How to enable Cortana above the Lock screen on Windows 10

Here are the instructions to easily enable Cortana on the Lock screen on the Windows 10 Anniversary Update using the registry or with the new settings option.

Cortana on the Lock screen on Windows 10 Anniversary Update

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is bringing a lot of new features and changes. Cortana is one of the features Microsoft is making some of the major improvements on. Besides improvements on notifications and richer communication, Cortana is also coming to the Lock screen, as an overlay blurred in the background.

Cortana above the Lock screen is a new feature the software giant is introducing to help you perform certain tasks, such as play music, set reminders, make a note to yourself, and a lot more even when your PC is locked. However, “Hey Cortana” in the Lock screen is not part of the feature set available in the Windows 10 Insider Preview build 14316, but it’s integrated in the operating system.

If you want to try Cortana in the Lock screen, you can make a simple change in the registry to make it work. The only caveat is that at this time the feature still a little buggy and slow, as such it may not work as expected, which could be one of the reasons why Microsoft hasn’t enabled the feature just yet.

In this guide, I’ll show you the steps to enable Cortana above the Lock screen on Windows 10 build 14316 and later releases.

Enable Cortana on the Lock screen

  1. Open the Start menu, do a search for regedit, and press Enter.

  2. Browse the following path:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Speech_OneCore\Preferences\

    Cortana on the Lock screen registry VoiceActivationEnableAboveLockscreen key

  3. On the right pane, right-click, select New, DWORD (32-bit) Value, and name it VoiceActivationEnableAboveLockscreen.

  4. Double-click the new entry and set its value from 0 to 1.

  5. Reboot your computer.

Once you enable Cortana in the Lock screen, lock your computer and shout “Hey Cortana” ask your question.

Important: Modifying the registry is always risky, as it can cause serious problems to your current installation. You should only proceed if you know what you are doing. It’s always recommended to make a backup of your system before making changes. You have been warned!

What do you think about this new feature in Windows 10? Let us know in the comments below.

Update, April 27, 2016: Starting with Windows 10 Anniversary Update build 14316, you can easily enable Cortana on the Lock screen by going to Cortana’s settings page and enabling “Lock screen options”. Also make sure you activate the “Hey Cortana” feature.