One of the big new features available in Windows 10 is Cortana, the virtual personal assistant from Microsoft. Made popular with her wit and feature-set on Windows Phone 8.1, Cortana on Windows 10 adds a friendly face (voice) to easily getting things done on the PC.
Contana can help you set reminders, answer your questions, send emails for you and much more. You can get Cortana to carry out tasks by either typing or voice. Simply speaking to her is of course more natural but she does need to hear you clearly. For best results, we’ve compiled a few things you can do to ensure she hears you loud and clear.
We are, of course, assuming your desktop, laptop, or tablet has a microphone of some sort, whether it’s built-in or a peripheral/accessory. That said, if you notice that Cortana is having a hard time hearing or is not properly recognizing your words, here’s what you can do to help resolve the issue.
Step 1: Open the Sound Properties settings by right-clicking the speaker icon on your taskbar and clicking ‘Recording devices’.
Step 2: Ensure that your active microphone is set as the default. If multiple microphones are listed, snap your fingers near your mic and monitor the volume meters to see which one lights up, set it as the default by clicking on the mic, and then pressing the ‘Set Default’ button.
Step 3: Next, double-click the active microphone which you have set as the default, and in the sub-window, click the ‘Levels’ tab. Depending on your microphone, you could see several sliders here. In our case, we have ‘Microphone’ and ‘Microphone Boost’. It’s really trial and error from here, so start by increasing the ‘Microphone’ slider, and test Cortana’s ability to hear and understand you.
If you’ve fully increase the first slider, and Cortana still can’t hear you properly, start increasing Microphone Boost gradually. If an ‘Enhancement’ tab is available (again this depends on your specific microphone), go into it and enable features like Noise Suppression.
Remember to test Cortana every step of the way as simply maxing out the sliders and enabling all the features could make your microphone too sensitive, thus taking you back to square one or even making things worse.
Step 4: Train Cortana to better recognize your voice when you say ‘Hey Cortana’ to bring her up. Do this by clicking on Cortana on the taskbar, hit the notebook icon in the hamburger menu, click ‘Settings’, then click the ‘Learn my voice’ button. Cortana will then walk you through the instructions to complete the process.
You should now be all set! Keep in mind though, that there are other factors that could lead to Cortana not hearing or understanding you well. Your microphone for example could be of poor quality (or filled with dust and lint). Cortana might also have difficulty understanding you because of your accent, which is one of the reasons why Microsoft cannot simply make Cortana available in all regions across the world at once, even for a universal language like English.
Further reading: Cortana, Microsoft, Windows 10