Cortana has become integrated throughout the Windows family since the release of Windows 10 a year ago. As of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update and August Update on the Xbox One, you’ll find Cortana can be used across all your Windows devices.

With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Cortana saw much-needed improvements across its conversational database and app integration.

Let’s look at Cortana updates from the Windows 10 Anniversary Update and what that means for you.

Cortana Updates in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Cortana in action in Windows 10

Cortana is one of the most functional updates to the OS with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. When compared to the size of updates elsewhere on the operating system, no other service or update comes close.

One of the biggest updates to Cortana’s AI functionality is her ability to suggest apps, help you with transportation, or remind you to do something based on its history of getting to know you. By expanding what Cortana can do, Microsoft is giving users a competitor to such apps as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa.

Even on the lock screen, you can invoke Cortana to act on your behalf. Cortana can come to conclusions and offer suggestions to users, such as when you schedule two appointments at one time. Cortana will now suggest moving one appointment or another on your behalf.

As we said, Cortana has been added to the lock screen, giving you reminders and suggestions when you step away from your PC. This can be disabled, too.

How to Disable Cortana on the Lock Screen

If you don’t want to use Cortana on the lock screen, you can easily disable the functionality by clicking on Cortana’s “Settings” icon when pulling her.

Cortana on lock screen settings

Under Lock Screen, click the slider to “Off” and now Cortana will be confined to desktop use.

Cortana App on Mobile Devices

Texts sent to computer via Cortana

Whether you use a Windows Phone, Android or iOS-based device, you can now send and receive notifications from devices to PC and vice versa. When enabled, text messages from your mobile devices will show up as Windows 10 notifications that you can either respond to or dismiss. Cortana will then send them on your behalf.

We’ll be providing an in-depth guide shortly to use Cortana on your mobile device.

How to Turn Off Text Message Notifications in Cortana

If you are using the Cortana app on a mobile device and don’t want text message notifications, you’ll need to turn off the functionality on your Windows 10 PC, not your mobile device.

To do that, open the “Settings” icon in Cortana.

Settings for Cortana notifications

Scroll down to “Send notifications between devices” and turn the slider to the “Off” position.

Playing with Cortana notification settings

You are also able to edit what syncs between devices below turning the functionality off.

Cortana Updates in the Windows Store

Developers now have access to Cortana’s core functionality, allowing them to develop apps that work correctly with her on the Windows platform.

Cortana apps in Windows Store

The Windows Store now specifically has a place for Cortana-based apps, making it easier to find ones that’ll work with voice commands and offer information to you during your computer use.

Cortana Updates on the Xbox One

The Xbox One now features Cortana functionality, replacing the Kinect voice command system coupled with the release of the Xbox One S.

Cortana will be able to give you tips, tricks, challenges, and more, along with helping you find games you’ll enjoy. Developers will also have access to create Xbox One Cortana-based apps for the game console, too.

Troubleshooting Issues with Cortana in Windows 10

Issue #1: Cortana Doesn’t Respond to Your Voice

Cortana’s settings allow you to train Cortana to get used to your voice. Run through these steps to increase her functionality for responding to your voice, especially if you have a very deep or high voice. You can also use Windows Key + C to get Cortana to manually listen to you if “Hey Cortana” doesn’t work.

Issue #2: Cortana and Windows Taskbar Don’t Respond to Interaction

Restart your PC. Chances are the Taskbar, and Cortana didn’t load properly when you started up, and a restart will correct the issue. Sometimes resetting Explorer in the Task Manager will fix this issue, too.

So far, not many issues have been talked about with Cortana’s updates in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update other than disabling key features we’ve discussed above. As issues appear, we’ll offer solutions for tackling them here.


The added functionality of Cortana, along with making her available on mobile devices and the Xbox One, brings Microsoft another step closer to having one central product that brings together all its devices.

Give Cortana a try after updating to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, along with your mobile phone and Xbox One to see what she can do. Once you get used to Cortana and how to use her, you’ll find her an invaluable source of amusement and functionality in one.