Can’t activate Cortana in Windows 10

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, it is dangerous to leave your device unprotected especially since you can find tools such as VIPRE that protect your system without much interfering.

This antivirus offers powerful real-time protection against all kinds of known and emerging online threats, with little false positives. In other words, it won’t mistakenly block safe apps to be threatening ones.

So when it comes to new apps, VIPRE will scan them before installation to ensure they are safe, but won’t interfere unless it’s strictly necessary.

VIPRE Antivirus Plus

Choose this powerful antivirus that protects your system without blocking the installations of new apps or features.

3. Check for updates

manually update cortana

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 the 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.

If you’re having problems signing in with your Microsoft Account, check this article.

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

end cortana from task manager

  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.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2015 and was completely revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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