FIX: Cortana not working in Windows 10

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Last update:
Affiliate Disclosure

  • Cortana is personal assistant software and a core component of Windows 10.
  • Cortana issues are usually caused by corrupted system files or your settings.
  • We covered Cortana news and issues extensively, and you can find them all at our Cortana hub.
  • This article is one of many guides from our Windows 10 errors hub. If you’re having more issues with your PC, we advise you to check our hub.
start menu and cortana not working
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Cortana is one of the most notable and most useful additions in Windows 10. But not working Cortana could be very annoying and it could decrease the functionality of the system a lot, but there’s a way to fix that.

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

Cortana is one of the best features of Windows 10, however, many users reported various issues with it. Speaking of issues, here are some common problems reported by users:

  • Windows 10 Start Menu and Cortana not working – There are many reasons for this problem, and we covered similar issues in our Start Menu not working article, so be sure to check it out.
  • Cortana not working after update – Several users reported that Cortana isn’t working after an update. To fix the problem, simply re-register Universal applications and the issue should be resolved.
  • Cortana keeps closing – This is another common problem that you can encounter. To fix it, simply create a new user account and check if that solves the issue.
  • Cortana not available, talking, showing up, opening, searching, loading – There are many issues that can appear while using Cortana, but you should be able to solve most of them by using one of our solutions.

1. Change your region

  1. Open the Settings app. You can do that quickly by pressing Windows Key + I shortcut.
  2. Now, navigate to the Time & Language section.
    settings app Cortana not opening
  3. From the menu on the left choose Region & language. In the right pane, set your Country or region to the United States.
    country or region Windows 10 Start Menu and Cortana not working

After making these changes, Cortana should start working on your PC without any issues.

Cortana isn’t available in your country? Here’s how to enable it with one simple trick!

2. Check your firewall

  1. Go to Search, type firewall and open Allow an app through Windows Firewall.
  2. In Allowed apps window go to Change settings.
    change settings Windows 10 Start Menu and Cortana not working
  3. Now locate all Cortana features in Allowed apps and features: and check all of them.
  4. Click OK and check if Cortana is working now.

If Cortana won’t work, your firewall might be the cause for it, so make sure that Cortana is allowed through your firewall.

3. Create a new user account

  1. Open the Settings app and go to the Accounts section.
    accounts Cortana not working after update
  2. Go to Family & other people section in the left pane. In the right pane, click Add someone else to this PC button.
    family and other people Cortana keeps closing
  3. Choose I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.
    no sign in information Cortana keeps closing
  4. You’ll be asked to sign in with a Microsoft account. Choose Add a user without a Microsoft account.
    add a user without a Microsoft account Cortana not showing up
  5. Enter the desired username and click Next.
    account information Windows 10 Start Menu and Cortana not working

Once you create a new user account, switch to it and check if the problem is still there. If Cortana works on the new account, switch back to your old one and check if the issue is still present.

Sometimes if Cortana isn’t working, the best way to fix it is to create a new user account, so be sure to try that.

4. Check your antivirus

bitdefender Cortana not working after update

In some instances, third-party antivirus software can cause issues with Cortana to occur. To fix the problem, it’s advised that you disable certain antivirus features or completely disable your antivirus.

Several users reported that the only way to fix this problem was to completely remove their antivirus.

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If removing the antivirus solves your Cortana issues, this might be a good time to consider switching to different antivirus software.

Bitdefender provides the best protection on the market, and it’s fully compatible with Windows 10, so it won’t interfere with your system in any way.

Want to remove Cortana completely from Windows 10? Do that with our simple guide!

5. Perform SFC and DISM scans

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu. Choose Command Prompt (Admin) or PowerShell (Admin). You can also use any other method to open Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. When Command Prompt starts, enter sfc /scannow and press Enter.
    command prompt sfc Cortana not working after update
  3. The scanning process will now start. Keep in mind that this process can take about 15 minutes or so.

Once the SFC scan is finished, check if the problem is still there. If the issue is still there, or if you couldn’t run an SFC scan, your next step would be to use a DISM scan instead. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Start Command Prompt as an administrator.
  2. Now enter Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth command and run it.
    command prompt Cortana keeps closing

DISM scan will now start. This process can take about 20 minutes or more, so don’t interrupt it. Once the DISM scan is completed, check if the problem is still there.

Corrupted files are a common source of problems, and if Cortana won’t work, SFC and DISM scan might be the best ways to fix it.

6. Re-register Universal apps

  1. Press Windows Key + S, enter powershell and right-click Windows PowerShell from the list of results. Choose Run as administrator from the menu.
  2. When PowerShell starts, run the following command: Get-AppXPackage | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest­.xml
    powershell Cortana keeps closing

Once the command is executed, the issue with Cortana should be resolved.

7. Run chkdsk scan

  1. Start Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Now enter chkdsk /f X: command. Be sure to replace X with the letter that represents your system drive. In almost all cases that would be C.
    command prompt window Cortana not available
  3. You’ll be asked if you want to schedule a scan. Press Y and restart your PC.

Once your PC restarts, the chkdsk scan will automatically start. The scan can take up to 20 minutes, depending on the size of your partition, so you’ll have to be patient.

After the chkdsk scan is finished, check if the issue with Cortana is resolved.

8. Install the latest updates

  1. Open the Settings app and go to the Update & Security section.
    update & security Cortana not working after update
  2. Click Check for updates button.
    check for updates button Windows 10 Start Menu and Cortana not working

Windows will now check for available updates. If any updates are available, they’ll be automatically downloaded and installed as soon as you restart your PC.

That’s all, I hope at least one of these solutions helped you to solve your problem with Cortana. If you have any questions or suggestions, please write them down in the comment section below.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Open PowerShell as administrator and run the Get-AppXPackage | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest­.xml command.

  • To reinstall Cortana, open PowerShell as administrator and run the Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers Microsoft.Windows.Cortana | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml”} command.

  • If Cortana is not connecting to the Internet, the issue is most likely your firewall. Open your firewall settings and make sure that Cortana is allowed to access the Internet.

  • To show Cortana search box, right-click your Taskbar and choose Cortana > Show search box.

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About Cortana. I’m in the UK, all of my settings for location and language are correct but I’m told Cortana is disabled by company policy. I tried logging in on a local account – no change, I still can’t enable Cortana. Am I missing something obvious here?

Thanks Ken but no, it’s just my own personal desktop. However, since yesterday’s update, the problem has changed to “not available in your area” so I am now working on that.

She’s not in my area either. In modern settings, Time&Language, you have to set region to UK/US making sure that you add and then click on the relevant language below and set it to default. A restart is needed too.