A reader had a question about Cortana, the digital assistant in Windows 10 that you can control with voice activation. “Do you have to have a microphone to install and speak with Cortanta?”

You don’t have to have a microphone to use Cortana. You can simply type in your questions or commands for her, just as you would with any other search feature.


One neat thing about Cortana, even without voice control, is that she understands natural language. That means you can just ask her, “How do I change the picture on my desktop?” instead of searching for “Desktop settings.”

Of course, Cortana won’t be able to hear you without a microphone. The voice controls are fun, but not necessary to use Cortana.¬† However, microphones don’t have to be expensive. I’m using a pretty cheap model attached to a headset for Cortana and it works pretty well.

You should be able to find  an inexpensive stand microphone for less than $10 and headsets with microphones are available for just a little bit more.

Also, many laptops actually already have built-in microphones that you may not be using.

Bottom line, a microphone is nice to have and Cortana is fun to use, but it’s not necessary to use Windows 10.

~ Cynthia