How to enable 'Hey, Cortana' on Windows 10

There's a switch you'll need to enable before you can get Cortana's attention from across the room.

Josh Miller/CNET

Editors' note:This post has been updated to reflect changes to Windows 10 and the process for activating "Hey, Cortana."

One of the standout new features found in Windows 10 is the addition of Cortana. For those unfamiliar, Cortana is a voice-activated personal assistant. Think of it as Siri, but for Windows. You can use it to get weather forecasts, set reminders, tell you jokes, send email, find files, search the Internet and so on.

One feature aimed at making Cortana a staple of your Windows 10 experience involves being able to summon the digital assistant using nothing but your voice with a simple "Hey, Cortana" command. The only thing is, at least as of right now in the technical preview, you have to enable this feature.

  • To activate "Hey, Cortana," click in the search box located in the Taskbar.
  • cortana-notebook-button.jpg
    Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
  • When the Search window comes up, click on the Notebook icon on the left side of the window.
  • cortana-settings-button.jpg
    Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
  • Next, click on the Settings icon.
  • cortana-enable.jpg
    Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
  • There you'll find a button to enable Hey Cortana. Click on it to slide it to the On position.
  • You can now go about using your computer as you normally would, and whenever you need Cortana to perform a task, start by saying, "Hey, Cortana," followed by your command. I've found you have to continue with your command immediately after the activation prompt, instead of waiting for Cortana to load and indicate that it's listening.

    Windows 10 has a release date of July 29, and is a free upgrade for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users.

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