these resources are protected from unauthorized access.

When it comes to integrators and end users, we suggest these countermeasures:

  • Context-aware industrial intrusion prevention and detection systems (IPS/IDSs): These devices, which have recently seen a surge in popularity in the catalogues of security vendors, are equipped with network engines that can capture real-time traffic associated with industrial protocols to detect attacks.
  • Network segmentation: Correct network architecting is of great importance. As our research has revealed, all the tested machines expose interfaces that could be abused by miscreants.
  • Correct patching: Modern CNC machines are equipped with full-fledged operating systems and complex software, which might inevitably contain security vulnerabilities. This was indeed the case with the machines that we tested.

Responsible Disclosure

We contacted the affected vendors while tackling controllers sequentially, with our first contact in November 2021 and the last one in March 2022. The Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS CERT) at Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency extended invaluable help during the discussion which we are grateful for.

Table 1. A summary of our responsible disclosure process

As of this writing, all four vendors have replied to our concerns and most of them have addressed, to varying degrees, our findings in a reasonable time frame. More importantly, all of them have expressed interest in our research and have decided to improve either their documentation or their communication efforts with their machine manufacturers, with the final effort of offering end users more secure solutions.

To learn more about the security risks faced by CNC machines, download our comprehensive report here.

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Industry 4.0: CNC Machine Security Risks Part 2

In part one, we discussed what numerical control machines do and their basic concepts. These concepts are important to understand the machines better, offering a wider view of their operations. We also laid out how we evaluated the chosen vendors for our research.

For this blog, we will continue discussing our evaluated vendors and highlighting findings that we discovered during our research.


Figure 1. The Haas simulator we used for preliminary testing (left) and the Haas CNC machine (Super Mini Mill 2) by Celada we used for verification (right)

Haas was the first vendor we focused on because of the fast availability of its controller. We began our analysis by conducting port scanning on the controller simulator and identifying the protocols exposed by the controller. After that, we evaluated the options with which an attacker could abuse the protocols to perform attacks aimed at the security of the machine and verified these attacks in practice on a real-world machine installation.


Figure 2. The Okuma simulator we used for the development of the malicious application and during the initial testing

Okuma stands out in the market of CNC controllers for one interesting feature: the modularity of its controller. While the vendor offers in the device’s simplest form a tiny controller, it also provides a mechanism, called THINC API, to highly customize the functionalities of the controller. With this technology, any developer can implement a program that, once installed, runs in the context of the controller, in the form of an extension. This approach is very similar to how a mobile application, once installed, can extend a smartphone’s functionalities.


Figure 3. The Hartford 5A-65E machine, running on a Heidenhain TNC 640 controller, that we used in our experiments at Celada

In the spirit of the Industry 4.0 paradigm, Heidenhain offers the Heidenhain DNC interface to integrate machines on modern, digital shop floors. Among the many scenarios, Heidenhain DNC enables the automatic exchange of data with machine and production data acquisition (MDA/PDA) systems, higher level enterprise resource planning (ERP) and manufacturing execution systems (MESs), inventory management systems, computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems, production activity control systems, simulation tools, and tool management systems

In our evaluation, we had access to the library provided by Heidenhain to the integrators to develop interfaces for the controller. The manufacturer provides this library, called RemoTools SDK,35 to selected partners only.


Figure 4. The Yasuda YMC 430 + RT10 machine, running on a Fanuc controller, that we used in our experiments at the Polytechnic University of Milan

Like Heidenhain, Fanuc offers an interface, called FOCAS,36 for the integration of CNC machines in smart network environments. Even though this technology offers a restricted set of remote-call possibilities compared with the other vendors’ (that is, a limited number of management features), our experiments showed that a miscreant could potentially conduct attacks like damage, DoS, and hijacking.

What we found

As our evaluation identified 18 different attacks (or variations), we grouped them into five classes: compromise, damage, and denial of service (DoS):

Table 1. A summary of the attacks we identified in our research

Controller manufacturers like Haas, Okuma, and Heidenhain have been found to have a similar number of issues, around 15. Fanuc had 10 confirmed attacks. Unfortunately, our research shows that this domain lacks awareness concerning security and privacy. This creates serious and compelling problems.

The need for automation-facing features like remote configuration of tool geometry or parametric programming with values determined by networked resources is becoming more common in manufacturing.

With these findings, we determined countermeasures that enterprises can do to mitigate such risks, which we’ll discuss in our final installation. In the last part, we’ll also discuss our responsible disclosure process.

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Industry 4.0: CNC Machine Security Risks Part 1

Computer numerical controls (CNCs) are machines used to produce products in a factory setting. They have been in use for many years, and in the last decade, their use has become more widespread due to increased connectivity. This increased connectivity has made them more software-dependent and therefore more vulnerable to attacks. This vulnerability is due to the heterogeneity of technologies used in factories and the lack of awareness among users of how to best secure these systems.

This three-part blog series explores the risks associated with CNC machines. We performed a security evaluation on four representative vendors and analyzed technological developments that satisfy the Industry 4 .0 paradigm while conducting practical attacks against real-world installations.

For our research, we picked vendors that are:

  • Are geographically distributed (that is, with headquarters and subsidiaries spread across the world) and resell on a global scale.
  • Have been on the market for decades.
  • Have a large, estimated size, for example, with a total annual revenue of at least a billion US dollars.
  • Use technologies widely adopted in the domain and present in different manufacturing sectors.

Understanding numerical control machines

A machine tool is a device that uses cutting tools to remove material from a workpiece. This process, called machining, results in the desired geometry of the workpiece. Machining is a subtractive process, meaning that the material is removed from the original geometry to create the desired shape.

Numerical control (NC) is a technology that allows machines to be controlled by computers. This technology has revolutionized machine tools, making them more accurate and allowing for greater flexibility in their use. NC machine tools are now widely used in production systems and can be used on other types of machines, such as lasers and bending machines.

Basic concepts

To facilitate the understanding of what we discovered in our research, we introduce some basic concepts related to the use of machine tools:

Figure 1. Parts of a CNC machine
  • Numerical control. The NC is the most critical element of the machine, as it controls the entire process. This system includes visual programming functions to speed up the setup of production cycles. Additionally, the NC is always equipped with a human-machine interface (HMI) to facilitate operator interaction with control.
  • Programming. Initially developed in the 1950s, G-code (aka RS-274) is the predominant programming language in the world of machine tools. It is presented as a series of instructions initialized by a letter address, which follow one another on successive lines separated by paragraph breaks; each of these lines is called a “block.” Each letter address specifies the type of movement or function called by the user in that part of the program.
  • Parametric programming. Parametric programming is a way to make programs that are adjustable to different values. This is done by using variables that the user can input, and then the program will change based on those values. This is used in machine tools to help with things like feedback and closed-loop controls between production systems.
  • Single step. This allows for running the work program one line of code at a time. In this way, the operator can check the correspondence of executed code to the best possible working conditions and determine if intervention by modification is necessary.
  • Feed hold. The “feed hold” function is mainly used to check the correct execution of complex features by inspecting the work area before proceeding with further steps in the process. In fact, chips coming from the removal of the material being processed could be deposited in work areas or on measuring probes, potentially invalidating the measurements, or inducing defects downstream of the machining if they are not removed.
  • Tools. The machining process is a manufacturing technique that uses an element called a tool to remove excess material from a raw piece. The tool cutting is made possible by the relative speed between the manufacturing part and the cutting tool edge, also known as the cutting speed or surface speed. In addition to this parameter, the feed rate (speed of tool moving along workpiece) also affects chip removal process. Many types of tools are available depending on the type of processing needed.

