Cortana missing or not working after a Windows 10 major update

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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It appears that the Windows 10 Anniversary Update and Cortana don’t get along very well. Many users complained Cortana was missing after they installed the update on their machines. Other users were a bit luckier, they could find Cortana, but they couldn’t get her to work.

The fact that Cortana is not working on the latest Windows 10 version is surprising, taking into account all the publicity Microsoft created around its personal assistant.

After the Anniversary Update Cortana has gone

Cortana missing or not working Anniversary update

“[…] now Cortana is missing. When I click on the Search icon, there is no notebook, no light bulb, and if I try Settings, I just get “Change what Cortana knows about me in the cloud.” No sound commands in Cortana are working, from “Hey Cortana” to anything in Search. I can’t search by voice.”

Users can no longer use Cortana after updating to Windows 10 version 1607

“So as soon as the update to Anniversary update finished, I hit up Cortana and after a second it changed back to the regular “search” and doesn’t let me turn on Cortana back again.”

Other users managed to get Cortana to work to a certain extent. However, it appears that not all the options are available: the info cards, the notification mirroring and other features are unresponsive, or they are missing altogether.

How to fix Cortana issues in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

The only solution we found to fix Cortana-related issues in the Anniversary Update involves modifying the registry. If you managed to find other workarounds, list them in the comment section below.

cortana not working anniversary update registry

  1. Type regedit in the search box > hit Enter
  2. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search
  3. Change BingSearchEnabled from 0 to 1.
  4. Make sure all the Cortana flags are set to 1.
  5. Try to use Cortana again.


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  • ya, i have no BingSearchEnabled file… on Windows 10 education, ‘m pretty sure im just gonna revert the update, its pretty ugly

  • After I try this fix it is still missing
    Here is a screen shot of my regedit
    Note: I dont have a BingSearchEnabled, So I made one.
    Can Anyone help?

  • “Hey Cortana” stopped working after the Anniversary update – I couldn’t set the language to English UK. Surprisingly, a MIcrosoft technician resolved it by setting the Search option to Bing (it had been turned off somehow). So, sharing the fix:

    Run regedit and go to

    In the right hand window select “BingSearchEnabled using right click and “Modify”. If the hexadecimal value is 0 change it to 1 and click OK. Exit regedit, start the Cortana search and all options should now be available

    • Unfortunately, after a few days I found that the function ”synchronize notifications across devices” to retrieve my android phone’s notifications are not working.
      Any tricks to get this solved?

      • well, turned out the solution is simple – i just need to update my phone’s cortana into the latest version. haha. thank you, anyway. 🙂

  • Thank you very much for the information. Had the same problem as described. It worked for me! Thanks again – I appreciate it.