Microsoft’s virtual assistant, Cortana is a very useful feature of Windows 10. It can help you to search for your stuff (local and online), set reminders, send emails, etc. But its main power is voice-recognition, as Cortana will do anything possible, just by following your voice commands. So, if Cortana is not able to hear you, her functionality will drastically decrease.
If you’re encountering this problem, in this article, we’re going to talk about what to if your virtual assistant can’t hear you. Just follow the instructions below, and hopefully you’ll be able to talk to Cortana normally, again.
What to do if Cortana can’t hear you in Windows 10
This problem is caused either by a bad microphone, or wrong microphone settings, so we’ll go through all possible scenarios, in order to find a proper solution. Of course, we assume that Cortana is set properly on your computer, and that you’re only having problems with her recognizing your voice. If that’s not the case, check out our article about how to set up Cortana in your region.
Solution 1 – Set up your microphone
Check if you can use your microphone in other programs, like Skype, or Recording. If you can, skip this solution, and head below to the solution 2. But if you can’t use your microphone in other programs, you need to set it up correctly.
First thing first, make sure your microphone has been set as a default recording device. To do so, follow these steps:
- Right-click on the sound icon in your taskbar, and choose Recording devices
- Find the microphone you’re using, and make sure it has been set as a default recording device, if not, click on the microphone, and choose Set Default
Once your microphone is set to default, you need to configure it to work properly on your computer. To configure your microphone, do the following:
- Go to Search, type set up mic, and open Set Up Microphone
- You’ll be prompted to read a famous ‘Peter’ sentence, so read the sentence in order to allow computer to recognize your voice
- Once you’re done, your microphone will be set up properly.
When you make sure your microphone is set up properly, return to Cortana and try to give her a voice command, if she still can’t hear you, try some of the solutions below.
Solution 2 – Disable enhancements
There are some microphone and sound enhancements in Windows 10 that conflict with some other system features, including Cortana. So, disabling microphone enhancements could possibly solve the issue with Cortana not hearing you. We found this solution on reddit, and it was actually really helpful to some people, so it might help you, as well.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Right-click on the sound icon in the taskbar, and go to Recording devices
- Double-click on your default microphone
- Go to Enhancements, and check Disable all enhancements
After you disable all microphone enhancements, your Cortana will likely recognize your voice again, at least that’s what the majority of people say. But if you’re unable to talk with Cortana, even after disabling all enhancements, you know the procedure, keep looking for the solution below.
Solution 3 – Adjust microphone levels
Maybe Cortana hears you, but she can’t recognize what are you telling her. If that’s the case, your microphone level is probably set to low. Here’s what you need to do to fix that:
- Open recording devices, and double click on your default microphone
- Go to Levels tab, and adjust the scale a little higher
- Once you did that, click OK, and try to speak with Cortana again
Solution 4 – Update a microphone driver
It seems unlikely, but maybe your microphone driver prevents Cortana from hearing you. Some people reported that their microphone worked normal with all other programs, but not with Cortana, and once they updated the driver software, it started to work with Cortana, as well. So, if nothing above helped, you can try with updating your microphone driver.
If you’re not sure how to do that, do the following:
- Go to Search, type device manager, and open Device Manager
- Expand Audio inputs and outputs
- Right-click on your microphone, and choose Update Driver Software…
- Wait for the installation to finish (if there is an available update)
- Restart your computer
Installing the wrong driver versions can cause permanent damage to your system. Thus, we suggest to update drivers automatically by using a dedicated tool like Tweakbit Driver Updater.
This tool is approved by Microsoft and Norton Antivirus. After several tests, our team concluded that this is the best-automatized solution. Here’s how to use this software:
- Download and install TweakBit Driver Updater
- 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.
- 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.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.
This pretty much sums our article about microphone problems with Cortana in Windows 10. After performing these solutions, you should be able to talk with your virtual assistant normally, again. In case you have some other problems with Cortana, check out this article, and you might find a solution. Also, if you can’t hear sound from Cortana, this article should be helpful.
If you have any comments, or questions, just write them down in the comments, below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been since revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness. We want to be sure that our list has the best products that will fit your needs.