Evaluating vendors

For all vendors that we included in our research scope, we conducted an equal evaluation of their machines:

  • The “Industry 4.0–ready” technologies are interfaces and related protocols used by machines in smart environments to transmit information outwards, towards centralized systems like production data for better management or cost reduction; they also enable remote management such that an operator can change the executed program without needing local access.
  • We identified potential vulnerabilities in the exposed services using automated scanners like Nessus. These included known or misconfigurations that could pose as dangerous, which we ignored to focus on domain-specific abuse cases for CNC interfaces instead.
  • We then went deep into the CNC-specific technologies previously identified, by analyzing the risks of abuses and conducting practical attacks on the controllers. For this, we developed attack tools that exploited the weaknesses we identified in the domain-specific interfaces with the aid of proprietary APIs we got access to.
  • We collected evidence of our concerns and collaborated with vendors to suggest mitigations. All evidence came from tests we conducted on real-world installations, but we also used simulators for preliminary testing or when the machines were not immediately available.

Now that we have established a better understanding of numerical control machines and their basic concepts, we will further explore the vendors we chose for this research in part two of the series. There, we’ll discuss how we evaluated vendors and what we discovered during our research.

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7 Cyber Security Tips for SMBs

When the headlines focus on breaches of large enterprises like the Optus breach, it’s easy for smaller businesses to think they’re not a target for hackers. Surely, they’re not worth the time or effort?

Unfortunately, when it comes to cyber security, size doesn’t matter.

Assuming you’re not a target leads to lax security practices in many SMBs who lack the knowledge or expertise to put simple security steps in place. Few small businesses prioritise cybersecurity, and hackers know it. According to Verizon, the number of smaller businesses being hit has climbed steadily in the last few years – 46% of cyber breaches in 2021 impacted businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees.

Cyber security doesn’t need to be difficult#

Securing any business doesn’t need to be complex or come with a hefty price tag. Here are seven simple tips to help the smaller business secure their systems, people and data.

1 — Install anti-virus software everywhere#

Every organisation has anti-virus on their systems and devices, right? Unfortunately, business systems such as web servers get overlooked all too often. It’s important for SMBs to consider all entry points into their network and have anti-virus deployed on every server, as well as on employees’ personal devices.

Hackers will find weak entry points to install malware, and anti-virus software can serve as a good last-resort backstop, but it’s not a silver bullet. Through continuous monitoring and penetration testing you can identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities before hackers do, because it’s easier to stop a burglar at the front door than once they’re in your home.

2 — Continuously monitor your perimeter#

Your perimeter is exposed to remote attacks because it’s available 24/7. Hackers constantly scan the internet looking for weaknesses, so you should scan your own perimeter too. The longer a vulnerability goes unfixed, the more likely an attack is to occur. With tools like Autosploit and Shodan readily available, it’s easier than ever for attackers to discover internet facing weaknesses and exploit them.

Even organisations that cannot afford a full-time, in-house security specialist can use online services like Intruder to run vulnerability scans to uncover weaknesses.

Intruder is a powerful vulnerability scanner that provides a continuous security review of your systems. With over 11,000 security checks, Intruder makes enterprise-grade scanning easy and accessible to SMBs.

Intruder will promptly identify high-impact flaws, changes in the attack surface, and rapidly scan your infrastructure for emerging threats.

3 — Minimise your attack surface#

Your attack surface is made up of all the systems and services exposed to the internet. The larger the attack surface, the bigger the risk. This means exposed services like Microsoft Exchange for email, or content management systems like WordPress can be vulnerable to brute-forcing or credential-stuffing, and new vulnerabilities are discovered almost daily in such software systems. By removing public access to sensitive systems and interfaces which don’t need to be accessible to the public, and ensuring 2FA is enabled where they do, you can limit your exposure and greatly reduce risk.

A simple first step in reducing your attack surface is by using a secure virtual private network (VPN). By using a VPN, you can avoid exposing sensitive systems directly to the internet whilst maintaining their availability to employees working remotely. When it comes to risk, prevention is better than cure – don’t expose anything to the internet unless it’s absolutely necessary!

4 — Keep software up to date#

New vulnerabilities are discovered daily in all kinds of software, from web browsers to business applications. Just one unpatched weakness could lead to full compromise of a system and a breach of customer data; as TalkTalk discovered when 150,000 of its private data records were stolen.

According to a Cyber Security Breaches Survey, businesses that hold electronic personal data of their customers are more likely than average to have had breaches. Patch management is an essential component of good cyber hygiene, and there are tools and services to help you check your software for any missing security patches.

5 — Back up your data #

Ransomware is on the increase. In 2021, 37% of businesses and organisations were hit by ransomware according to research by Sophos. Ransomware encrypts any data it can access, rendering it unusable, and can’t be reversed without a key to decrypt the data.

Data loss is a key risk to any business either through malicious intent or a technical mishap such as hard disk failure, so backing up data is always recommended. If you back up your data, you can counter attackers by recovering your data without needing to pay the ransom, as systems affected by ransomware can be wiped and restored from an unaffected backup without the attacker’s key.

6 — Keep your staff security aware#

Cyber attackers often rely on human error, so it’s vital that staff are trained in cyber hygiene so they recognise risks and respond appropriately. The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022 revealed that the most common types of breaches were staff receiving fraudulent emails or phishing attacks (73%), followed by people impersonating the organisation in emails or online (27%), viruses, spyware and malware (12%), and ransomware (4%).

Increasing awareness of the benefits of using complex passwords and training staff to spot common attacks such as phishing emails and malicious links, will ensure your people are a strength rather than a vulnerability.

— Protect yourself relative to your risk#

Cyber security measures should always be appropriate to the organisation. For example, a small business which handles banking transactions or has access to sensitive information such as healthcare data should employ far more stringent security processes and practices than a pet shop.

That’s not to say a pet shop doesn’t have a duty to protect customer data, but it’s less likely to be a target. Hackers are motivated by money, so the bigger the prize the more time and effort will be invested to achieve their gains. By identifying your threats and vulnerabilities with a tool like Intruder, you can take appropriate steps to mitigate and prioritize which risks need to be addressed and in which order.

It’s time to raise your cyber security game#

Attacks on large companies dominate the news, which feeds the perception that SMBs are safe, when the opposite is true. Attacks are increasingly automated, so SMBs are just as vulnerable targets as larger enterprises, more so if they don’t have adequate security processes in place. And hackers will always follow the path of least resistance. Fortunately, that’s the part Intruder made easy…

About Intruder#

Intruder is a cyber security company that helps organisations reduce their attack surface by providing continuous vulnerability scanning and penetration testing services. Intruder’s powerful scanner is designed to promptly identify high-impact flaws, changes in the attack surface, and rapidly scan the infrastructure for emerging threats. Running thousands of checks, which include identifying misconfigurations, missing patches, and web layer issues, Intruder makes enterprise-grade vulnerability scanning easy and accessible to everyone. Intruder’s high-quality reports are perfect to pass on to prospective customers or comply with security regulations, such as ISO 27001 and SOC 2.

Intruder offers a 14-day free trial of its vulnerability assessment platform. Visit their website today to take it for a spin!

Found this article interesting? Follow us on Twitter  and LinkedIn to read more exclusive content we post.

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How to Install and Configure Free Hyper-V Server 2019/2016?

Microsoft Hyper-V Server is a free version of Windows hypervisor that can be used to run virtual machines. In this guide, we’ll look at how to install and configure Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2019  (this guide also applies to Hyper-V Server 2016).


Microsoft announced that they won’t not be releasing a Hyper-V Server 2022 version. This is because they are currently focusing on another strategic product, Azure Stack HCI.

Hyper-V Server 2019 is suitable for those who don’t want to pay for a hardware virtualization operating system. The Hyper-V has no restrictions and is completely free. Key benefits of Microsoft Hyper-V Server:

  • Support of all popular OSs. There are no compatibility problems. All Windows and modern Linux and FreeBSD operating systems support Hyper-V;
  • A lot of different ways to backup virtual machines: simple scripts, open-source software, free and commercial versions of popular backup programs;
  • Although Hyper-V Server doesn’t have a Windows Server GUI (graphical management interface), you can manage it remotely using a standard Hyper-V Manager console or Windows Admin Center web interface;
  • Hyper-V Server is based on a popular Windows Server platform, familiar and easy to work with;
  • You can install Hyper-V on a pseudoRAID, for example, Inter RAID controller, or Windows software RAID;
  • You do not need to license your hypervisor, it is suitable for VDI or Linux VMs;
  • Low hardware requirements. Your processor must support software virtualization (Intel-VT or VMX by Intel, AMD-V/ SVM by AMD) and second-level address translation (SLAT) (Intel EPT or AMD RV). These processor options must be enabled in BIOS/UEFI/nested host. You can find full system requirements on the Microsoft website;
  • It is recommended to install Hyper-V on hosts with at least 4 GB RAM.

