Cortana Not Working? 8 Ways to Fix It Fast

What to do when your Windows 10 PC won't respond to “Hey Cortana”

Cortana is the Microsoft virtual assistant that comes built-in to Windows 10. Cortana users have periodically reported having issues with Cortana not responding to "Hey Cortana," Cortana going missing from the taskbar, and Cortana reminders not working. Whatever the reason, there are a few fixes you can try when Cortana is not working.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10.

The Microsoft Cortana logo
Microsoft

Causes of Cortana Not Working in Windows

Reasons why Cortana won't work in Windows might include:

  • Cortana is disabled in the Windows settings.
  • The microphone is disabled.
  • Interference from an antivirus program or another process.

Cortana cannot yet recognize all languages, and your PC can only recognize languages it is configured to support.

How to Fix Cortana Not Working in Windows 10

Try these steps in the order presented until Cortana operates normally:

  1. Turn on Cortana and configure the microphone. Make sure Cortana is enabled and configured correctly in the system settings.

  2. Test the microphone. Cortana can't respond to commands if your mic isn't working, so make sure the audio input is connected, enabled, and unmuted.

  3. Reboot Windows. If you recently started having problems with the smart assistant, restarting your PC might fix the problem by closing any processes that could be interfering with Cortana.

  4. Check for Windows updates. Microsoft has updates available to fix known issues with Cortana. Use Windows Update to make sure you have the latest version of the operating system.

  5. Disable antivirus software. There are known incompatibilities with Cortana and some antivirus programs. If the problem is resolved by disabling the software, consider uninstalling it and using Windows Defender instead.

  6. Fix the Windows Start menu. Often when Cortana isn't working, the Windows 10 Start menu is not working properly either. Therefore, addressing one problem will likely resolve the other.

  7. Reinstall Cortana. If none of the above options work, reinstall Cortana using an elevated PowerShell prompt. Enter the following command and wait for the process to finish:

    Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers Microsoft.Windows.Cortana | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}

  8. Reset the PC. Windows 10 has a reset feature that allows you to keep your personal files while restoring Windows to its original state. If none of the above options work, try a clean install of Windows.

Reinstalling Windows will cause you to lose all the files and software installed on your computer, so back up the files you want to keep.