Windows 10 Cortana Tutorial: How to Set Up and Begin Using the Personal Assistant Feature

If you have used Android’s Google Now or iOS’ Siri to get personalized assistance, you might be excited to hear Windows 10 now has a similar function via its Cortana personal assistant. Much like the aforementioned mobile systems, Cortana collects data about your habits to learn more and more about you. This data is used to offer useful suggestions, improve voice recognition, track flights, get directions, remind you of calendar events and more. Before you can access this handy feature, however, you have to set it up and agree to the terms of use.

1. Click the search field to open Cortana and select Next from the Home tab.

2. Click Yes, if you receive a request to turn on speech, inking and typing personalization. If this option is already enabled, you will not see this option.

3. Click I Agree after reading the Privacy Statement. Keep in mind that agreeing to use Cortana means Microsoft collects an enormous amount of data about you, but then so does Google and Apple when using Google Now or Siri, respectively.

4. Enter your name in the field provided and click Next.

5. Click Settings, if you are asked to enable the location service. Doing so opens the appropriate section in Windows 10 Settings. This option does not appear if you already have the location service enabled, which also means you can skip the next step.

6. Click the Location slider, so that it displays On. If you are on an administrator account, click Change and choose to enable location, which will give every account on your computer the ability to enable or disable the location service.

Note: if the Location slider is grayed out and no Change button appears, you’re on a standard account and the location service is not enabled in the administrator account. Log in to the administrator account and enable the location service there. Then, return to enable the location service in the current account.

7. Log in to your Microsoft account, if you are asked to do so. If you are currently using a local account, you’ll be asked to switch to a Microsoft account in order to use Cortana.

Once logged in, you can start using Cortana:

However, you might also want to fine-tune your interests by enabling/disabling certain categories.

8. Click the Notebook icon and choose a category to enable or disable them. Doing so helps Cortana learn your preferences to provide more useful information.