Do not confuse a Windows Server 2022/2019/2016 (Full GUI or Server Core edition) with the Hyper-V role installed with Free Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2019/2016. These are different products.

It is worth to note that if you are using a free hypervisor, you are still responsible for licensing your virtual machines. You can run any number of VMs running any open-source OS, like Linux, but you have to license your Windows virtual machines. If you are using Windows Server as a guest OS, you must license it by the number of physical cores on your Hyper-V host. See more details on Windows Server licensing in a virtual environment here 

What’s New in Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2019?

Let’s consider the new Hyper-V Server 2019 features in brief:

  • Added support for Shielded Virtual Machines for Linux;
  • VM configuration version 9.0 (with hibernation support);
  • ReFS deduplication support;
  • Core App Compatibility: the ability to run additional graphic management panels in the Hyper-V server console;
  • Support for 2-node Hyper-V cluster and cross-domain cluster migration

How to Install Hyper-V Server 2019/2016?

You can download Hyper-V Server 2019 ISO install image here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-hyper-v-server-2019.

download microsoft hyper-v server 2019 iso image

After clicking on the “Continue” button, a short registration form will appear. Fill in your data and select the language of the OS to be installed. Wait till the Hyper-V image download is over. The .iso file size is about 3 GB.

hyper-v server download

Installing Microsoft Hyper-V Server is identical to installing Windows 10/11 on a desktop computer. Just boot your server (computer) from the bootable USB flash drive with the Microsoft Hyper-V Server installation image (the easiest way to burn the ISO image to a USB drive is to use the Rufus tool). Then follow the instructions of the Windows setup wizard.

install hyper-v server 2019

Manage Hyper-V Server Basic Settings Using Sconfig

After the installation, the system will prompt you to change the administrator password. Change it, and you will get to the hypervisor console.

set hyper-v administrator password

Please note that Hyper-V Server does not have a familiar Windows GUI. You will have to configure most settings through the command line.

sconfig tool - configure hyper-v basic settings

There are two windows on the desktop — the standard command prompt and the sconfig.cmd script window. You can use this script to perform the initial configuration of your Hyper-V server. Enter the number of the menu item you are going to work with in the “Enter number to select an option:” line.

  1. The first menu item allows you to join your server to an AD domain or a workgroup; join hyper-v to domain or workgroup
  2. Set a hostname for your Hyper-V Server;
  3. Create a local administrator user (another account, besides the built-in administrator account). I’d like to note that when you enter the local administrator password, the cursor stays in the same place. However, the password and its confirmation are successfully entered;
  4. Enable remote access to your server. Thus, you will be able to manage it using Server Manager, MMC consoles, and PowerShell, connect via RDP, check its availability using ping or tracert;
  5. Configure Windows Update. Select one of the three modes:
    • Automatic (automatic update download and installation)
    • DownloadOnly (only download without installation)
    • Manual (the administrator decides whether to download or install the updates)
  6. Download and install the latest Windows security updates.
  7. Enable RDP access with/without NLA.
  8. Configure your network adapter settings. By default, your server receives the IP address from the DHCP server. It is better to configure the static IP address here;configuring ip addres on hyper-v server
  9. Set the date and time of your system.
  10. Configure the telemetry. The Hyper-V won’t allow you to disable it completely. Select the mode you want. hyper-v telemetry settings

You can also configure the date, time, and time zone using the following command:

control timedate.cpl

Regional settings:

control intl.cpl

These commands will open standard Windows consoles.

set time and date on hyper-v

Note! If you accidentally close all windows and see the black Hyper-V screen, press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to start the Task Manager (this keyboard shortcut works in an RDP session as well). You can use Task Manager to start the command prompt or the Hyper-V configuration tool (click File -> Run Task -> cmd.exe or sconfig.cmd).

How to Remotely Manage Hyper-V Server 2019?

To conveniently manage Free Hyper-V Server 2019 from the graphic interface, you can use:

  • Windows Admin Center – a web-based console;
  • Hyper-V Manager — can be installed both on Windows Server and Windows 10/11 desktop computers.

To manage the Hyper-V Server 2016/2019, you will need a computer running x64 Windows 10/11 Pro or Enterprise edition.

Remotely Manage a Non-Domain Hyper-V Server with Hyper-V Manager

Let’s look at how to remotely connect to a Hyper-V Server host from another Windows computer using the Hyper-V Manager console. In this article, we assume that you have a Hyper-V Server and a Windows 10 computer in the same workgroup.

First, make settings on the Hyper-V Server. Start the PowerShell console (powershell.exe) and run the following commands:

Enable-WSManCredSSP -Role server

Answer YES to all questions. Thus you will configure the automatic startup of the WinRM service and enable remote management rules in your firewall.

hyper-v: enable winrm and credssp server

Now let’s move on to setting up the Windows 10 or 11 client computer that you will use to manage your Hyper-V Server host.

The Hyper-V server must be accessible by its hostname.  In the domain network, it must correspond to the A-record on the DNS server. In a workgroup environment, you will have to create the A record manually on your local DNS or add it to the hosts file (C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts) on a client computer. In our case, it looks like this:  HV19

You can add an entry to the hosts file using PowerShell:

Add-Content -Path "C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts" -Value " hv19"

Add your Hyper-V server to the trusted host list:

Set-Item WSMan:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts -Value "hv19"

If the account you are using on a client computer differs from the Hyper-V administrator account (and it should be so), you will have to explicitly save your credentials used to connect to the Hyper-V server to the Windows Credential Manager. To do it, run this command:

cmdkey /add:hv19 /user:Administrator /pass:HV1Pa$$w0drd

Check the network profile you are using on the Windows 10 client. If the network type is Public, you need to change the location to Private:

Get-NetConnectionProfile|select InterfaceAlias,NetworkCategory

windows: set network category to private

Set-NetConnectionProfile -InterfaceAlias "EthernetLAN2" -NetworkCategory Private

Run the command:

Enable-WSManCredSSP -Role client -DelegateComputer "hv19"

enable-wsmancredssp client

Now run the gpedit.msc command to open the Local Group Policy Editor.

  1. Navigate to Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System -> Credentials Delegation;
  2. Enable the parameter Allow Delegating Fresh Credentials with NTLM-only Server Authentication;
  3. Click the Show button and add two string values: wsman/hv19 and wsman/hv19.local
  4. Close the GPO editor console and update your local group policy settings using the command gpupdate /force
gpo: allow delegating ntlm credentials for hyper-v server

Now you need to install the Hyper-V Manager console in Windows. Open the Programs and Features snap-in and go to Turn Windows Features on or off. In the next window, find Hyper-V, and check Hyper-V GUI Management Tools to install it.

Also, you can install the Hyper-V Manager snap-in on Windows 10/11 using PowerShell:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online –FeatureName Microsoft-Hyper-V-Management-Clients

install hyper-v manager gui on windows 10

Run the Hyper-V Manager snap-in (virtmgmt.msc), right-click Hyper-V Manager and select Connect to Server. Specify the name of your Hyper-V Server.

hyperv manager: connect remote server

Now you can manage Hyper-V Server settings, and create and manage virtual machines from the graphical console.

manage hyper-v server from win10

Managing Hyper-V Server with Windows Admin Center

You can use the Windows Admin Center (WAC) to remotely manage a Hyper-V Server host. WAC is a web-based console and dashboard to manage Windows Server, Server Core, and Hyper-V Server hosts.

