Can’t set an alarm with Cortana? You are not alone

Of course I’m guilty of almost abusing Cortana, the new personal digital assistant introduced in the Windows Phone 8.1. She’s managing my calendar, search queries, reminders, and lot of other things I’m discovering each time I fire the app.  

While all is well between us, Cortana fails to set up alarms on my Windows Phone device. A little shout out around, and I realized I wasn’t alone. Lot of our readers have also reported the issue on Windows Phone Central Forums.

For lot of people who’ve updated their phones to the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers, any alarm instruction like ‘wake me up at 10’ or ‘set alarm for 7 am’, does not work. Each time, Cortana returns the following error – Something’s not right. Try again a little bit. (8000ffff).

Some random suggestions like soft reset or hard reset popped up here and there, and I tried both on my Nokia Lumia 920. But no go. Sam Sabri also teased me that it’s because I’m using Cortana in an unsupported country (here’s our guide how you can do that as well). However, as I explored the issue, I realized some folks in the US are also experiencing the same issue.  

Have you experienced this issue as well? Has any trick or hack worked for you? Tell us in the comments, but be sure to add your region, phone model and any other relevant information. 


Reader comments

Can’t set an alarm with Cortana? You are not alone



Chiming in to say I had the problem on my Lumia 920 locked to Rogers network in Canada. It was resolved by turning off a third party app 6.27AM that I was using which had active preset alarms. Just turning off those preset alarms resolved the problem and now Cortana works!

Thank You so much for the info...i tried this and alas it did not work for me...its so frustrating...I have since removed 6.27am, tinydo, indigo and Slate Calender ..all of which have preset alarms ...and still having the issue...I dont know what to do ...but this was great advise...thank you

She only seems to turn on existing alarms that are not set to repeat. Just tested "Turn on my 10 AM alarm" and it worked. It would be cool to be able to preset your own choice of a default alarm tone for new alarms though.

If you tell her "set an alarm for ____" she'll create a non-repeating one for that time the next day, pretty sure "set an alarm for ____ every day (on ___day)" would work too

Just chiming in to say no problems setting up an alarm here. In the US on an unlocked Rogers 920.

Yup, Nokia 1520.  No issues whatsoever.  Used it to wake up this morning and set an alarm reminder to call my wife.



No issue Lumia 920..my question is how to I change the tone that plays for her alarms? Soo soft for me and I don't hear it

Works for me. Both "Cortana, wake me up in 20 minutes" and "Cortana, will you wake me up tomorrow morning at 8am?"

I just tried it. I said, "Wake me up at 4:30 am tomorrow"  She responded by letting me know she set the alarm for 4:30 am. 

It works just fine

Works on my Lumia 1020 (AT&T). These all worked:

"Wake me up in twenty minutes"

"Set an alarm for one-ten PM"

"Wake me up at 6" (alarm gets set for 6 AM)

Works fine for me.

Those with issues:
Make sure you set "speech" to English United States and install the language update that follows said change in speech language.

The only problem I'm having with Cortana is that she needs internet connection everytime I ask her to do something that is not necessary to use the internet. If I want to set up an alarm, she says she "can't talk to the internet right now". If I want to send a text message (which is via carrier's network) she says that "she's feeling disconnected".

I don't understand that. Things that don't require internet connection should be easy to use when you're disconnected. I think I'm missing something.

Just tried on Lumia 1520 32GB. Set and cancelled an alarm for 9pm. "set an alarm for 9pm." "cancel alarm for 9pm.", US

920 - No Issues.... 


However my morning alarm does not break Quite time.  THought I expect that is by design.

Works fine for me!   One thing Cortana doesn't respond to yet though is "What time is it?"  I hope she gets that command soon.

I'm not sure why you need her telling you that though? lol That's like asking "Cortana, where's my phone?"

Your time is on your glance screen, your time is on your Lock screen and the time is in the status bar ;)

"By the time I finish telling you the time, your thoughts would be more distracted by my sexy voice than the imminent danger you've now put yourself in. Goodbye"

- Cortana/GLADOS

Yes, she needs to learn that. I asked her what time it was in Brazil and all she came back with was a Bing search.

930 and Icon don't have glance. Besides, the point would be so that you can keep your eyes on your task, press and hold and ask the Q, and have her tell you. 

When the phone is in my pocket via headset.  She works great for all other commands.  But that's a very basic command I'd love to ask her when I'm going for a jog for example and dont want to pull out my phone.

Yes, but I should be able to ask an AI assistant the time without pulling over on my bike shouldn't I?

