Cortana in Windows 10

Cortana is your digital or virtual assistant which you can use on your PC bundled with Windows 10 or Surface or Microsoft Lumia phones.

What does it do?

Here are a few examples which your digital assistant can do.

Search: Ask Cortana to find everything from pictures to restaurants.

Alarm: Set an alarm (“Wake me up at 6 a.m.”).
Calendar: Add, edit or review. (“Create a 4 p.m. meeting with John.”)
Dictionary: Definitions and translations. (“What does chiaroscuro mean?”)
Directions: Get directions
Email: Send a short email. (“Send an email to Eric about Thanksgiving.”)
Math: Calculations and conversions (“What is 3,200 times 456?”)

Music: Play music (“Play my dinner mix playlist”)
Read your handwritten notes: recognize and read your handwriting and even help you set reminders.

Reminders: Speaking of reminders, set them based on time (“Remind me to call Sarah at 1 p.m”), place (“Remind me to return books when I’m near the library”)

Show times: Movies and concerts (“Where is ‘The Martian’ movie playing?”)
Tracking: Track your flight time.

How to set up Cortana:

Here are step by step instructions given in this awesome video:

How to Enable “Hey Cortana”

You can also activate Cortana by simply saying “Hey Cortana” into your microphone, but you need to enable the option.

open Cortana’s Notebook > “Settings.” > Scroll down to “Let Cortana respond to Hey Cortana” option > If Cortana thinks your microphone is not compatible, it will open the “Set up your mic” wizard. Simply click on the “Next” button > You will get few sentences – Just read them into your microphone and it will automatically complete  microphone set up.

When Cortana will not function:

Please make sure your Country or Region, Language, and Speech Language settings are all aligned with one of Cortana’s supported locale configurations.  If these OS settings are not aligned, Cortana will not be available. For example, Cortana will not be available if your country is set to United States, but the Windows display language is set to English (United Kingdom).
Locale configuration

Country or region

Windows display language

Speech language

United States

English (United States)

English (United States)

United Kingdom

English (United Kingdom)

English (United Kingdom)

If the location is greyed out:

Open services.msc, find geolocation service, it probably says disabled. Double click it, then choose any startup type other than disabled from the menu. Click OK, there will be an error, it will remain disabled but after that the location settings buttons in settings work again, and can be turned ON or OFF.Then Cortana works again.

Last thing to remember:

Make sure you have installed all the cumulative updates via Windows Update.


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