Enable the rules to allow SMB connections in Windows Defender Firewall on the Hyper-V Server:

Set-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "File and Printer Sharing" -Enabled true -PassThru

Now you need to download (https://aka.ms/WACDownload) and install the Windows Admin Center agent on your Hyper-V host. Download WindowsAdminCenter2110.2.msi on any Windows computer. You can copy the installation MSI file to the Hyper-V Server using a remote SMB connection to the administrative share C$. Run the following command on your Windows client device:

Win+R -> \\\C$ and enter the Hyper-V administrator password. Create a folder and copy the MSI file to the Hyper-V Server host.

copy windowsadmincenter.msi to hyperv server

Now run the WAC installation from the Hyper-V console:


install windows admin center on hyper-v

Install WAC with default settings.

You can secure your remote connection using WinRM over HTTPS.

After the installation is complete, you can connect to your Hyper-V Server from a browser, just go to the URL https:\\

You will see the dashboard of your Hyper-V Server host. Here you can check basic information about the server, resources used, etc.

WAC Hyper-V dashboard

Hyper-V host settings can be configured under WAC -> Settings -> Hyper-V Host Settings. The following sections are available:

  • General
  • Enhanced Session Mode
  • NUMA Spanning
  • Live Migration
  • Storage Migration
Configure Microsoft Hyper-V Server using Windows Admin Center web console

You will primarily use two sections in the WAC console to manage Hyper-V:

WAC: manage Hyper-V VMs from browser

Next, I will look at some ways to manage Hyper-V Server settings using PowerShell

Configuring Hyper-V Server 2019 Host with PowerShell

You can configure Hyper-V Server settings using PowerShell. There are over 238 cmdlets available in the Hyper-V module for managing Hyper-V hosts and VMs.

Get-Command –Module Hyper-V | Measure-Object

Configure the automatic start of the PowerShell console (instead of cmd.exe) after logon.

New-ItemProperty -path HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\run -Name PowerShell -Value "cmd /c start /max C:\Windows\system32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe -noExit" -Type string

set powershell.exe as a default processor on hyper-v server

Now, when you log into the server, a PowerShell prompt will appear.

How to Configure Hyper-V Server 2019 Network Settings with PowerShell?

If you have not set the network settings using sconfig.cmd, you configure them through PowerShell. Using Get-NetIPConfiguration cmdlet, you can view the current IP configuration of network interfaces.

Get-NetIPConfiguration - view ip setting on hyper-v

Use PowerShell to assign a static IP address, netmask, default gateway, and DNS server addresses. You can get the network adapter index (InterfaceIndex) from the output of the previous cmdlet.

New-NetIPAddress -InterfaceIndex 4 -IPAddress -DefaultGateway -PrefixLength 24

set ip addres on hyper-v server using New-NetIPAddress

Set-DnsClientServerAddress -InterfaceIndex 4 -ServerAddresses,


To configure IPv6, get the interface name using the Get-NetAdapter cmdlet from the PowerShell NetTCPIP module.


Check the current IPv6 setting using the following command:

Get-NetAdapterBinding -InterfaceDescription "Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Network Connection" | Where-Object -Property DisplayName -Match IPv6 | Format-Table –AutoSize

hyper-v set ipv6 settings powershell

You can disable IPv6 as follows:

Disable-NetAdapterBinding -InterfaceDescription "Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Network Connection " -ComponentID ms_tcpip6

Enable Hyper-V Remote Management Firewall Rules

You can view the list of cmdlets to manage Windows Firewall using Get-Command:

Get-Command -Noun *Firewall* -Module NetSecurity

powershell NetSecurity module to manage firewall on hyper-v host

To allow full remote management of your server, run the following commands one by one to enable Windows Firewall rules using PowerShell:

Enable-NetFireWallRule -DisplayName "Windows Management Instrumentation (DCOM-In)"
Enable-NetFireWallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Event Log Management"
Enable-NetFireWallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Service Management"
Enable-NetFireWallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Volume Management"
Enable-NetFireWallRule -DisplayGroup "Windows Defender Firewall Remote Management"
Enable-NetFireWallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Scheduled Tasks Management"

Configuring Hyper-V Storage for Virtual Machines

We will use a separate partition on a physical disk to store Hyper-V files (virtual machine files and iso files). View the list of physical disks on your server.


Get-Disk - get physical disk info

Create a new partition of the largest possible size on the drive and assign the drive letter D: to it. Use the DiskNumber from Get-Disk results.

New-Partition -DiskNumber 0 -DriveLetter D –UseMaximumSize

Then format the partition to NTFS and specify its label:

Format-Volume -DriveLetter D -FileSystem NTFS -NewFileSystemLabel "VMStorage"

Learn more on how to manage disks and partitions using PowerShell.

Create a directory where you will store virtual machine settings and vhdx files using the New-Item cmdlet:

New-Item -Path "D:\HyperV\VHD" -Type Directory

Create D:\ISO folder to store OS installation ISO images (distros):

New-Item -Path D:\ISO -ItemType Directory

In order to create a shared network folder, use the New-SmbShare cmdlet. Grant full access permissions to the local server administrators group:

New-SmbShare -Path D:\ISO -Name ISO -Description "OS Distributives" -FullAccess "BUILTIN\Administrators"

For more information on the basic configuration of Hyper-V Server and Windows Server Core from the command line, see this article.

Configure Hyper-V Server Host Settings with PowerShell

List current Hyper-V Server host settings using this command:

Get-VMHost | Format-List

Set-VMHost - change hyper-v server settings via powershell

By default, Hyper-V stores virtual machine configuration files and virtual disks on the same partition where your operating system is installed. It is recommended to store VM files on a separate drive (partition). You can change the default VM folder path with this command:

Set-VMHost -VirtualMachinePath D:\Hyper-V -VirtualHardDiskPath 'D:\HyperV\VHD'

Creating a Virtual Switch for Hyper-V VMs

Create an external switch connected to the physical NIC of the Hyper-V server. Your virtual machines will access the physical network through this network adapter.

Check the SR-IOV (Single-Root Input/Output (I/O) Virtualization) support:


Get the list of connected network adapters:

Get-NetAdapter | where {$_.status -eq "up"}

Bind your virtual switch to the network adapter and enable SR-IOV support if it is available.

Hint. You won’t be able to enable or disable SR-IOV support after creating the vswitch. You will have to recreate the switch to change this parameter.

New-VMSwitch -Name "Extenal_network" -NetAdapterName "Ethernet 2" -EnableIov 1

Use these cmdlets to check your virtual switch settings:

Get-NetIPConfiguration –Detailed

This completes the initial setup of Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2016/2019. You can move on to creating and configuring your virtual machines.

We described PowerShell commands for managing Hyper-V and virtual machines in more detail in this article.

Source :

5 Best Ways to Enable or Disable Hibernate Mode in Windows 11

In this article, I will show you how to enable Hibernate mode in Windows 11 using different methods. We will explore different methods to turn on hibernate mode which includes Intune, Registry, Group Policy, Command Prompt and Control Panel.

In Windows, the Hibernate mode allows you to completely shut down your computer while conserving your work, allowing you to immediately resume where you left off the next time you turn on your computer.

Hibernate mode is similar to Sleep mode in Windows. The primary difference is that in Hibernate mode, the documents, and apps that are currently open are saved to a file on your hard disk rather than in RAM as in Sleep mode. Hibernate mode consumes less power than Sleep mode which is a big advantage. However, it can use gigabytes of disk space.

When you use Hibernate mode, your work is saved in a hidden file named hiberfil.sys. This hiberfil.sys file is responsible for managing computer hibernation, helping your computer restart from the hibernate power state. Although hiberfil.sys is a hidden and protected system file, it is safe to delete it if you do not wish to employ Windows’ power-saving capabilities.

According to Microsoft, use hibernation when you know that you won’t use your laptop or tablet for an extended period and won’t have an opportunity to charge the battery during that time. Windows 11 doesn’t come with hibernate mode enabled by default. You have to manually enable it from Windows settings.

RelatedProhibit Access to Control Panel and PC Settings using Intune

Why is the Hibernate option missing on Windows 11 PC?