Pretty sure Siri does it. The point is for it to be more personable/conversational as well as useful. Not necessarily mutually exclusive either. Cortana has a little way to go still but she's a good start

I want her to understand inside jokes, lol.

Me: "Who's the prettiest woman?"

Cortana: "Eric's mom"

Me: "You're gay"

Cortana: "Go F*** yourself"

What's the difference in pressing a button for cortana and swiping the action center down?

In fact one would think it would be easier to pull it down since you don't need to speak.

Just asked her "What time is it in London?" And got the answer. Not spoken, but still the correct answer. I wonder if you need to specify a city?

Alarms work as well. Lumia 925 on T-Mobile.

The problem isn't that we don't know how to check the time, its that siri cant answer that simple questions. She's a personal assistant after all; you never asked an assistant the time?

I agree, this feature is quite useful when you have headphones and you start cortana with headphones and want to control music or just in this case check time somewhere in the world without looking at screen... for example I'm biking to work on a quite shrort time margin so I want to know what time is it during driving but don't want to waste time to take phone out ... to look at the asnwer...

I haven't yet but I will post here after messing around with it some more. So far all alarms work perfectly.

OK...for me, I have set an alarm for 10-30 minutes in the future via cortana with zero issue. the issue I have is recurring alarms NOT working! I have an alarm set for 6:20am and 8am and they have not gone off at all.

Eh, it's kinda nice that you can tell her "Wake me up in 30 minutes" when you feel like taking a nap, rather than doing it all by hand.

Agreed. It's a pain in the ass to open the alarms app, press "+", set time and repeats, press save and exit the app when you can just tap and hold the search button and tell her "wake me up tomorrow at 6am"...Love it!

It works for me, but I can't set it to work every monday or somethin like that. If I say, wake me up at 6:30 on Mondays, or every Monday, she just sets it for one time. 

Yep, I have faced the same issue, I'm from India and I faced this for first time when I changed the region to US, I changed back it to India and then again to US , surprisingly issue has been resolved and alarm commands are working fine now

For the longest time Cortana wouldn't talk to me (since I updated at 9am on Monday) but instead of hard reset like most people I just waited and now she is talking "witty" responses...i tired seeing an alarm so I think it's a big that will figure itself out? Hope this helps.

I have a problem with Cortana. I can't add my interests. It says "i am not turning up any suggestions. Try back later".
Lumia 920. I'm living in Azerbaijan, but i set up region to US.

Works fine for me except that if I say "wake me up at 4pm" she always sets it to 4am. I'm working night shift. But I can say "alarm at 4pm" and its fine.

Say "set an alarm for 4pm". It works for me. Maybe when you say wake me up, it tries to be smart and think it will be am. 

Yeah "set an alarm" works great but not "wake me up". But as you said, i guess she's trying to be smart. After all, it is Cortana.

I have an issue with Cortana responding to requests that worked day one. A question like.. How far am i from the airport would give me a travel time and directions. Now questions seem to flash from the screen id expect (without a result) to a Bing search instead...i am in Australia...

Setting an alarm works fine for me.  But what consistently DOESN'T work for me is to make a location based reminder.  Like saying "Remind me to buy nails when I'm at Home Depot".  It finds me the closes home depot, displays it's address, and when I try to confirm/finalize it, it says


"Sorry, I couldn't locate that on the map.  You can choose another place."

Despite finding the location for me, and displaying the address right on the reminder screen.  WTF?


Put your Home Depot info into Places, Cortana's Notebook?

Also, try this: next time you go to the Depot, use your GPS (HERE) to go there, even knowing how to. Then, from within your GPS, press and hold search and say the command "Remind me to buy nails when I'm at Home Depot". Some apps must be on the run to integrate with her I believe.

Worked with me, but I turned GPS off before arrival, sorry to say that, but that was to save my battery life.


M facing a problem with getin Cortana to read the weather out loud. She was working fine yesterday after I installed WP8.1 but a few hours whn I checked again, Coratna just displays the weather page. I tried a soft and hard reset but it did not solve the problem. The worst part is after the Hard reset the only thing that was auto backed up were my message. Everything else I had to install from scratch. Not a single app was auto installed. Anyone else facing these issues?

Try a whole and short command like "weather in celsius" (even if you already have this setup in celsius). Worked for me. I also think connection plays a big role here. Your connection should be perfect to get her working without glitches. Cheers!


its wkrin now, I guess u were right, it is a connection problem. However I still cant understand why none of my apps were installed automatically after the hard reset.

I experienced this when i tried right after the set-up process.  I went out back to the start screen, hit the search button and tried again and it worked. 


I said exactly "set alarm for 7 am on weekdays"  my alarm was set up. 


So i had the issue right after cortana was set-up, after backing out and going back in, it worked. 

