Virtual assistants are designed to make our life easy. You can use them to open apps, add to-dos, search the web, ask questions, and much more. But sometimes, they start throwing tantrums (just like humans) and eventually fail to do their job.
Recently, I was using Cortana, the personal digital assistant from Microsoft, on my Windows 10 PC to add a to-do item when it showed the error ‘Something went wrong. Try again in a little bit.’ Interestingly, some queries worked while others failed.
That’s one example of the error. Sometimes, Cortana displays the same error just after you tap on the Cortana microphone icon even before you say something.
If you are also facing the issue, things are about to change for good. Here you will find a couple of ways to fix that problem. Let’s get started.
1. Restart Your Computer
If you are facing the problem for the first time, try the golden method of restarting your PC.
2. Sign out of Your Account
Sometimes, the issue is related to your account. So try signing out and see if that fixes the issue. To do that, follow these steps:
Step 1: Click on the Start Menu icon to open it.
Step 2: In the Start menu, click on the user icon followed by clicking on Sign Out.
Step 3: Then sign in again using your Microsoft account credentials. Hopefully, Cortana should be up and running perfectly for you.
3. Use Same Languages
Language plays a crucial role in the functioning of Cortana. It is recommended to keep the device and speech language same as that to the supported country or region language.
Step 4: Go to the Region option and ensure Country or region is set to a supported country.
Step 5: Finally, click on the Speech section and verify that the language under Speech language is the same as the language in Step 3.
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4. Change Cortana Language
Even after keeping the above languages the same, sometimes a few Cortana functions don’t work. You need to check your Cortana settings and use a supported language.
Here are the steps to achieve that.
Step 1: Click on Settings under Start Menu.
Step 2: Click on Cortana.
Alternatively, click on the search box next to Start Menu (or the Cortana icon) and hit the settings gear icon to go to Cortana settings directly.
Step 3: Under Talk to Cortana section, scroll down and change the Cortana language. Preferably, it should match the language set in the above method.
5. Troubleshoot Cortana
Microsoft provides a built-in troubleshooter that aims to solve many issues. Here are the steps to troubleshoot Cortana.
Step 1: Open Start Menu and click on the Settings icon on the left side.
Step 2: Click on Update & Security.
Step 3: From the options available on the left side, click on Troubleshoot.
Step 4: Scroll down under Troubleshoot and click on Search & Indexing. Then hit the Run the troubleshooter button.
Step 5: Follow the on-screen instructions to start the troubleshooting process. Once finished, restart your PC.
Alternatively, open Control Panel and go to Troubleshooting. Click on View All present in the left sidebar. That will load a list of Troubleshooters available. Double-click on Search and Indexing to initiate the troubleshooting process.
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6. Update Windows
Sometimes the problem arises due to a bug in the Windows update. If you tried all the above methods, check for an available Windows update.
To do so, go to Settings from the Start Menu. Click on Update & Security.
Then click on Check Updates or if an update is available and downloaded, click on Install now.
Bonus Tip: Useful Cortana Commands
Cortana can save a lot of clicks and give your fingers a rest to do the basic interactive actions with a Windows-based PC. Here are some helpful commands that will get you accustomed to Cortana quickly.
Open Apps and Settings
You can use Cortana to do all your digital labor. For instance, you can use it to open apps on your laptop by saying ‘Open Candy Crush’ or ‘Go to Control Panel.’
Similarly, use it to launch settings such as ‘Open keyboard settings’ directly.
Not only can you open settings, but you can even control them. Use the commands ‘Turn on/off Bluetooth’, ‘Enable/disable Wi-Fi or Airplane mode’ to name a few examples.
Add Notes in OneNote
If you are a regular user of the OneNote app, Cortana integrates with that as well. Say the command ‘Take a note’ or ‘Create a note’ followed by the actual note text. It will be saved directly in OneNote.
Similarly, Cortana helps you in translating text, doing the math, converting currency, defining words, and even tells you jokes and facts.
In my case, the issue was with the language. Changing the Cortana language fixed the problem immediately, and I was able to add my to-dos using Cortana. Note that, the to-dos in Cortana now integrate with Microsoft To-Do, a cross-platform task management tool. It is available on iPhone, Android, and has a web version too.
Next up: Bored with your Windows 10 laptop? Spice it up with these tips and tricks.