How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

Today, we’re showing you how you can enable “Hey Cortana” so you can simply ask Cortana for whatever it is you need with your voice!

“Hey Cortana” lets you interact with Cortana hands-free so you can master multitasking. You can even use “Hey Cortana” to interact with Cortana above your lock screen so you don’t even have to login to your computer to have Cortana help you out.

Here’s how to enable “Hey Cortana:”

To get started, click on the Search bar, then click on the Settings icon and find the button to enable Hey Cortana.

Here are a couple things you can ask for when you say, “Hey Cortana:”

  • Ask Cortana to set a reminder for a specific time
  • Ask Cortana about local services, such as the nearest Thai restaurant
  • Ask Cortana to add something to your grocery list
  • Ask Cortana for your next meeting or what’s on your schedule
  • Ask Cortana questions about just about anything, such as how many ounces are in a cup

To enable Cortana above the lock, go to settings and enable “Use Cortana Even When My Device is Locked”.

You can also train Cortana to recognize your voice so she can better understand you:

Once you have “Hey Cortana” enabled, you can click on “Try to respond only to me.” Then just underneath that, click on “Learn how to say, ‘Hey Cortana.’ Cortana will prompt you to repeat six phrases out loud. Then you’re all set!

For more Windows 10 tips on Cortana, head over to these blog posts to read about using Cortana above your lock screen or searching your PC and the web with Cortana, and have a great week!

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‘What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.’

Within the first 24 hours of Windows 10’s release, about 14 million people upgraded their current system to the new version. Unfortunately, with the update came Cortana and Start menu issues. For some reason, a critical error message shows up, telling the user that the functions are not working properly. It can get frustrating when there are features that cannot be accessed on a computer. As such, many people reverted back to the old version they had been using.

As of this writing, Microsoft still hasn’t pinpointed the exact reasons why this error occurs. However, you shouldn’t worry because it is absolutely fixable. In this article, we will show you what you should do when you experience Cortana not working properly on Windows 10.

Method 1: Restarting your computer

Roy from The IT Crowd is best known for his catchphrase, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” He probably said that line in the show a thousand times, and it couldn’t be more applicable in real life. In most cases, Cortana and the Start menu will function properly again when you try restarting your computer.

Turn off your computer and turn it back on a couple of times, and check if this fixes the problem. This may be the easiest method, but you do not necessarily have to do it every time you experience Start menu issues. This is only a temporary solution that can get your computer up and running. If the error keeps coming back, we recommend proceeding to the next method.

Method 2: Uninstalling the anti-virus/anti-malware software

In some cases, third-party anti-virus and anti-malware software can disrupt certain Windows programs. Cortana not working properly on Windows 10 may probably be a result of the conflict created by the security programs installed on your computer. As such, we recommend temporarily uninstalling your anti-virus to see if this resolves the problem. With that said, follow the instructions below:

  1. Click the Search icon.
  2. Type “Control Panel” (no quotes), then click the program in the results.
  3. Under the Programs section, click Uninstall a Program.
  4. Look for your third-party anti-virus software, then right-click it.
  5. Select Uninstall and follow the instructions in the wizard.
  6. Once your anti-malware or anti-virus program has been uninstalled, turn off your computer and turn it on again.

If you need your security software, you can reinstall it. However, we recommend opting for a more reliable program like Auslogics Anti-Malware. You can trust that this tool will not cause Start menu issues. At the same time, it will give you the peace of mind knowing that your computer is protected against data safety threats and malware.

How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

Method 3: Using PowerShell

When your Start menu or Cortana functions are not working properly, you can try fixing the problem, using PowerShell. Simply follow the steps below:

  1. Launch Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your keyboard.
  2. Click File, then select Run New Task from the drop-down list.
  3. In the dialog box, type “powershell” (no quotes), then click OK.
  4. On the taskbar, right-click PowerShell, then choose Run as Administrator.
  5. Inside the Command Prompt, paste the following text:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach
  6. Hit Enter, then wait for the command to complete.
  7. Restart your computer and check if the Start menu and Cortana are working properly.