When you install Windows 11 or upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11, you’ll notice that the Hibernate option is missing from the Power options menu. This is by design and Microsoft allows users to use the Sleep option instead of Hibernate. Although, the hibernate option is not enabled on your Windows 11 PC, you can turn it on or off when required.

Hibernate option missing on Windows 11
Hibernate option missing on Windows 11

RelatedConfigure Interactive Logon Message Using Intune

Ways to Turn on Hibernate Mode in Windows 11

There are multiple ways that you can use to turn on the hibernate mode in Windows 11. Some of these methods include:

  • Turn on the hibernate mode using Control Panel.
  • Activate the hibernate mode using Command Prompt.
  • Use Windows Registry to enable the hibernate mode in Windows 11.
  • Enable Hibernate option using Intune on Windows 11 endpoints.
  • Deploy GPO to enable or disable the Hibernate option.

I will cover all the methods in this post that will help you turn on the hibernate mode in Windows 11.

Method 1: Turn on Hibernate Mode in Windows 11 from Control Panel

The method is easiest and recommended way to enable the hibernate option in Windows 11 is using control panel. Select Search on the taskbar, type ‘control panel‘, and select it from the results. When the control panel launches, select System and Security.

Control Panel - System and Security
Control Panel – System and Security

In the Power Options section, select Change what the power buttons do.

Select Power Button options
Select Power Button options

By default, the option to enable Hibernate is greyed out because the changes that you make here applies to all your power plans. Select Change settings that are currently unavailable.

Turn on Hibernate Mode in Windows 11 from Control Panel
Turn on Hibernate Mode in Windows 11 from Control Panel

In the Shutdown settings section, select Hibernate. This allows the Hibernate Mode to show up on the Power Menu. Click on Save changes to complete the process.

Turn on Hibernate Mode in Windows 11 from Control Panel
Turn on Hibernate Mode in Windows 11 from Control Panel

To verify if the hibernate option is enabled, click on Start and select the Power button. The option for hibernate mode should be available.

Windows 11 Hibernate Option in Power Menu
Windows 11 Hibernate Option in Power Menu

To disable the hibernate option, click start and launch the control panel. Click System and Security and in the Power Options section, select Change what the power buttons do. Select Change settings that are currently unavailable. In the Shutdown settings section, uncheck the Hibernate option and click Save changes. This will immediately disable the hibernate option from Windows 11 power options.

Disable Hibernate Mode on Windows 11
Disable Hibernate Mode on Windows 11

Also ReadProhibit Access to Control Panel and PC Settings using Intune

Method 2: Use Command Prompt to Turn on Hibernate mode in Windows 11

Command Prompt in Windows lets you run manage Windows Power plans on a Windows PC. You can also use Windows Terminal instead of command prompt to perform the same tasks. Enabling the Hibernate mode using command prompt is effortless.

  • In the Windows Start Menu, type Command Prompt in the text box and hit enter.
  • From the search results, run Command Prompt as administrator.
  • Run the command “powercfg.exe /hibernate on” to enable the Hibernate mode on Windows 11.
Use Command Prompt to Turn on Hibernate mode in Windows 11
Use Command Prompt to Turn on Hibernate mode in Windows 11

To disable the hibernate mode using command prompt, run the command “powercfg.exe /hibernate off” and this will turn off the Hibernate mode on Windows 11.

Note: You cannot enable Hibernation on a VM when the firmware doesn’t support it. You will encounter the following error. Hibernation failed with the following error: The request is not supported. The following items are preventing hibernation on this system. The system firmware does not support hibernation.

The system firmware does not support hibernation
The system firmware does not support hibernation

RelatedFind MAC Address on Windows 11 PC using 6 Best Methods

Method 3: Enable Hibernate Mode using Registry

You can also use Windows Registry to enable the hibernate mode on Windows devices if the previous methods don’t have the desired results. Press the Windows+R key to bring up the Run dialog box. Type in Regedit and press OK to open the Windows Registry Editor.

In the Registry editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power. Here you should find the HibernateEnabled registry setting and the value of the setting lets you enable or disable the hibernate mode in Windows 11.

  • HibernateEnabled = 1 – The value 1 indicates the Hibernate option is enabled.
  • HibernateEnabled = 0 – The value 0 indicates the Hibernate option is disabled.
Use Windows Registry to Enable Hibernate Mode
Use Windows Registry to Enable Hibernate Mode

On the right panel, double-click on HibernateEnabled. This will bring up the Edit DWORD Value box. Change the value to 1 to enable hibernate mode and click OK.

Enable Hibernate Mode in Windows 11 using Registry
Enable Hibernate Mode in Windows 11 using Registry

After making the above modifications to the registry, restart the computer. Once restarted, you will find that hibernate mode is enabled on your system when you access the Start Menu.

Related ArticleHow to Enable Telnet on Windows 11 | Disable Telnet

Method 4: Enable Hibernate Mode using Intune via Settings Catalog

The Intune Settings Catalog policy makes it easier for MEM Admins to add, configure, customize and manage device and user policy settings. With Intune, you can deploy a policy setting to Show hibernate in the power options menu. You can also configure power options using Intune.

Also ReadDisable Windows 11 Lock Screen | Intune | GPO | Registry

We will now create a Device Configuration Profile to enable hibernate on Windows devices using Intune.

  • First, sign in to the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center.
  • Go to Devices > Windows > Configuration Profiles.
  • Create a new Intune Configuration profile and define the settings to turn on hibernate mode.

On Windows Configuration Profiles window, select Create Profile. On the Create a Profile window, select Platform as Windows 10 and later. Select profile type as Settings Catalog. Click Create. On the Basics tab, specify the name of the profile to Enable Hibernate Mode on Windows Devices, and you may add a profile description. Click Next.

Enable Hibernate Mode using Intune
Enable Hibernate Mode using Intune

On the Configuration Settings section, under Settings Catalog, click Add Settings.

Enable Hibernate Mode using Intune
Enable Hibernate Mode using Intune

On the Settings picker window, type “Hibernate” in the search box and click on Search. From the search results, select Power. Enable the option “Allow Hibernate“. This policy setting decides if hibernate on the machine is allowed or not. Supported values: 0 – Disable hibernate. 1 (default) – Allow hibernate.

Turn on Allow Hibernate
Turn on Allow Hibernate

Next, on the same page, select Administrative Templates\Windows Components\File Explorer. Now enable the setting “Show hibernate in the power options menu“.

  • Show hibernate in the power options menu: Shows or hides hibernate from the power options menu. If you enable this policy setting, the hibernate option will be shown in the Power Options menu (as long as it is supported by the machine’s hardware). If you disable this policy setting, the hibernate option will never be shown in the Power Options menu. If you do not configure this policy setting, users will be able to choose whether they want hibernate mode to show through the Power Options Control Panel.
Enable Hibernate Mode using Intune
Enable Hibernate Mode using Intune

On the Configuration Settings tab, ensure the following two settings are enabled:

  • Show hibernate in the power options menu
  • Allow hibernate

Click Next to continue.

Turn on hibernate mode using Intune
Turn on hibernate mode using Intune

In Intune, Scope tags determine which objects admins can see. On the Scope tags section, you specify scope tags. Click Next. On the Assignments tab, specify the groups to which you want to target this policy. Click Next.

On the Review+Create tab, review all the settings defined to enable hibernate on Windows 11 and select Create. After you create a device configuration policy in Intune, a notification appears “Policy created successfully“.

You must wait for the Intune Policy to apply to the targeted groups and once the devices check-in with the Intune service they will receive your profile settings. You can also force sync Intune policies on your computers. Once the policy applies to the devices, you can verify if the hibernate option shows by clicking the start menu and selecting the power button. This completes the steps to enable hibernate mode in Windows 11 using Intune.

Turn on hibernate mode using Intune
Turn on hibernate mode using Intune

Method 5: Enable or Disable Hibernate Mode using Group Policy

Group Policy is a fast and effective way to configure Hibernate on multiple PCs. When you want to turn on hibernate mode for multiple Windows 11 PCs, GPO is the best choice for administrators.

