Cortana might be sharing a whole lot of our private information with Microsoft, but overlooking that, it is the first digital assistant for the desktop. Unfortunately, Cortana isn't enabled for every country and region. Here's how to enable Cortana for Windows, even in an unsupported country.
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Table of Contents
How to enable Cortana in Windows 10
There are three settings categories that need to be aligned for us to enable Cortana. We need to have the proper Country or region, Windows display language, and Speech language.
Here are the "winning" combinations that can enable Cortana so far:
|Country or region||Windows display language||Speech language|
|United States||English (United States)||English (United States)|
|United Kingdom||English (United Kingdom)||English (United Kingdom)|
|Germany||Deutsch (Deutschland)||Deutsch (Deutschland)|
|France||Français (France)||Français (France)|
|Italy||Italiano (Italia)||Italiano (Italia)|
|Spain||Español (España)||Español (España)|
If a single setting is different, for example if our country or region is "Canada" instead of "United States", we can't enable Cortana.
We also can't mix-n-match. If our country or region is the United States but the Windows display language and Speech language are "English (United Kingdom)", we won't be able to enable Cortana.
So, if we get a message that Cortana isn't available in our region, we will need to change our country or region, the Windows display language, the Speech language, or all three.
Change settings to enable Cortana
First, we open the "Settings" app...
...and then click on Time & language.
On "Region & language", we check the "Country or region" and the "Windows display language".
We can change "Country or region" by selecting a different one from the list, but we will need to install a different Windows display language if the current language doesn't support Cortana.
How to add a new language
We just click the "+ add a language" and select the language of our choice.
If we are looking for "English (United States)" or "English (United Kingdom)" we will find it inside "English".
After we add the language, we click on the new language, select "Options"...
...and download the language pack and the Speech.
Finally, we set the language as default, in accordance with the "Country or region".
Set Speech language and apply changes
The last step is to go to the "Speech" settings screen and change the language there too.
To apply the changes, we need to sign out and sign back in to enable the change.
Enable Cortana and "Hey Cortana"
After we sign in, we just search for "Cortana and Search Settings".
We press Next to enable Cortana...
...and we also must agree to the privacy statement. We should read it carefully, to know what personal information will Microsoft gather about us.
After that, we enter our name, like we want Cortana to call us.
Finally, searching again for "Cortana and Search Settings"...
...we can now enable the "Hey Cortana" feature so that Cortana will respond to oral commands.
We can also train Cortana to recognize our voice and pronunciation better, through the "Learn my voice" option.
Settings that won't affect Cortana
There are a couple of settings for language and region that won't affect Cortana.
We can have any time zone we wish.
And we can have any language for non-Unicode programs.
Did you have trouble to enable Cortana?
If anything didn't work as described in the guide, and you weren't able to enable Cortana on your system, leave us a comment.
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