Windows 10: Turn the "Hey Cortana" Feature On or Off

Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, first appeared on Windows Phone 8.1 and has migrated to Windows 10. The “Hey Cortana” feature allows you to activate the digital assistant by voice and use it. Here’s how to enable this feature or turn it off if you when don’t need it.

The “Hey Cortana” feature is always listening, and it makes it easy to launch programs, settings, create appointments and reminders… etc. However, if you're using your laptop while listening to a podcast, music, or watching Netflix, sometimes Cortana can turn on and start launching things – which can be annoying.

Turn Windows 10 “Hey Cortana” On or Off


It’s actually not enabled by default, so if you want to use it, you’ll need to turn it on first. To do that, open Cortana, and choose the Notebook icon on the right side, and then Settings.

Next, scroll down a bit and find the switch to turn “Hey Cortana” on or off as needed. Cortana will still work with the voice activation off, you just need to type in your queries.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re on a laptop or tablet and battery power is low, turning it off can save you some juice.

All digital assistants seem to have the problem of activating due to background noise. From Google Now to Siri and even Alexa on Amazon Echo is guilty. So if you have one of those digital assistants on your phone or other devices, you’ll want to toggle the “always listening” feature off on those.

If you’re just getting started with Cortana in Windows 10, this should take care of at least one thing that might annoy you at first.

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