How to Turn On 'Hey Cortana' in Windows 10

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Hey Cortana

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.

click search box

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

select menu

MORE: How to Send Email in Cortana

3. Select Notebook.

Select Notebook

4. Select Settings.

Select settings

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

toggle 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 weather



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.

Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of 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.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
Add a comment
  • david johnson Says:

    I would really like to have the contna install to my pc and I want to know how much money it would cost me to have this installed to my pc?

  • Theresa Says:

    thank u ,understood a lot better than virtual assist. I hate that. I need as much info as I can get just got born again literally died in 2015!

  • Ernie Says:

    This is no longer applicable to Windows 10. There is no "settings" option in the Cortana notebook. What a disappointment.

  • Mark A. Says:

    There is no "Settings" option in my Windows 10 Cortana Notebook list. What now?

  • Lawrence Says:

    I find windows 10 too different . I have an external hard drive . I plug it in it says. Access denied and does not tell me why or how to get access to it . comes up with a screen with a box to enter something in but does not tell you what to enter.I never entered any password , code of any sort . How can this be entered in to computer and be found and accessed ? ? ?

  • Junaid Says:

    Thanks! :D

    Cortana without Hey Cortana wasnt fun :P

  • ProjectX Says:

    I'm not very sure about you but this certainly worked for me without any problem. Maybe you had an issue where you upgraded previous Windows to 10? I had that issue and fresh installed PC worked for me.

  • Albert Says:

    I'm really disappointed in Windows 10. It was hepped up to be the best but it's the worst I had so far. My last one was Vista and I'm sorry I changed to windows 10. Your critical error/cortana quits working whenever it wants to. It says it will 'try' to fix itself but this rarely happens. As far as I'm concerned, windows 10 is a piece of electronic shit. Now fix it!!

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