Method 4: Creating new user profiles

Many users have reported that creating new user profiles resolved problems with the Start menu and Cortana. So, it wouldn’t hurt if you give it a try too. Here are the steps:

  1. Make two new user profiles with administrative rights. Keep in mind that the administrator privileges are necessary for you to execute the tasks needed to resolve the error.
  2. Log into one of the new user profiles you created. Check if the Start menu is functioning properly. Note that if Cortana and the Start menu are not working in the other accounts, then it is time to reinstall your Windows system. Otherwise, you can proceed to the next step.
  3. Make sure you can see all the hidden files, system files, and file extensions. You can do this by following this path: Control Panel ->Appearance and Personalization ->File Explorer Options ->View. Click ‘Show hidden files, folders, and drives,’ then click the Apply button.
  4. Log into the other new user profile and repeat the process from Step 3.
  5. Navigate to this path: C:\Users\OtherNewProfileYouAreNotUsing\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer. Copy the Database folder, then navigate to: C:\Users\UserProfileWithProblems\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer. Change the name of the Database folder in this account to Database.old. Paste the Database folder you copied from the properly functioning account.
  6. Log into the problematic user profile and check if the issue has been resolved. It is worth noting that you will not see the customizations you made to the menu before you executed this procedure. On the other hand, you can simply reconfigure your menu to personalize it again.

Method 5: Using the Command Prompt

  1. Click the Search icon, then type “command prompt” (no quotes).
  2. Right-click Command Prompt from the results, then select Run as Administrator.
  3. In the Command Prompt, type “ren %windir%\System32\AppLocker\Plugin*.* *.bak” (no quotes), then press Enter.
  4. Restart your computer, and check if the issue has been resolved.

Method 6: Running System File Checker

In most cases, the previous method can resolve issues with the Start menu. However, if the error persists, you can try running the System File Checker. This will scan and repair corrupted or damaged system files. Follow the instructions below:

With every major Windows 10 upgrade, Cortana receives new commands and settings. We’ve summarized what’s new with Microsoft’s virtual assistant.

No, “Cortana, cook my dinner and iron my shirt” still isn’t a valid command. But it does feel like we’re inching closer to the world of tomorrow. And there are some very cool new Cortana commands you can try.

Cortana has been a work-in-progress since Microsoft launched the app in 2014. Every time the company releases a new major upgrade for Windows, the virtual assistant gets a host of new commands and settings.

The last major update—dubbed the “Fall Creators Update”—was rolled out in October 2017. It brought one of the most significant overhauls to Cortana that we’ve seen so far.

So, what new commands are available? Which new settings to you need to know about? Let’s take a closer look.

Cortana’s Settings Have Moved

Previously, Cortana’s settings were hidden inside the window that pops up when you start to use the virtual assistant. They were unintuitive and difficult to customize. And many people thought that Cortana settings were missing from their device.

In the Fall Creators Update, that’s all changed. Cortana’s settings are now within the system-wide Settings app. It’s exactly where they should be and instantly makes the assistant easier to use.

To access Cortana’s new options, go to Start > Settings > Cortana.

Talk to Cortana

The redesigned Cortana options revolve around the Talk to Cortana menu. It’s the interface through which you can set up the assistant’s most basic settings. It fulfills the same function as the old Cortana settings page which was accessible through the Taskbar.

Hey Cortana

Microsoft has introduced several settings and tweaks in a bid to make Windows better at recognizing when you say Hey Cortana.

Slide the toggle below Let Cortana respond to “Hey Cortana” into the On position, and some new options will appear.

For example, you can choose to prevent Windows from sleeping when running off mains power. It means the operating system will always be ready to respond instantly when you summon Cortana.

You can also decide whether you want Cortana only to respond to you or to respond to anyone who issues the “Hey Cortana” command.

If you only want Cortana to respond when she hears your voice, you’ll have to teach her what you sound like. Click on Learn how I say “Hey Cortana” and Windows will guide you through a training exercise. And remember, the more you use Cortana, the more her voice recognition will improve.

Other Settings

The new Talk to Cortana menu includes a couple of other notable settings.

You can choose to make Cortana start listening for commands whenever you press Windows + C by sliding the respective toggle into the On position.

Additionally, you can allow Cortana to work while your computer is locked. If you use Cortana a lot in your daily workflow, enabling this option will save you a massive amount of time and frustration.

If you decide to use Cortana on the lock screen, you’ll also need to determine whether it can display content from your calendar, email, and other privacy-sensitive apps while the screen is locked.

Lastly, you can choose the language you want to use for Cortana. The languages available are English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, and Chinese.

Permissions and History

In its early days, Cortana received a fair amount of criticism for its approach to privacy.

The problem wasn’t so much that data was being collected—that’s to be expected when you’re using a virtual assistant. The issue was how difficult Microsoft made it to control and manage the data it collected.