Cortana Works perfectly for me.. also the alarms.


The only issues i have is that Cortana is not localized yet ( and that is af course very logical) Sometimes i have to manually assign adresses, or pinpoint locations on the maps before i can voice tell cortana to take me somewhere.


After a few hours of programming i more or less assigned all my favorite places with Cortana, make Logical nicknames for all of them. Now i only have to ask cortana for traffic, or if i need  a coat, or if she want's to take me there.. it works FLAWLESS..

This! And also ask her from within the apps, like on the run with GPS. It's kind of all integrated and works really nicely as you say.

Once I uninstalled Due and TinyDo, all was well.  Now I just want Cortana to be able to update a single calendar event when there is a recurrence.

Seemed to work for me the one time I tried it a couple nights ago. Lumia 925 (RM-893, TMo-US)

I have been able to create an alarm, turn off/turn on/delete a specific alarm. Could have sworn I could ask to delete all alarms before, but now getting web search results for that.

Works perfectly for me on 1020. Fast and simple, haven't tried that one yet. Reminders are awesome though, been using them a lot.

Just tried it and got the same error.  I am using an HTC 8X on Verizon. :(

My reminder requests work perfectly, though, so I just create a reminder for a certain time.  Works great!

Not having that problem. The problem I am having is that my L920 will now lock up and reboot without warning. Happened once immediately following the upgrade to 8.1 and then a few minutes ago when I was typing a message.


Bit worrying considering the Developers Preview is the RTM code. :s

It's working good round here. I'm in Portugal, with region in the US. Lagy sometimes, doesn't understands me in others, but in general working pretty fine. Remember guys: It's a BETA!

Southend, Essex UK - No problems for me on my 925. I use the command 'Can you wake me at 7am tomorrow?' and it works fine.

Just set an alarm and it wet off at the requested time, no problems, right before adding this comment. Lumia 1520 USA. :)

I just tried after reading the headlines and it worked flawlessly with me. I even got her to cancel it afterwards. (925)

Worked fine to set the alarm. It was a pain to delete it. You have to say the exact time. When you set the time yourself you may remember. When you set it "in 30 minutes" you're out of luck.

Might it be related to date or time format? Not the region, just the displayed format.. (unsupported country, haven't introduce myself to Cortana yet)

Alarm works for me and I am from India. But suddenly weather has stopped working. Cortana goes to bing search instead of showing the forecast. Worked fine till yesterday. Not any more

Works fine on Verizon 928. Asked her to do "in 20 minutes." "at 5:00am" and "zero four, zero one, two thousand sixteen"

Updated mine in Israel (Nokia Lumia 620), everything works fine, even Cortana. But the phone is a little bit (actually quite a lot sometimes) laggy. Anyone got this problem too? Do they have a fix for this?

Asked Cortana to "wake me at 6a.m. and she reminded me I had an alarm already set. Seems fine on my Samsung Odyssey. :-)

i am having this problem on my L925. I immediately thought it was an issue with my Indigo so I removed it...and tried again and still the same problem...although when I re-installed indigo it still did not work. Indigo can set my alarms though...i did a soft reset and eventually a hard reset...didnt help..interesting enough as you said dan i can open alarms with no problem...I tried also deleting all my existing alarms and then tried setting up an alarm ...still the same error...I also tried googling the error and looks and other people outside WPCentral are having the same issue when they upgraded to 8.1... a post has been added to the  microsoft MSDN forums too so hopefully a fix soon...should I find anything to correct this...will post

I was able to set an alarm using Cortana, but I haven't been able to use the chitchat features like "tell me a joke" or "sing me a song" on any internet connection on my Lumia 1520.

my Cortana is working perfectly fine with with almost all commands related to alarm, in my indian accent. most of the time, i cant get the Cortana word property though.

I get this error in my lumia 920 if i try to do something like setting up an alarm or appointment in cortana without wifi or data connection

Mine works just fine. However, I still have a question. When I set an alarm through Cortana, it is always set with default alarm tone. Is there any way to have Cortana automatically setup an alarm with a tone of my own choice?

Alarms seem to be working fine on my Lumia 920. I can set up an alarm as well as cancel it. It all fairness, I did a hard reset earlier today to correct the issue with Cortana always providing web search results rather thn verbally responding to the question such as, "Tell me a joke".

So this article has been made so you can get more attention to your problem vs just making a post on the forum? lol

No issues at all... I can set and disable alarms without having to repeat myself twice. Cortana loves me! ;)

No issues 1520 USA. By the way 64gb SD card transcend class 10 is flawless. I do miss wireless charging. Battery is a beast though.