Yes, You Can Use Cortana in Windows 10 With Any Old Microphone

By Sean Hollister on at

One of the coolest new Windows 10 features is talking to your computer. For many people, it’ll be the first time they’ve had a voice-activated personal assistant on tap. And yet, most computers won’t have Cortana turned on by default—allegedly because they don’t have certified high-quality microphones built-in.

As far as I can tell, though, that won’t be a big deal: I activated Cortana—complete with the always-on “Hey Cortana” voice recognition command—on my personal desktop and laptop, and I’m having no issues yet. Windows 10 warned me that Cortana “might not be able to hear you clearly,” but my microphones certainly seem up to the task!

So far, I’ve tried with my Logitech G930 wireless headset, my Blue Snowball microphone, and—hey, why not—a Blue Icicle plugged into an XLR-equipped analog microphone too. Not to mention the crappy default mic built into my ThinkPad X240 laptop.

Cortana definitely seemed to interpret my commands a little faster with the higher-quality mics, but all of them seemed to launch Cortana, and issue a variety of voice commands, just fine.

I also just plugged in an analog headset with a 3.5mm jack, and that worked too. The only trouble I had was when swapping between audio devices, yanking them in and out of my computer. Then, Cortana would show me this:

Yes, You Can Use Cortana in Windows 10 With Any Old Microphone

If Cortana didn’t come pre-activated on your machine, how do you get it to work? Here’s a handy animated GIF walkthrough I just cooked up. Just start by tapping the search bar, then:

Yes, You Can Use Cortana in Windows 10 With Any Old Microphone

Easy, right?

This post is part of a week-long experiment with Windows 10 ahead of the official launch on July 29th. 


This article originally appeared on Gizmodo's Reviews Blog.