In the Fall Creators Update, that’s also changed. You can see and control all the data using the new Permissions and History portal.

You will find the five key Cortana settings at the top of the menu:

  • Review the activity from all your Cortana devices
  • Manage the information Cortana can collect from this device
  • Change what Cortana knows about me in the cloud
  • Manage what you permit Cortana to do, see, and use
  • Manage the information Cortana can access from other services

From a privacy standpoint, Manage the information Cortana can collect from this device is arguably the most critical setting. It lets you prevent Cortana from accessing your location, email history, browsing history, contacts, and more.

The Permissions and History menu also lets you adjust Cortana’s SafeSearch settings (you can select Strict, Moderate, or Off), and lets you tweak some of Cortana’s search settings.


At the time of writing, there’s only one setting in the Notifications sub-menu. When enabled, it lets Cortana display notifications from your phone on your computer. It’s useful for catching up on missed calls or monitoring your phone’s battery life.

Presumably, as integration between Cortana and your smartphone continues to improve, this menu will continue to develop.

The mobile Cortana app is available for Android and iOS.

New Voice Commands

Cortana’s intelligence continues to improve. The Fall Creators Update introduced four new Cortana commands, all of which pertain to your operating system.

The four commands are:

  • “Hey Cortana, restart PC”
  • “Hey Cortana, turn off PC”
  • “Hey Cortana, sign out”
  • “Hey Cortana, lock PC”

They’re undoubtedly simple, but also incredibly useful. It’s perhaps surprising they weren’t already a part of the app.

If you want to use Cortana to restart, turn off, or sign out of your computer, you will also need to say Yes when prompted. It’s a safety measure to prevent you from accidentally losing unsaved work.

Interestingly, it’s possible to use all four commands from the Windows lock screen. You just need to enable the Use Cortana even when my device is locked option in the Talk to Cortana menu we discussed earlier.

Note: Shutdown is not a valid command due to Windows 10’s Shutdown command line tool.

Are You a Cortana Convert?

Cortana continues to develop. What once felt like a quirky bit of fun for geeks is now a central part of the Windows operating system. Many of the people who use the assistant once end up falling in love with her.

Gaming monitors enhance immersion and experience. But how do you find the right one? Here are some tips for picking the best display for your setup.

How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

Dan joined MakeUseOf in 2014 and has been Partnerships Director since July 2020. Reach out to him for inquires about sponsored content, affiliate agreements, promotions, and any other forms of partnership. You can also find him roaming the show floor at CES in Las Vegas every year, say hi if you’re going. Prior to his writing career, he was a Financial Consultant.

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Microsoft, which released the final public version of Windows 10 on 29 July, could launch the smartphone variant of Windows 10, called Windows 10 Mobile, in November. Currently, preview builds of Windows 10 Mobile are released on a regular basis to Insiders.

With Windows 10 offering a completely new user experience, it should naturally be imperative for users to learn about vital features and settings of the OS. These aspects better acquaint users to deal with the final public build of Windows 10 Mobile. One such important feature/setting within Windows 10 Mobile is Alarms.

How to set Alarms in Windows 10 Mobile?

There are two ways of setting alarms, in Windows 10 Mobile. Users can create new alarms using the conventional method and Microsoft’s own PDA Cortana.

Setting alarms using Cortana

Follow the below mentioned steps, to set alarms using Cortana:

Step 1: Long-press the search key to activate Cortana

Step 2: For users having enabled “Hey Cortana”, issue the voice command “Hey Cortana”.

Step 3: Issue voice commands “Wake me up at [specify time]” or “Set Alarm for [specify time]”.

Step 4: After Step 3, Cortana updates the alarm time, within the Alarms and Clocks application.

Setting alarms using the conventional method

Step 1: Launch the Alarms and Clock application

Step 2: Select “Alarms”

Step 3: Click on new at the bottom of the screen. Here, already-created alarms (older alarm alerts) can be modified/deleted.

Step 4: Specify the time, alarm tone, snooze time and name of the alarm

Step 5: Select Save

Apart from setting new alarms via Cortana, the PDA can also be used to send emails in a single-step on Windows 10 computers. Click here to find out how to send emails using Cortana from a computer running Windows 10.

How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

Cortana is the digital assistant for Windows Phone and now in Windows 10 and when “Hey Cortana” is on, it’s always listening which can make it come on unintentionally.

Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, first appeared on Windows Phone 8.1 and has migrated to Windows 10. The “Hey Cortana” feature allows you to activate the digital assistant by voice and use it. Here’s how to enable this feature or turn it off if you when don’t need it.

I like to use the “Hey Cortana” feature because it’s always listening, and makes it easy to launch programs, settings, create appointments and reminders…etc. However, if I’m using my laptop while listening to a podcast, music, or watching Netflix, sometimes Cortana can turn on and start launching things – which can be annoying.

Update: Microsoft has decoupled Cortana from Windows Search and a lot of its settings have changed over time. This article has been updated to reflect those changes.

Turn Windows 10 “Hey Cortana” On or Off

Since the updates, you can get Cortana to respond by saying either: “Hey, Cortana,” or simply just “Cortana.” To get started, make sure you’re signed into the Cortana app.

How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

To turn it on, launch the Cortana app from your taskbar. Then click the menu button (three dots) on the left-hand side and click Settings.

How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

Next, click on Voice Activation from the menu.

How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

Now click on the Voice Activation Permissions link.

How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

If this is the first time using Cortana to open Settings, you will need to click Yes to verify.

How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

Now in Voice Activation Settings, you want to make sure that the “Allow apps to use voice activation” switch is enabled.

How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

Then scroll down to the “Choose which apps can use voice activation” section and turn on the switch to let Cortana respond to the keyword. Here you can also flip the switch for Cortana to respond when your PC is locked. But that’s optional.

How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

To turn Cortana’s responding to the keyword off, just go back into Settings and flip off the switches you enabled. And that’s it.

Digital Assistants

All digital assistants seem to have the problem of activating due to background noise. From Google Now to Siri and even Alexa on Amazon Echo is guilty. So if you have one of those digital assistants on your phone or other devices, you’ll want to toggle the “always listening” feature off on those.

We haven’t even touched the surface of what Cortana can do, but if you are concerned about privacy, we did show you how to erase your search content from Cortana’s database. We will have a complete guide on setting up and using it coming soon.

But, if you’re just getting started with Cortana in Windows 10, this should take care of at least one thing that might annoy you at first.

What’s your take on Cortana, and more specifically, the “Hey Cortana” feature? Leave a comment below and let us know.

If you are using an Android Phone you must have experienced voice commands at any time by saying the magic word OK, Google. As the Android device is always listening so the voice commands can be executed. But when it comes to Windows 10’s Cortana the voice assistant will not wake up till you click on the search box. But with simple settings you can enable always listening mode in Windows 10. You can start the voice commands by just saying Hey Cortana at any time. You can also learn How to Share a Web Page in Edge Browser.

In order to Turn On Hey Cortana in Windows 10 you need to follow these steps.

  • 1 st of all you need to click on the search box located at the right side of the Start button.
  • After clicking on the search box a Cortana dialog box will appear.
  • Now here you need to click on the menu icon which is located at the upper right corner of Cortana’s window. The menu icon is made up of three stripes.
  • From the menu you need to select Notebook.
  • In the Notebook option you need to click on the Settings.
  • In the setting option you need to toggle “Let Cortana respond to Hey Cortana” to On.

With these simple steps you have turned on Hey Cortana in Windows 10 and next time you say Hey Cortana in your microphone and then you can follow that with any command like “What’s the weather today?” and then Cortana will come up with latest weather updates. Whenever you say Hey Cortana the assistant will ask you “What would you like me to do.”

There’s a switch you’ll need to enable before you can get Cortana’s attention from across the room.

How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

Josh Miller/CNET

Editors’ note: This post has been updated to reflect changes to Windows 10 and the process for activating “Hey, Cortana.”

One of the standout new features found in Windows 10 is the addition of Cortana . For those unfamiliar, Cortana is a voice-activated personal assistant . Think of it as Siri, but for Windows. You can use it to get weather forecasts, set reminders, tell you jokes, send email, find files, search the Internet and so on.

One feature aimed at making Cortana a staple of your Windows 10 experience involves being able to summon the digital assistant using nothing but your voice with a simple “Hey, Cortana” command. The only thing is, you have to enable the extra capabilities. Here’s how.

alt=”hey-cortana-process.jpg” width=”370″ height=”0″ /> Enlarge Image

  1. To activate “Hey, Cortana,” click in the search box located in the Taskbar. When the Search window comes up, click the Notebook icon on the left side of the window.

alt=”hey-cortana.jpg” width=”370″ height=”0″ /> Enlarge Image

You can now go about using your computer as you normally would, and whenever you need Cortana to perform a task, start by saying, “Hey, Cortana,” followed by your command. I’ve found you have to continue with your command immediately after the activation prompt, instead of waiting for Cortana to load and indicate that it’s listening.

Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, first appeared on Windows Phone 8.1 and has migrated to Windows 10. The “Hey Cortana” feature allows you to activate the digital assistant by voice and use it. Here’s how to enable this feature or turn it off if you when don’t need it.

The “Hey Cortana” feature is always listening, and it makes it easy to launch programs, settings, create appointments and reminders… etc. However, if you’re using your laptop while listening to a podcast, music, or watching Netflix, sometimes Cortana can turn on and start launching things – which can be annoying.

Turn Windows 10 “Hey Cortana” On or Off

It’s actually not enabled by default, so if you want to use it, you’ll need to turn it on first. To do that, open Cortana, and choose the Notebook icon on the right side, and then Settings.

Next, scroll down a bit and find the switch to turn “Hey Cortana” on or off as needed. Cortana will still work with the voice activation off, you just need to type in your queries.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re on a laptop or tablet and battery power is low, turning it off can save you some juice.

All digital assistants seem to have the problem of activating due to background noise. From Google Now to Siri and even Alexa on Amazon Echo is guilty. So if you have one of those digital assistants on your phone or other devices, you’ll want to toggle the “always listening” feature off on those.

If you’re just getting started with Cortana in Windows 10, this should take care of at least one thing that might annoy you at first.

How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

Have you disabled Windows 10 Cortana due to some reason? But now you want to get Cortana back? What can you do to realize this aim? Easy! Read this post written by MiniTool and you will know how to enable Cortana on Windows 10 with 3 simple methods.

As is well known, Cortana is a voice assistant that is embedded in Windows 10 and Microsoft has spent much time building this virtual assistant. With it, you are able to do many tasks, for example, search for information on the web, organize your calendar, receive the weather forecast, find things on your PC, etc.

How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

Windows 10 users complained that their Cortana Web Preview is not working after the Windows update.

But, not all of you are satisfied with Cortana since some said that this feature could collect some private information and eat up a large percentage of system memory. Thus, you choose to disable Cortana.

What if you change your mind and want to bring Cortana back on Windows 10? You will be happy to read this article since we will show you how to enable Cortana easily.

How to Re-Enable Cortana in Windows 10

Method 1: Enable Cortana via Registry Editor

If the method chosen by you to turn off Cortana is to use Windows Registry Editor, you also need to use the same way to get Cortana back.

  1. Open the Run window by simply pressing two keys on your keyboard – Win + R.
  2. Input regedit to the text box and press Enter or click OK.
  3. In the Registry Editor window, navigate to the following path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsSearch.
  4. Double-click the AllowCortana key and change its value data to 1. This can tell Windows to enable Cortana.
  5. Exit Registry Editor and restart your computer.

How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

Method 2: Enable Cortana via Group Policy

If you are a Windows Pro user, you may disable Cortana in Windows 10 via the Group Policy Editor. To re-enable it, you should also use it.

  1. Input msc in the Run window and click OK.
  2. After entering the Local Group Policy Editor interface, go to Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components.
  3. Go to Search, find Allow Cortana and double-click it.
  4. Check the Enabled option, then click Apply and OK to save changes. Later, restart your PC.

How to turn on “hey cortana” in windows 10

Method 3: Get Cortana Back via Using the Correct Program Path Name

If you have initially renamed the path to disable Cortana in Windows 10, you should re-enable it in the same manner. Here is what you should do:

  1. Open the Run window, input taskmgr and press Enter to open Task Manager.
  2. Find Cortana from the Processes tab, right-click on it and choose Open file location. This will take you to C:windowssystemapps.
  3. Locate to the Windows.Cortana folder with the .bak extension.
  4. Right-click this folder to choose Rename and then remove the .bak extension.
  5. Restart your computer.

Final Words

After reading this post, you have clearly known how to get Cortana back. Hope that all the mentioned methods can help you to enable Cortana easily. If you don’t remember which method you used to disable it, try them one by one.

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Position: Columnist

Vera is an editor of the MiniTool Team since 2016 who has more than 5 years’ writing experiences in the field of technical articles. Her articles mainly focus on disk & partition management, PC data recovery, video conversion, as well as PC backup & restore, helping users to solve some errors and issues when using their computers. In her spare times, she likes shopping, playing games and reading some articles.