FIX: Can’t activate Cortana in Windows 10

by Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Passionate about all elements related to Windows and combined with his innate curiosity, Ivan has delved deep into understanding this operating system, with a specialization in drivers and... read more
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  • If you can't activate Cortana on your device, make sure the assistant is available in the region. 
  • We're showing you what other things you can try to be able to use this app.
  • Stay in touch with the latest Windows 10 releases by visiting the News Hub.
  • Fix other Windows 10 issues like a pro using our dedicated Troubleshooting Guides.
can't activate cortana

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Windows 10 brought so many improvements and features, and one of the most anticipated was Microsoft’s personal assistant called Cortana.

With all the excitement around the launch, activating Cortana in Windows 10 proves troublesome right from the start for some users.

Here are some system errors that one can face when trying to activate the OS assistant:

  • Cortana missing Windows 10 
  • Can’t find Cortana 
  • No Cortana Windows 10 
  • Can’t turn Cortana in Windows 10 
  • Can’t enable Hey Cortana 

So, we’ve put together a few solutions that should help you deal with this issue.

What can I do if Cortana won’t activate on Windows 10?

  1. Check the region settings
  2. Disable the antivirus
  3. Check for updates
  4. Check your Microsoft account
  5. Run the Search troubleshooter
  6. Turn on the location
  7. Reset the Cortana process
  8. Reinstall Cortana

1.  Check the region settings

According to Microsoft, Cortana is available in the USA, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Japan, Australia, India, and China.

So if Cortana isn’t working for you, you probably aren’t located in the country that supports it.

But there’s a simple trick to still enable the assistant and here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open Settings and go to Time & Language.
  2. Click on Region and Language from the sidebar.
  3. Find Country or region option, and select a country from the list that supports Cortana. Can't find Cortana 
  4. Save your settings.

This is a neat little trick that lets you try Cortana even if you’re in a country that doesn’t have support for it.

We have to warn you that changing your system country or region might have some consequences such as a change in the default currency, or time and date format.

In addition, Microsoft Store might show you the apps designed for your newly-selected country.

If you need to download an app available only in your initial country or make a purchase, you can easily switch it to your original country as we showed before.

2. Disable the antivirus

Third-party antivirus programs are sometimes a silent blocker of Windows 10 features. Sure, the antivirus will keep you safe from malicious attacks, but it can also disable some vital system functions.

To see if Cortana is among those functions, disable your antivirus for a couple of minutes, and try to activate Cortana again.

If you succeed, your problem is solved.

However, leaving your device unprotected is dangerous, especially since you can find a valuable antivirus alternative that protects your system without much interfering.

3. Check for updates

Microsoft delivers Cortana updates through Windows Update. So, if there’s something wrong with the virtual assistant, there’s a good chance Microsoft is working on a fix and will push it through Windows Update.

You can also manually see if any updates are available, by going to the Update & Security section of your system settings and hitting the Check for updates.

4. Check your Microsoft account

check your Microsoft account

Just like it’s the case with numerous other Microsoft features and products, Cortana is tightly connected to your Microsoft account.

So, if you’re not signed in properly, you won’t be able to take full advantage of using Cortana.

To remove the doubt, log out and log back into the Microsoft account, and try to activate Cortana once again.

We have an article on what to do if you’re having problems signing in with your Microsoft Account, in case you experience this issue.

5. Run the Search troubleshooter

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Head over to Updates & Security, then to Troubleshoot.
  3. Click Search and Indexing, and click Run the troubleshooter.Can't enable Hey Cortana 
  4. Wait for the process to finish.
  5. Restart your computer.

6. Turn on the location

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Head over to Privacy, then to  Location.
  3. If the Location service is turned off, you’ll see the message Location for this device is off. 
  4. Click Change, and toggle location On.Cortana missing Windows 10 
  5. Restart your computer.

7.  Restart the Cortana process

  1. Right-click the taskbar, and go to Task Manager.
  2. Scroll down through the list of processes, and locate Cortana.
  3. Click the Cortana process, and go to End Task.
  4. Restart your computer.

8. Reinstall Cortana

  1. Go to Search, type powershell, and open PowerShell as Administrator.
  2. Type in the following command, and press Enter: Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml"}Can't turn Cortana in Windows 10 
  3. Wait for the process to finish.
  4. Restart your computer.

Let us know if one of these solutions helped you activated Cortana on your Windows 10 devices. You can use the comments sections.

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