With GPO, you enable the hibernate mode and even disable it when it’s not required. Here are the steps to enable hibernate option in Group Policy:

  • On your domain controller, launch the Group Policy Management console.
  • Create a new Group Policy Object and name it “Enable Hibernate Mode
  • Right-click on “Enable Hibernate Mode” and select Edit. This will bring up Group Policy Management Editor.
  • Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrator Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer.
  • On the right pane, double-click the setting “Show hibernate in the power options menu” and set it to Enabled.
Enable or Disable Hibernate Mode using Group Policy
Enable or Disable Hibernate Mode using Group Policy

Ensure the GPO is linked to a OU or you may link it to entire domain to apply the settings for all computers. Wait for the GPO to refresh on the remote computers. Alternatively, you can force a GP Update through Command Prompt by running the command GPUpdate /force. The hibernate option show now show up on Power options menu.

To disable the hibernate mode in Windows 11, double-click the setting “Show hibernate in the power options menu” and set it to Disabled.

Source :

Windows 11 Build Numbers Version Numbers & Release Dates

This article lists all the Windows 11 build numbers, Windows 11 version numbers, and release date details. The Windows 11 build numbers are frequently updated, and this article will also be updated frequently.

As per Microsoft, Windows 11 will have an annual feature update cadence. Windows 11 feature updates will be released in the second half of the calendar year. The new updates will come with 24 months of support for Home, Pro, Pro for Workstations, and Pro Education editions. For the Enterprise and Education editions, there are 36 months of support.

Microsoft has released two significant updates since the launch of Windows 11, namely 21H2 and 22H2. The newest version is 22H2, also referred to as the Windows 11 2022 update. Eligible devices should get the Windows 11 22H2 update via Windows Update.

Windows 11’s build number follows a standard format, which I will go into more detail about in one of the topics. If you’re seeking information on the Windows 11 version history, I’ve covered nearly all the updates in this article.

Recommended ArticleLearn how to create SCCM Device Collection for Windows 11

Upgrading Windows 10 to Windows 11

Windows 11 will be offered as a free upgrade to eligible Windows 10 devices using a phased and measured approach with a focus on quality. The latest version of Windows 11 is version 22H2, and the update is also offered to customers via Windows Update. Listed below are some guides that will help you upgrade to Windows 11 in production.

How to Find Windows 11 Build Number

The build number shows the specific build of operating system that you are running. Every Windows operating system gets assigned with a unique build number. The build number of Windows 11 changes whenever there is a new version released.

For example, the Windows 11 versions 21H2 and 22H2 have the following build numbers.

  • Windows 11 Version 22H2 (original release) – The OS build number is 22621.
  • Windows 11 Version 21H2 (original release) – The OS build number is 22000.

There are many ways to find the build number of the Windows 11 OS, and this is the quickest method. Right-click on Start and select Run. In the Run box, type “winver” and press enter. This will bring up the About Windows pop-up, and here you can see the version and OS build of Windows 11.

For example, in the below screenshot, the “About Windows” shows Windows 11 version as 21H2 and OS build 22000.978. Click OK to close the window.

Windows 11 Versions Build Numbers
Windows 11 Versions | Windows 11 Build Numbers – About Windows 11

Useful ReadDownload Windows 11 Administrative Templates

How to Find Windows 11 Version and Installed Edition

To find the Windows 11 version, build number and edition, perform these steps:

  • Click Start and type “About Your PC” in the search box and launch it.
  • On About your PC window, scroll-down and look for Windows Specifications.
  • Under Windows Specifications, you can find the EditionVersionOS Build and installation date of Windows 11.
Windows 11 22H2 Build Number
Windows 11 22H2 Build Number

Windows 11 Major Minor Build Rev Details

If you notice the Windows 11 build number, it is represented in a particular format. In this section, I will explain about the Windows 11 major, minor, build, and rev in a bit more detail. Let’s pick the Windows 11 22H2 build number 10.0.22621.521 as an example.

The build number of Windows 11 22H2 original release is 10.0.22621.521. The below table explains how a build number is composed of and the version details.

NameBuild Details

Windows 11 Versions and Windows 11 Build Numbers Explained

Note: For every new version of Windows 11 released, the build number is incremented. This build number remains the same for that version however only the Rev value changes as the new updates released for that Windows 11 version. This means for Windows 11 22H2, the build number will remain the same which is “22621” whereas the Rev value is incremented with every update.

Windows 11 Servicing Timeline

Windows 11 will receive monthly quality updates, including security and non-security updates, and a yearly release of new versions. To continue receiving support from Microsoft, users should always install the most recent version before the current version is no longer supported.

Windows 11 Enterprise, Education, IoT Enterprise editions will have servicing timeline of 36 months from the release date. Whereas Windows 11 Pro, Home, Pro Education will have servicing timeline of 24 months from the actual release date.

The servicing timeline for Windows 11 version 22H2 is detailed below, along with the start and end dates for support.

Windows 11 22H2 EditionServicing TimelineDate AvailableRetirement Date
Windows 11 22H2 Enterprise
Windows 11 22H2 Education
Windows 11 22H2 IoT Enterprise
36 months from release dateSep 20, 2022Oct 14, 2025
Windows 11 22H2 Pro
Windows 11 22H2 Pro Education
Windows 11 22H2 Pro for Workstations
Windows 11 22H2 Home
24 months from release dateSep 20, 2022Oct 8, 2024

Windows 11 22H2 Servicing Timeline

The servicing timeline for Windows 11 version 21H2 is detailed below, along with the start and end dates for support.

Windows 11 22H1 EditionServicing TimelineDate AvailableRetirement Date
Windows 11 21H2 Enterprise
Windows 11 21H2 Education
Windows 11 21H2 IoT Enterprise
36 months from release dateOct 4, 2021Oct 8, 2024
Windows 11 21H2 Pro
Windows 11 21H2 Pro Education
Windows 11 21H2 Pro for Workstations
Windows 11 21H2 Home
24 months from release dateOct 4, 2021Oct 10, 2023

Windows 11 21H2 Servicing Timeline

Windows 11 Build Numbers and Windows 11 Versions

The below table lists the Windows 11 build numbers and Windows 11 version numbers (production release) along with the release dates. When new versions of Windows 11 are released, they are added to the table.

Windows 11 VersionsWindows 11 Build NumbersKB ArticleWindows 11 Release Date
Windows 11 version 22H2 (10.0.22621.819)22621.819KB50199802022-11-08
Windows 11 version 22H2 (10.0.22621.755)22621.755KB50184962022-10-25
Windows 11 version 22H2 (10.0.22621.675)22621.675KB50195092022-10-18
Windows 11 version 22H2 (10.0.22621.674)22621.674KB50184272022-10-11
Windows 11 version 22H2 (10.0.22621.608)22621.608KB50173892022-09-30
Windows 11 version 22H2 (10.0.22621.525)22621.525KB50193112022-09-27
Windows 11 version 22H2 (10.0.22621.521)22621.5212022-09-20
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.1042)22000.1042KB50173832022-09-20
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.978)22000.978KB50173282022-09-13
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.918)22000.918KB50166912022-08-25
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.856)22000.856KB50166292022-08-09
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.832)22000.832KB50158822022-07-21
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.795)22000.795KB50158142022-07-12
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.778)22000.778KB50146682022-06-23
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.740)22000.740KB50161382022-06-20
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.739)22000.739KB50146972022-06-14
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.708)22000.708KB50140192022-05-24
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.675)22000.675KB50139432022-05-10
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.652)22000.652KB50126432022-04-25
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.613)22000.613KB50125922022-04-12
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.593)22000.593KB50115632022-03-28
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.556)22000.556KB50114932022-03-08
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.527)22000.527KB50104142022-02-15
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.493)22000.493KB50103862022-02-08
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.469)22000.469KB50083532022-01-25
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.438)22000.438KB50107952022-01-17
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.434)22000.434KB50095662022-01-11
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.376)22000.376KB50082152021-12-14
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.348)22000.348KB50072622021-11-22
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.318)22000.318KB50072152021-11-09
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.282)22000.282KB50067462021-10-21
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.258)22000.258KB50066742021-10-12
Windows 11 version 21H2 (10.0.22000.194)22000.1942021-10-04

Windows 11 Build Numbers and Windows 11 Versions

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6 Best Ways to Disable Cortana in Windows 11

This article explains how you can disable Cortana in Windows 11 using different methods. You can disable the Cortana in Windows 11 or even uninstall it if you don’t use it.

