Cortana has finally made her way to the PC as part of the latest Windows 10 January Technical Preview, and she resides on the taskbar. Activating her is as simple as clicking on the text-entry box and typing away or clicking on the microphone button to issues voice commands.
But those are not the only options; Cortana can also be activated hands-free using the ‘Hey Cortana’ feature. The feature is off by default, so you’ll have to turn it on first. Here’s how to do that:
Start by clicking on the Cortana icon on the taskbar to bring up her UI.
Then, click the hamburger icon on the top left corner, and clicking ‘Settings’.
Finally, switch the toggle under ‘Let Cortana respond when you say “Hey Cortana.” And that’s it!
You can now bring up Cortana by simply saying “Hey Cortana”. Of course you will need a microphone to do this on a desktop PC. You can use a desktop microphone or one integrated into a headset or webcam.
While the “Hey Cortana” feature is still being rolled out as part of the Denim firmware update to high-end Lumia devices, it’s great that the feature is now readily available to PC users. The “Hey Cortana” feature will definitely come in handy to power users as they can now activate her with minimal interference to their workflow. Users can be working on a Word document or browsing the web and have Cortana carry out commands or answer questions on the fly.
There is currently no voice training for the “Hey Cortana” command like on Windows Phone, but that may be included in future builds. If you want to access Cortana via a keyboard shortcut, try Win + Q to access the main Cortana screen. Or you can try Win + S to go right into searching with Cortana. Enjoy!