Tuesday, 12 December 2017 10:04

Disabling Cortana Voice Support during OOBE

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Yesterday I came across a Twitter thread in which multiple users detailed their beef with the revamped setup experience of Windows 10 (aka the OOBE). The OOBE was introduced with Windows 10 "Creators Update" (1703): Cortana voice walks the user through the OOBE experience, enabling the user to complete parts of OOBE by responding to spoken prompts. Windows 10 installations using following languages are affected: en-US, es-MX, ja-JP, en-GB, fr-FR, it-IT, de-DE, es-ES, fr-CA, en-CA, en-AU, pt-BR, zh-CN. Exacerbating the issue, Cortana's voice prompts are loud and proud by default and can become quickly irritating when attempting to install multiple machines at the same time. There’s little clear help for fixing it, so in this post, I’ll give you easy steps you can follow to tape up Cortana's cake-hole.

Unattended installations make it easy to keep Cortana quiet. Simply add following registry tweak to Unattend.xml right before the tag </RunSynchronous>:

<RunSynchronousCommand wcm:action="add">
<Description>disable driver update</Description>
<Order>5</Order>
<Path>reg add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\OOBE /v DisableVoice /d 1 /t REG_DWORD /f</Path>
</RunSynchronousCommand>

Note: You may need to adjust <Order>5</Order> value to match your unattend.xml

Sounds simple enough. However, Johan Arwidmark mentioned on Twitter a cooler way of setting the registry value. Personally, I like his approach better because - at least when applied to Microsoft Deployment Toolkit - it saves me the necessity to apply changes to each unattend.xml in my deployment shares. Grab his script from GitHub and add it to your Post-Install phase:

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Be aware that according to Microsoft documentation shipping a device with Cortana voice support disabled is an unsupported configuration. From my point of view, this bit applies only to OEMs. However, should you wish to restore the default behavior, add a PowerShell script towards the end of your task sequence. Something along these lines should do the trick:

Remove-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\OOBE" -Name "DisableVoice" -Force

To wrap this up, I noticed, that there is still a rumor floating around that you can use SkipMachineOOBE to bypass Windows Welcome. To put it in the simplest terms:

Stop using SkipMachineOOBE. Stop using SkipMachineOOBE. STOP USING SkipMachineOOBE!

This setting has been deprecated in Windows 8 and needs to hit the landfill. You should never ever ship a computer with the SkipMachineOOBE setting configured to true. Some Windows features may not function, as they depend on Windows Welcome values such as ProtectYourPC, which does not include a default value.

Read 16573 times Last modified on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 10:48
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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

and what if my unattend file doesnt have runsyncrhonous?

merc
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

You could always edit your unattend.xml and add the RunSynchronous section. Check Microsoft documentation for details on how to edit unattend.xml without breaking it in the process :)

Also, this is a non-issue on Pro / Enterprise / Education...

You could always edit your unattend.xml and add the RunSynchronous section. Check Microsoft documentation for details on how to edit unattend.xml without breaking it in the process :)

Also, this is a non-issue on Pro / Enterprise / Education starting with Windows 10, version 1903: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/whats-new/whats-new-windows-10-version-1903

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Comment was last edited about 2 months ago by Anton Romanyuk Anton Romanyuk
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I know it's an old post, and cortana voice has been removed from the setup since then. Yet the 'meet digital assistant screen' is in place without a proper autounattend OOBE setting. The same goes about the Windows Timeline screen. Do you know...

I know it's an old post, and cortana voice has been removed from the setup since then. Yet the 'meet digital assistant screen' is in place without a proper autounattend OOBE setting. The same goes about the Windows Timeline screen. Do you know how to disable both?

As for "Deprecated", it's a joke. It's not been replaced with anything relevant to the new features.
Some Windows features may not function, as they depend on Windows Welcome values such as ProtectYourPC, which does not include a default value.
Can you clarify which features specifically may not function?

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Vadim
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If you have issues which you think may force you to use SkipMachinOOBE or SkipUserOOBE, please open a case. Both values are no longer supported and therefore no longer tested. Technically, they may “work”, but it is not recommended to use as it...

If you have issues which you think may force you to use SkipMachinOOBE or SkipUserOOBE, please open a case. Both values are no longer supported and therefore no longer tested. Technically, they may “work”, but it is not recommended to use as it can cause problems.

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Comment was last edited about 6 days ago by Anton Romanyuk Anton Romanyuk
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The values are 'deprecated'. it's not the same as 'not supported'.

IIRC, they do suppress some OOBE screens for which no answer file parameters exist. Probably, because MSFT wants the end user to accept / change the settings. But instead of...

The values are 'deprecated'. it's not the same as 'not supported'.

IIRC, they do suppress some OOBE screens for which no answer file parameters exist. Probably, because MSFT wants the end user to accept / change the settings. But instead of clearly explaining the consequences, the documentation is hiding behind 'unintended effect'.

This opens the doors for others to repeat the same mantra in a form of 'can cause problems', 'may not work', etc. Instead of just plainly saying "I don't know", which I reckon is your answer to both of my questions

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Vadim
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

In this particular case, "deprecated" is the same as "not supported" since the PG does not test any scenarios where this parameter is set. Use it at your own peril. At any rate, I am yet to see a screen which I can't automatically skip using a...

In this particular case, "deprecated" is the same as "not supported" since the PG does not test any scenarios where this parameter is set. Use it at your own peril. At any rate, I am yet to see a screen which I can't automatically skip using a combination of unattend.xml parameters. I'll have to check if this changed with Windows 10, version 1903.

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Anton Romanyuk
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Which sw are you using for creating answer files?

Also.. which component must I use to disable speech recognizing? (I've no idea of which is the righe english term, i am italian). I intend, on the 'services' tab of the oobe. I want to kept...

Which sw are you using for creating answer files?

Also.. which component must I use to disable speech recognizing? (I've no idea of which is the righe english term, i am italian). I intend, on the 'services' tab of the oobe. I want to kept disabled this and to hide this page of oobe.

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realtebo
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