Voice Activation Troubleshooting in Windows 10

One of the smarter things Microsoft did with Windows 10 is to separate Cortana from Search. Cortana is now strictly a voice assistant. It was bound to happen because not everyone uses Cortana, and then it also paved the way for other assistants like Alexa to get onboard Windows 10.  In version 1903, Windows has introduced Voice Activation under Privacy. We will look at this feature, and also see how to perform Voice Activation Troubleshooting.

Voice Activation Privacy Settings

Voice Activation in Windows 10

Open Start, and type Voice Activation. Click on Voice activation privacy settings listed in the result. In the Settings, you can choose to allow apps to use Microphone, i.e., listen in the background and also choose which app has access to it.

When enabled voice assistants continue listening through the microphone for the voice keyword. The app will activate itself for the keyword, and react depending on what you ask it.

Voice Activation Troubleshooting in Windows 10

Assuming you are using a voice assistant, but there is no response when you speak the keyword, go to Settings > Privacy > Voice Activation, and do the following:

  1. App permission to use the voice activation feature
  2. Voice activation under lock screen is not working
  3. Check individual permissions for Apps
  4. Run Microphone troubleshooter

1] App permission to use the voice activation feature

Voice Activation in Windows 10

Make sure the toggle on to use Voice activation feature is turned on globally. Available under Allow apps to use voice activation, it makes sure the microphone is available for apps which use this feature.

2] Voice activation under lock screen is not working

Allow Apps to use Voice activation in Windows 10 Lock Screen

If you use the voice assistant even under the lock screen, Microsoft has a specific setting that you should turn on. Make sure to toggle on the option which says Allow apps to use voice activation when this device is locked.

However, do remember that the voice assistants are not locked to recognize only your voice. The answer to anybody who starts using the voice keyword. The chances are that anybody can get a bit of detail right from the lock screen.

3] Check individual permissions for Apps

Individual App permission for voice activation

The page lists all the voice assistants installed on Windows 10. If it is not working, you need to check permissions for voice keyword and option to work under locked condition works.

4] Run Microphone troubleshooter

Allow Apps to use Microphone in Privacy Settings

If the settings are in place, we recommend you to go to Settings > Privacy > Microphone. Make sure to toggle on these options.

  • Allow apps to access your microphone
  • Enable microphone access for the voice assistant
  • If it’s a desktop app, make sure to enable the toggle on at the end.

You can also check on the preferred microphone using our guide on Preferred Setup for Microphone for apps. 

Let us know if these Voice Activation Troubleshooting tips helped to resolve the problem with the assistant.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

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