If you’re new to Windows 10 or just have a new Win 10 PC, here’s a quick tutorial on how to set up the Cortana virtual assistant to respond to your voice.

First, you’ll definitely need a microphone. Most laptops come with one built in, many desktop PCs require you to purchase an additional one.  (Click here to check out microphone options.)

Once the microphone has been plugged in, we can begin. Open Cortana by clicking the circle inside your search box in the lower-left corner of the taskbar.

circle-insquare

Cortana will open.  You can ask Cortana questions by clicking on the microphone icon to the right of the search box. Or you can turn on “Hey Cortana” and ‘she’ will follow commands and answer questions at your voice command. Here’s how to do that:

cortana-open

Click on Settings.

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Make sure you’ve opened Cortana and not the Windows Start Menu, which looks like this. If you click the square Start Button instead of the circle, you’ll get the Start Menu, which looks like this:

start-menu

The settings for Cortana will open. Click on Talk to Cortana.

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Turn on Hey Cortana.  You also have the option to prevent your device from sleeping so that it is always ready to accept voice commands. Choose between having your device respond when anyone says “Hey Cortana” or setting it to only respond to your voice.

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You also have the option to keep Cortana active when the screen is locked and to permit Cortana to access calendar, mail, and messages when the screen is locked.

There’s also a choice of languages.

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My PC is set for English, but Microsoft also gives me the choice of choosing between regions, as American English can sound quite different from UK, Australian, Indian, and Canadian English.

cortana-english-options.jpg

Once Hey, Cortana is enabled, just say, “Hey, Cortana” and ask a question.

hey-cortana.jpg

Try asking for the temperature.

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)r have her open a program or setting.

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We’ll explore Cortana’s capabilities more in future articles.