Cortana in a cloud-based assistant by Microsoft that assists users with voice commands. Cortana in Windows has a chat-based UI that gives you the ability to interact using typed or spoken natural language queries.

In the latest update to Cortana in Windows, you can search for documents and compose quick emails. You can also invoke the app using the wake word “Cortana.” Cortana can also launch Alexa app on Windows 10 (if it’s already installed).

Note that you must sign in with your Microsoft account to use Cortana app. To learn about Cortana in detail, refer to the Microsoft documentation on Cortana.

Table of Contents

What can you do with Cortana in Windows 11?

Here are some of the things you can do with Cortana in Windows 11:

  • Calendar and Schedule Assistance – Check your calendar, know the meeting schedule etc.
  • Meeting Help – Join Teams meetings, find what’s the next meeting is and with whom, book a meeting with your colleague in the organization etc.
  • Find out about people in your organization – Cortana can help you learn about people in your organization
  • Make lists and set reminders and alarms – You can ask Cortana to create a new list or add something to a list you already have
  • Launch Apps – With voice commands, the Cortana can launch the apps installed on your Windows. For example, you can launch Word app, Calculator etc.
  • Get definitions and quick answers
  • Get weather and news updates – You can get the weather information and new updates using Cortana. This is very similar to news and interests widget that offers a quick overview of key headlines and weather information relevant to you.
Cortana App in Windows 11
Cortana App in Windows 11

Why Disable Cortana in Windows 11?

If Cortana is so useful, then why disable it? The answer is not all the Windows users like Cortana because it’s not accurate all the time and the app consumes a lot of system resources.

In addition, most users can simply work without using Cortana in daily routine. If you open Microsoft Store and read the Cortana app reviews, the users have expressed concerns about this app. The Cortana app in Microsoft Store has an overall rating of 1.8/5 which doesn’t seem good.

Plus Cortana collects your personal information, search history, email information and stores it on cloud which for some users is not ok.

In Windows 11, Cortana is still present, but it’s no longer part of the first boot experience. However, in Windows 11, you can turn off Cortana if you don’t like it or even uninstall it completely.

There are multiple ways to disable Cortana in Windows 11. This article covers different methods to temporarily or permanently disable Cortana as well as fully uninstall Cortana from Windows 11.

To summarize, we will use the following methods to disable the Cortana in Windows 11:

  1. Using Windows 11 Settings
  2. Using Task Manager in Windows 11
  3. Disable Cortana using Group Policy
  4. Use PowerShell commands to disable Cortana
  5. Intune or Microsoft Endpoint Manager
  6. Configuration Manager

Method 1 – Turn off Cortana from Windows 11 Settings

You can turn off the Cortana from Windows 11 settings with following steps. Click Start and launch the Windows 11 Settings app. You can use the shortcut command Win+I to directly launch the settings app.

From the list of settings, select Apps and then select Apps & Features.

Turn off Cortana from Windows 11 Settings
Turn off Cortana from Windows 11 Settings

On the Apps & Features window, you should find all the apps installed on Windows 11. From the App list, search for Cortana app. Once the Cortana app appears in the listing, click on the vertical dots and select Advanced Options.

Turn off Cortana from Windows 11 Settings
Turn off Cortana from Windows 11 Settings

The advanced options for Cortana displays additional settings to manage the app. Under Runs at log-in, turn off the Cortana. By moving the slider to off, you disable Cortana in Windows 11.

Note that the above step temporarily disables the Cortana app in Windows 11. The user can manually turn on the Cortana app whenever required.

Turn off Cortana from Windows 11 Settings
Turn off Cortana from Windows 11 Settings

Method 2 – Disable Cortana using Task Manager on Windows 11

In Windows 11, you can quickly disable Cortana using the task manager:

  • On Windows 11, use the shortcut keys Ctrl+Shift+Esc to launch the task manager.
  • When the task manager opens, click the Startup tab.
  • From the list of start up apps, click the Cortana app and select Disable button.
  • You may also right-click Cortana and choose the Disable option.
Disable Cortana using Task Manager on Windows 11
Disable Cortana using Task Manager on Windows 11

Method 3 – Disable the Cortana from Registry Editor

You can permanently disable Cortana in Windows 11 by editing the registry. Before you modify the registry, either create a system restore point or backup the entire registry.

Launch the Registry editor on Windows 11 by running the command regedit. Once the registry editor opens, go to the following registry path.

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search

If you don’t find the Windows Search key, you must create a new key. Let’s start by creating a new key under Windows and name it as Windows Search.

Right click Windows Search key and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

Disable the Cortana from Registry Editor
Disable Cortana in Windows 11 from Registry Editor

Enter the value name as AllowCortana and the value data is 0. By setting the AllowCortana value to 0, you disable Cortana in Windows 11. Click OK to save the changes.

Disable Cortana from Registry Editor
Disable Cortana in Windows 11 from Registry Editor

After making the above changes to registry, restart Windows 11 PC. Log in to Windows 11 PC and launch the Cortana app. You should see the following message “Cortana is disabled. To use Cortana you need to get permission from your administrator“. This confirms the Cortana app is disabled on Windows 11.

Cortana is disabled
Cortana is disabled

Method 4 – Disable Cortana using Group Policy (GPO)

You can disable Cortana permanently in Windows 11 using Group Policy. The Group Policy method is useful when you want to disable the Cortana access on domain joined Windows 11 PCs.

When you want to disable Cortana on multiple Windows 11 computers that are joined to an Active Directory domain, the group policy is the best option.

Before you create a GPO to disable Cortana, have few devices for testing purpose. It is not recommended deploying a GPO directly to production servers and workstations.

Let’s create a new GPO to disable Cortana in Windows 11. Log in to a domain controller or a member server installed with GPMC. Launch the Group Policy Management Tools from Server Manager > Tools.

Once the Group Policy Management console is launched, expand the domain and right-click Group Policy Objects and select New.

Note: We are going to create a new GPO which should then be linked to an OU later.

Disable Cortana in Windows 11 using Group Policy
Disable Cortana in Windows 11 using Group Policy

Specify the GPO name as Disable Cortana or something similar and click OK.

Disable Cortana in Windows 11 using Group Policy
Disable Cortana in Windows 11 using Group Policy

In the Group Policy Management editor, navigate to following settings Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.

From the list of policy settings, right-click the setting named “Allow Cortana” and select Edit. The Allow Cortana policy settings include:

  • This policy setting specifies whether Cortana is allowed on the device.
  •  If you enable or don’t configure this setting, Cortana will be allowed on the device. If you disable this setting, Cortana will be turned off.
  •  When Cortana is off, users will still be able to use search to find things on the device.

Set Allow Cortana to Disabled. With the selected setting, you disable the Cortana on Windows 11. Click Apply and OK.

Disable Cortana in Windows 11 using Group Policy
Disable Cortana in Windows 11 using Group Policy

After following the above steps, in the GPMC console, right-click the OU that you want to target the GPO and select Link an existing GPO and select the Disable Cortana GPO.

Once you have linked the GPO to a OU or to an entire domain, the computers will download the policy based on the Group Policy refresh interval. The Group Policy refresh interval for computers policy lets you specify how much the actual update interval varies.

Read: How to modify the Group Policy Refresh Interval

After the Disable Cortana GPO is successfully applied to the domain computers, the access to Cortana app will be disabled for Windows 11.

