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How to Turn On 'Hey Cortana' in Windows 10

If you have an XBox Kinect or certain Android phones, you can issue voice commands at any time by saying a magic word -- Ok, Google, for example -- because the device is always listening. However, by default, Windows 10's Cortana voice assistant doesn't wake up until you click on her search box. However, with a simple settings change, you can enable always listening mode in Windows 10 and start voice commands just by saying "Hey Cortana," no matter what you are doing.

1. Click the search box to the right of the Start button. A Cortana dialog box appears.

2. Click the menu icon in the upper right corner of Cortana's window. It has three stripes.

MORE: How to Send Email in Cortana

3. Select Notebook.

4. Select Settings.

5. Toggle "Let Cortana respond to 'Hey Cortana.'" to On.

Now the next time you say "Hey Cortana" into your microphone, you can follow that with a command such as "what's the weather like?" and get some results. If you just say "Hey Cortana," the assistant will ask "what would you like me to do." 

Cortana Tips and How-Tos

Having issues with Windows 10? Our sister site, Tom’s Hardware, has a team of staffers standing by in the forums to answer your questions 24/7.

The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.