How to Set Up Cortana in Windows 10

By Ciprian Adrian Rusen

Cortana is a very helpful tool that you can use as part of Windows 10. It is an easy feature to use, but first you need to make sure you have set up Cortana and enabled the Hey Cortana feature.

Set up Cortana

Before you set up Cortana, you need a Microsoft account to use it. After you sign in with your Microsoft account, here’s how to set up Cortana:

  1. Click in the search bar located near the Start button on the taskbar.

    Cortana is loaded.

  2. Click I’m in!

    You’re asked if you want to let Cortana use your personal information, such as your location, contacts, voice input, and calendar.

  3. Click I agree to give Cortana permission to access them.

    You may be informed that Cortana needs speech, inking, and typing personalization to be on. (If they’re already on, skip to Step 5.)

  4. If prompted, click Yes to give Cortana permission to access speech, inking, and typing personalization.

    You’re asked if you would like for Cortana to listen when you say “Hey, Cortana”.

  5. Click Yes please to confirm that you want Cortana to listen for “Hey, Cortana.”

    You’re asked to enter your name or nickname.

  6. Type your name and click Use that.

    Cortana asks you to tell her to do something.

  7. Click the Microphone button on the bottom-right of the Cortana window.

    Cortana is now listening.

  8. Say “Tell me a joke.”

    Cortana will tell you a joke.

  9. To close Cortana, click anywhere outside her Home screen.

    Entering your name when setting up Cortana.

    Entering your name when setting up Cortana.

From now on, each time you click in the search bar located on the taskbar and you’re connected to the Internet, Cortana is loaded and it shows news and data based on your interests.

Enable Hey Cortana

When setting up Cortana, if you haven’t enabled Cortana to start automatically when you say “Hey Cortana”, you can enable this feature later. Here’s how:

  1. Click in the search bar located on the taskbar.

    Cortana appears.

  2. Click the burger button (three stacked lines, like a burger on a bun), at the top-left corner of Cortana.

    A menu appears with several options.

  3. Click Settings.

  4. Scroll down the list of settings until you find the Let Cortana Respond to “Hey Cortana” switch.

  5. Set the switch to On.

  6. Click anywhere outside Cortana to save this change.

  7. Say “Hey Cortana” to confirm that this feature is turned on.

    Enabling Hey Cortana.

    Enabling Hey Cortana.

If you want to disable Hey Cortana, follow the same steps and set the “Hey Cortana” switch to Off at Step 4.