Fix: Unable to Hear Cortana Speak in Windows 10

Ivan Jenic By: Ivan Jenic
8 minute read

Home » Fix: Unable to Hear Cortana Speak in Windows 10

One of the most anticipated features of Windows 10 was its virtual assistant Cortana. Although Cortana is great as a virtual assistant it appears that some Windows 10 users can’t hear Cortana speak, so let’s try to fix that.

Users report that audio on Windows 10 is working without any problems on both speakers and headphones, but for some reason, users are unable to hear Cortana. Fortunately for you, we have several solutions that might help you fix this issue.

What to do if You Can’t Hear Cortana Speak in Windows 10

Cortana is a great feature, but some Windows 10 users reported issues with it. As for issues, users reported the following problems with Cortana:

  • Cortana not speaking Windows 10 – This is a common problem with Cortana, and if you’re having this issue, try updating your Windows to the latest version and check if that helps.
  • Cortana doesn’t talk – Many users reported that Cortana won’t talk at all on their PC. If you have that problem, be sure to install both UK English and US English text to speech features.
  • Can’t hear Cortana voice, speak Windows 10 – Many users reported that they can’t hear Cortana speak on their PC. To fix this problem, be sure to disable any audio devices that you aren’t using.
  • Cortana won’t speak – In some cases Cortana won’t speak at all. If you encounter this problem, be sure to try some of our solutions.

Solution 1 – Install both UK English and US English text to speech

This is a simple solution, you just need to install UK and US English text to speech and you’ll be able to hear Cortana. To install UK and US English text to speech do the following:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps > Mange optional features.
    Cortana won't speak
  2. Now locate UK and US English text to speech features and install them all.

In addition, users also suggest that installing .NET 3.5 and .NET 2.0 might help with this issue.


Solution 2 – Update your audio driver

If you can’t hear Cortana on your Windows 10 PC, the problem might be your audio drivers. If your audio drivers are out of date, you might experience this and other problems. However, you can easily fix the issue by following these steps:

  1. Firstly uninstall your audio driver. To do so go to the Device Manager, find your audio driver, right click and choose Uninstall.Can't hear Cortana speak Windows 10
  2. After you’ve uninstalled your audio driver go to the Settings > Apps > Optional features and remove text to speech features.
  3. Now you need to update your audio driver. You can check your motherboard manufacturer’s website for latest audio drivers. If there are Windows 10 drivers available make sure that you download them.
  4. After you’ve downloaded and installed the latest drivers go to the Settings > Apps > Optional features and install US and UK text to speech features.

Update drivers automatically

It is very important to choose the right driver versions when searching for a driver on the manufacturer’s website. In case you choose and install the wrong one, this may harm all your system.

Tweakbit’s Driver Updater (approved by Microsoft and Norton Antivirus) will help you update drivers automatically and prevent PC damage caused by installing the wrong driver versions. After several tests, our team concluded that this is the best-automatized solution.
Here is a quick guide on how to use it:

    1. Download and install TweakBit Driver Updaterdriver updater starting window
    2. Once installed, the program will start scanning your PC for outdated drivers automatically. Driver Updater will check your installed driver versions against its cloud database of the latest versions and recommend proper updates. All you need to do is wait for the scan to complete.
      scanning proccess of Tweakbit driver updater
    3. Upon scan completion, you get a report on all problem drivers found on your PC. Review the list and see if you want to update each driver individually or all at once. To update one driver at a time, click the ‘Update driver’ link next to the driver name. Or simply click the ‘Update all’ button at the bottom to automatically install all recommended updates.
      Automatically Update complete
      Note: Some drivers need to be installed in multiple steps so you will have to hit the ‘Update’ button several times until all of its components are installed.

Disclaimer: some features of this tool are not free.


Solution 3 – Change your different audio device

In order to hear Cortana properly, you need to set your default audio device. Sometimes certain glitches can occur with your audio device and that can cause this issue to appear. To fix the problem you need to set a new default audio device by following these steps:

  1. Right click the sound icon in your taskbar and go to Playback devices.
    Cortana not speaking Windows 10
  2. Right click any of the options that aren’t default and choose Set as Default device.
    Cortana not speaking Windows 10
  3. Now right click the previously default device and choose Set as Default device.
  4. Save your settings.

