Software Windows

Where has Cortana gone in Windows 11?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Windows 11 is here, and it brings along with it a fresh look and a few new features. However, one feature that seems to be missing is Cortana. Unlike Windows 10, she’s no longer sat waiting on the taskbar, ready to answer all your questions.

The good news is that Cortana is still around in Windows 11, she’s just not as front and centre as she once was. So, if you like using Microsoft’s personal assistant and yelling “Hey Cortana” at your computer, let’s look at getting her back into your life.

I’m missing Cortana, what do I do?

Cortana is still available as an app in Windows 11. You just need to find her, sign in and maybe change some settings, such as voice activation.

Finding Cortana

The easiest way to get to Cortana is to open the start menu and click on All apps.

where has cortana gone in Windows 11?

Now scroll down – if necessary – to find Cortana within the rest of the apps beginning with C.

where has cortana gone in Windows 11?

Next, click on the app to open it.

Signing into Cortana

Cortana requires you to sign into a Microsoft account. Once you have opened the app, it’s possible Cortana will sign you in with the Microsoft account you use to log into Windows. If she does, you can jump to here.

Otherwise, Cortana will ask you to sign in by clicking the Sign in Button.

where has cortana gone in Windows 11?

You can now choose an account to sign in. This is usually the account you’ve used to log into your PC. If you’re happy using this account, select it and click Continue.

where has cortana gone in Windows 11?

If you wish to use another Microsoft account, select which type of account you would like to use. Once selected, click continue and fill in the account details.

where has cortana gone in Windows 11?

Once you’re logged in, Microsoft will ask for your consent to use some of your personal data. To do so, click on Accept and continue. You can refuse, of course, but you’ll be unable to use Cortana.

where has cortana gone in Windows 11?

Using Cortana

Once you’ve signed in, you can use Cortana. It’s the same app as in Windows 10 so, if you’re familiar with Cortana, continue to use it as before.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of Microsoft’s personal assistant, you can communicate with her in two ways:

  1. Type what you wish to ask in the box at the bottom of the app that says Ask Cortana anything. The answers will then appear in the style of a text messaging app.
  2. Click the Microphone icon to the right of the box at the bottom of the app and speak your question. Your question and the answers should now appear.
where has cortana gone in Windows 11?

How do I put Cortana on the Taskbar?

You might want Cortana to be accessible from the taskbar, as it is in Windows 10. To do so, first open the start menu and find Cortana under All apps. Once found, right click on the app. From the menu that appears, click on More and then select Pin to Taskbar from the sub-menu.

Cortana will now be available on the taskbar whenever you wish to chat.

But what if I want to shout “Hey Cortana” at my computer?

If you would prefer to use your voice to open the app, you can set up voice activation. With Cortana open, click on the three dots at the top left of the app and select Settings from the menu that appears.

Next, from the Setting menu, click on Voice activation.

To activate using your voice, you first need to change a privacy setting in Windows 10. To do this, click the link: Voice activation privacy settings.

The Privacy and security settings window within Windows 11 will now open. Under the Heading Apps that have requested voice activation access, click on the toggle switch to the right of the box Cortana so it shows: On.

Finish by closing the Privacy and security settings window, and Cortana should have the required permissions to be shouted at.

You can now close Cortana and anytime you wish to use the app, just say “hey Cortana” and she will open ready for your questions.


If you’re missing Cortana in Windows 11, fear not. Just follow the steps above and enjoy your conversations with her once more.

READ NEXT: When will you be offered the Windows 11 upgrade? Here’s Microsoft’s official answer

About the author

Mark Parvin

I have worked with and wrote about computers, video games and consumer tech for more years than I care to admit.
I currently run my own IT support business and write about the wonders of tech whenever I can.

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  • It wasn’t working after upgrading to 11. Did a reset of Cortana, which helped so at least now she can hear me when I click the mic icon but under settings for Voice activation is says the following: “Voice activation is currently unavailable and will be included in a future update.” So many Win 10 updated messed up my system and did full reset more than once. Happy about 11 so far not causing any BSOD, but alas, not all is good and one such thing is bye-bye voice activation – for now at least.