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How To: How to enable Cortana’s “Hey Cortana” feature in Windows 10



Cortana is slowly popping up everywhere as she slowly enters the cross-platform phase of her development (ie, I just today noticed the Sync enabled radio in my car now shows “Cortana” on the display when using commands with the phone connected). Starting off as just a phone assistant, she is now starting to make her way to PCs, tablets, Xbox and more.

We are going quickly look at how to enable her new “Hey Cortana!” feature, which allows you to summon Cortana with just your voice, without the need of pressing any buttons.

This feature is actually already available on certain Nokia Lumia phones with the latest Windows update (Denim) installed. It will also be integrated into Windows 10 when it releases later this, allowing it to cover other devices.

At the moment, only the first technical preview of Windows 10 has been released to developers. Cortana has not yet been included, so we don’t have screenshots for you just yet. Hopefully in the next preview, she will be waiting there for us to screenshot away with.

When you are finally able to get your hands on Windows 10 (with Cortana), this is what you do to enable her new feature:

  • To the right of the start menu button, you will find a search option. Click inside the search field (click the magnifying glass icon if you don’t see the field right away) and you will see a small menu pop up above it.
  • In that menu that appeared, look at the top left corner, and you will find an icon with 3 horizontal lines. It looks like this:3lines
  • Choose the menu option that pops down that says “Settings”.
  • Among the settings, you will find an option that says ‘Let Cortana respond when you say “Hey Cortana”‘, and make sure it is toggled to “on”.


Now you can say “Hey Cortana”, followed by your request, and your PC will acknowledge. An example would be “Hey Cortana, search for pictures of small kittens”, and without touching a single key on your keyboard, your browser will popup with results. Or, “Hey Cortana, is it going to rain tomorrow?” (etc, etc…).

As I mentioned, Windows 10 should be rolling out later this year, pending no troubles pop up in its development. The one operating system will support multiple devices (the same Windows that you install on your PC, will be the same copy of Windows that you will find on tablets, phones and more. The user interface, changes depending on the size of the screen, so there is no way to say for sure just yet if enabling Cortana will be available through a different location on tablets with screens less than 8 inches. More than likely the instructions above may change for such devices, but rest assured that 8 inches and larger will have a desktop and follow these exact steps. When the time comes, have fun with Cortana!


About Author


Designer, Editor and Reviewer for Poc Network, ProAudio and Mobile Nations.

James enjoys spending most of his time as an audio engineer and technician for the live music industry when he isn’t running around the office here juggling an intense workload. He can also be found frequently in the nearby mountainous ranges, scrambling rocks and rappelling down large sections.

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