Cortana sometimes tends to use a non-default audio output device. We’re unsure why this happens, but in order to fix it, it’s recommended to disable all non-default audio devices. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Sound window like you did in the previous steps.
  2. Activate Cortana and send her a voice command.
  3. Cortana should now respond to you and you’ll see changes in the sound window. If the changes are shown on a non-default device, simply right click that device and choose Disable from the menu.
    Can't hear Cortana voice

After doing that, the problem should be resolved. Many users reported that this method worked for them, so be sure to try it out.


Solution 4 – Set Cortana to respond only to you

To do this go to Cortana dashboard and find the option that allows Cortana only to respond to your voice. You’ll be asked to read a few sentences in order for the application to “learn” your voice. After you’ve done that you should be able to hear Cortana.


Solution 5 – Check your privacy settings

Cortana is a great feature, but many users are concerned about Cortana spying on them. In order to address these concerns, Microsoft added a privacy option that allows you to choose which applications can use your microphone.

If you can’t hear Cortana, the issue might lie in your Privacy settings. However, you can easily fix that by doing the following:

  1. Open the Settings app. You can do that quickly by pressing Windows Key + I shortcut.
  2. When Settings app opens, navigate to the Privacy section.
    Cortana doesn't talk
  3. Go to the Microphone section in the left pane. In the right pane, in Choose apps that can use you microphone section be sure to enable Search.
    Can't hear Cortana speak Windows 10

After doing that, Cortana will be allowed to use your microphone and you’ll be able to hear her.


Solution 6 – Use your microphone to send commands to Cortana

Many Windows 10 users reported that they can’t hear Cortana after typing their commands. Even though Cortana can process their commands, they are still unable to hear her. This is not a bug or a problem, in fact, this is a default behavior for Cortana.

In order for Cortana to respond to you with voice, you’ll have to issue your command by using your microphone. If you type your command Cortana will perform it, but it won’t respond with voice, instead the results will be shown as text.

This is a default behavior and it can’t be changed, so if you want to hear Cortana, be sure to send your commands using the microphone.


Solution 7 – Change TTS settings

According to users, if you can’t hear Cortana, the issue might be your TTS settings. To fix the problem, simply change TTS settings in Cortana and set the default voice to Microsoft Zera Mobile.

After doing that, the problem with Cortana should be completely resolved.


Solution 8 – Check if your headset is paired properly

Several users reported that they can’t hear Cortana on their Bluetooth headset. If you’re having the same problem, be sure to try pairing your Bluetooth headset with your PC again. This can be just a temporary glitch, but after reconnecting your Bluetooth device, the issue was completely resolved.


Solution 9 – Try creating a new user profile

If you’re unable to hear Cortana, the issue might be your profile. Sometimes a user profile can get corrupted and that can cause this issue to appear. To check if your profile is the problem, it’s advised to create a new profile on your PC. This is relatively simple, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app and go to Accounts section.
    Cortana doesn't talk
  2. In the left pane, select Family & other people. In the right pane, click on Add someone else to this PC.
    Can't hear Cortana voice
  3. Select I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.
    Cortana won't speak
  4. Now select Add a user without a Microsoft account.
    Cortana not speaking Windows 10
  5. Enter the desired username and click on Next to proceed.
    Cortana doesn't talk

After creating a new user account, switch to it and check if the problem still appears. If not, the issue is most likely caused by corrupted profile. Unfortunately, you can’t repair a corrupted profile, but you can always switch to a new profile and move all your personal files to it.


Solution 10 – Install the latest updates

If you’re having problems with Cortana, the issue might be caused by missing updates. Cortana is one of the most popular features of Windows 10, and Microsoft is doing its best to keep this feature working properly. If you can’t hear Cortana on your PC, the issue might be a certain Windows glitch or a bug. However, you should be able to fix the problem by installing the latest updates.

By default, Windows 10 automatically installs the missing updates, but due to certain bugs, you might miss an update or two. However, you can always check for updates manually by doing the following:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Once the Settings app opens, navigate to Update & Security section.
    Cortana won't speak
  3. In the right pane, click on Check for updates button.
    Cortana not speaking Windows 10

Windows will now check for available updates. If any updates are available, they will be downloaded automatically in the background and installed once you restart your PC. After updating Windows 10 to the latest version, check if the problem with Cortana still persists.

We hope that these solutions were helpful to you, but if you need more solutions you can check No sound from Cortana in Windows 10 post that we wrote recently.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


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