Method 5 – Uninstall Cortana in Windows 11 using PowerShell

If you have decided to uninstall Cortana from Windows 11, you can do it using PowerShell:

  • On Windows 11 PC, launch the PowerShell as administrator.
  • Paste the following command in the PowerShell window and press Enter key.
  • Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers Microsoft.549981C3F5F10 | Remove-AppPackage.
  • The above PowerShell cmd uninstalls the Cortana from Windows 11 for all users.
Uninstall Cortana in Windows 11 using PowerShell
Uninstall Cortana in Windows 11 using PowerShell

Note: You don’t have to reboot the computer after uninstalling Cortana.

Method 6 – Disable Cortana using Intune (MEM)

Using Intune, you can easily disable Cortana on Windows 11 managed PCs using Configuration Profiles. The Intune Catalog settings lets you define the settings to disable the Cortana access on Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices.

Let’s see how to disable Cortana using Intune. First sign-in to the Intune Portal (Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center). Go to Devices > Windows > Configuration Profiles. Select Create Profile.

Disable Cortana using Intune - Create Configuration Profile
Disable Cortana using Intune – Create Configuration Profile

When you create a profile in Intune, you specify the Platform and Profile Type. In this example, select the Platform as Windows 10 and later and Profile Type as Settings Catalog. Click Create.

Disable Cortana using Intune - Create Configuration Profile
Disable Cortana using Intune – Create Configuration Profile

On Create Profile Basics tab in Intune portal, enter the name of the profile to “Disable Cortana Access” or “Turn off Cortana“. Enter a brief description about the profile and click Next.

Create Profile - Name
Create Profile – Name

On the Configuration Settings tab, we will use settings catalog in Intune to define the settings to turn off Cortana. Select +Add Settings.

Create Profile - Configuration Settings
Create Profile – Configuration Settings

The Settings picker window gives you an option to search for the correct keywords or terms related to settings. Enter the search term as “Cortana” and click Search button.

From the list of search results, click the Experience category and now select the Setting name – Allow Cortana.

Settings Picker - Cortana Experience
Settings Picker – Cortana Experience
  • Allow Cortana – Specifies whether Cortana is allowed on the device. If you enable or don’t configure this setting, Cortana is allowed on the device. If you disable this setting, Cortana is turned off. When Cortana is off, users will still be able to use search to find items on the device.

By default, the Allow Cortana setting is set to “Allow“. To disable the Cortana on Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices, set the Allow Cortana setting to “Block“. By setting the Allow Cortana to Block, you disable the Cortana on endpoints.

Click Next to continue.

Disable Cortana using Intune
Disable Cortana using Intune

On the Assignments tab, click Add Groups to include the group of devices on which you want to disable Cortana. Click Next to continue.

Turn Off Cortana Access - Assignments
Turn Off Cortana Access – Assignments

Scope tags are optional, but you may define them if required. I am going to skip and click Next.

Turn Off Cortana Access - Scope Tags
Turn Off Cortana Access – Scope Tags

On the Review + Create tab, take a final look at the settings that you defined so far. If it’s all good, click Create.

Turn Off Cortana Access - Review and Create
Turn Off Cortana Access – Review and Create

After you create the policy, a notification will appear automatically in the top right-hand corner with a message. Policy Created – “Disable Configure Access” created successfully. The policy is also shown in the Configuration profiles list along with other profiles.

After you deploy the policy, the assigned groups will receive the profile settings once the devices check-in with the Intune service.

To monitor the Intune policy assignment, from the list of Configuration Profiles, select the policy and here you can check the device and user check in status. If you click View Report, additional details are displayed.

Monitor Intune Policy Assignment
Monitor Intune Policy Assignment

Once the devices receive the policy settings from Intune, log in to one of the devices and launch Cortana. Now you should see Cortana is disabled message. This confirms that you can disable the Cortana access using Intune on your Windows devices.

Cortana is disabled
Cortana is disabled

How To Reinstall Cortana App in Windows 11

If you have uninstalled Cortana app from Windows 11 using any of the above methods and want to reinstall it, the process is simple.

To reinstall the Cortana app, launch the Microsoft Store app in Windows 11. Search for Cortana app in Microsoft Store and click Get. The latest Cortana app will be downloaded and installed on the Windows 11 PC.

How To Reinstall Cortana App in Windows 11
How To Reinstall Cortana App in Windows 11


Disabling the Cortana from Windows 11 is optional. If you are not going to use Cortana app, you can easily disable it with any of the methods covered in this post.

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How to Disable Cortana in Windows 10

Microsoft doesn’t want you to disable Cortana. You used to be able to turn off Cortana in Windows 10, but Microsoft removed that easy toggle switch in the Anniversary Update. But you can still disable Cortana via a registry hack or group policy setting. This transforms the Cortana box into a “Search Windows” tool for local application and file searches.

Cortana has become increasingly restrictive since Windows 10’s release. It was previously updated to ignore your default web browser. Cortana now always launches the Microsoft Edge browser and only uses Bing when you search. If that sounds like something you wouldn’t want to use, here’s how to turn it off.

Home Users: Disable Cortana via the Registry

If you have Windows 10 Home, you’ll have to edit the Windows Registry to make these changes. You can also do it this way if you have Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise, but just feel more comfortable working in the Registry as opposed to Group Policy Editor. (If you have Pro or Enterprise, though, we recommend using the easier Group Policy Editor, as described in the next section.

Standard warning: Registry Editor is a powerful tool and misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty simple hack and as long as you stick to the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. That said, if you’ve never worked with it before, consider reading about how to use the Registry Editor before you get started. And definitely back up the Registry (and your computer!) before making changes.

RELATED: How to Backup and Restore the Windows Registry

You should also make a System Restore point before continuing. Windows will probably do this automatically when you install the Anniversary Update, but it couldn’t hurt to make one manually–that way, if something goes wrong, you can always roll back.

Then, open the Registry Editor by pressing Windows+R on your keyboard, typing “regedit” into the box, and pressing Enter.

Navigate to the following key in the left sidebar:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search

If you don’t see a “Windows Search” key (folder) below the Windows folder, right-click the Windows folder and select New > Key. Name it “Windows Search”.

Right-click the “Windows Search” key (folder) in the left pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

Name the value “AllowCortana”. Double-click it and set the value to “0”.

You can now close the registry editor. You’ll have to sign out and sign back in or restart your computer before the change takes effect.

To undo your change and restore Cortana in the future, you can just return here, locate the “AllowCortana” value, and delete it or set it to “1”.

Download Our One-Click Registry Hack

Rather than editing the registry yourself, you can download our Disable Cortana registry hack. Just open the downloaded .zip file, double-click the “Disable Cortana.reg” file, and agree to add the information to your registry. We’ve also included an “Enable Cortana.reg” file if you’d like to undo the change and re-enable Cortana later.

You’ll have to sign out and sign back in–or restart your computer–before the change will take effect.

These .reg files just change the same registry settings we outlined above. If you’d like to see what this or any other .reg file will do before you run it, you can right-click the file .reg and select “Edit” to open it in Notepad. You can easily make your own Registry hacks.

Pro and Enterprise Users: Disable Cortana via Group Policy

RELATED: Using Group Policy Editor to Tweak Your PC

If you’re using Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise, the easiest way to disable Cortana is by using the Local Group Policy Editor. It’s a pretty powerful tool, so if you’ve never used it before, it’s worth taking some time to learn what it can do. Also, if you’re on a company network, do everyone a favor and check with your admin first. If your work computer is part of a domain, it’s also likely that it’s part of a domain group policy that will supersede the local group policy, anyway.

You should also make a System Restore point before continuing. Windows will probably do this automatically when you install the Anniversary Update, but it couldn’t hurt to make one manually–that way, if something goes wrong, you can always roll back.

First, launch the group policy editor by pressing Windows + R, typing “gpedit.msc” into the box, and pressing Enter.

Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.

Locate the “Allow Cortana” setting in the right pane and double-click it.

Set the Allow Cortana option to “Disabled” and then click “OK”.

You can now close the group policy editor. You’ll have to sign out and sign back in–or restart your PC–for this change to take effect.

To re-enable Cortana, return here, double-click the “Enable Cortana” setting, and change it to “Not Configured” or “Enabled”.

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