Do you want to enable Cortana outside the US? Here's how you do it

Cortana is a super useful personal assistant now available for Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft released the Preview for Developers today and we're sure you're all eagerly wanting to test out the Halo AI on your smartphone.

But how does one manage to interact with Cortana when it's only available within the US, at least for the time being? After a few simple steps to alter your region and language settings, it's possible to get Cortana working outside the states. Read on past the break for all the details!

All that's required to change your Windows Phone to the US is a few simple alterations in the settings area of the operating system. Slide down from the top of the Start Screen to pull down the Notification Center to select "All Settings," select your pinned Live Tile or hit "Settings" from the app list to continue. We'll only require a few minutes of your time, but we should caution that this will change your region settings to the US.

1. First, we must change the language settings to English (United States). To achieve this, head into Settings > Language and add the language as a new entry on the list by hitting the add button. Ensure English (United States) is active prior to continuing. The phone may require a reboot.


2. Head into region settings to move your virtual self from your current location to the US by changing the region. All that's required for this step is to head into Settings > Region and ensure "country/region" is set to the United States and "regional format" matches phone language (makes it easier when switching back). The phone may require a reboot.

3. Everything should be set up and ready to go. If you cannot see Cortana listed as an app on the app list, give the phone a final reboot. You should then be able to load up the Cortana app, which will run you through the initial setup wizard. However, if you alter the region and/or language settings from here on out, you will remove Cortana.

Windows Phone Cortana

Update: One side effect of doing this is it appears to disable the Store from loading on some devices. So consider this a preview of Cortana, or just be aware there could be some negative consequences!

There you have it, folks. Don't attempt the above steps if you don't wish to have your region and language settings altered. How are you getting on with Cortana and Windows Phone 8.1? Let us know your initial thoughts.


Reader comments

Do you want to enable Cortana outside the US? Here's how you do it



Does your Xbox music still work? I know if your PC is out of the country for more than 30 days it stops working, have you tried it?
Edit Xbox music it's not working. Can't check usage rights. On the other hand Cortana isn't working properly either, she can't absorb the web satisfactorily.
Perhaps that's related. Will try later.

Edit again: The time and date were changed to the wrong date during the update. Changed it to the correct time and everything is working fine now.

Hey rich, are there any confirmed reports of store not working after region change ? And could you specify which devices exactly ? (on which store doesn't work)

I tried changing my region but my store stopped I changed it back..
Edit- store still not working..any suggestions..

Yeah there's problem witht he store not cortana lol.. my store wasn't working even before I canhged the region and stuff.. so what you're saying makes sense.. 


Can you tell me how cortana works on our normal indian accent...did you find any it fine or any problems?

Keep your atheism to yourself? Really?
How about the theists keep their stupidity to themselves especially on respectable sites like this where we want to contribute to the community instead of reading these dumb "thank god for..." reactions?
I mean, religion is like a penis: It's fine to have one, fine if you're proud of it, but don't start waving it around and don't force it up my throat. Capice?
Have a nice day too! :)

You're one of these people who shout "OMG THERE IS NO GOD YOU MORONIC FUNDIE SKYTHEIST!" when someone says "bless you" after you sneeze, am I right? :)

The stupidity in blessing someone after they sneeze has nothing to do with theism.  This custom began when people believed that someone's soul escaped their body after sneezing.  Hence, they were blessed to make sure their soul "returned".  Do you still believe this today, or should that silly custom disappear? 

Does it cause anyone any harm in saying "bless you" after someone sneezes ? No right ? It just tells the other person that you care about them, even though it was just a mild gesture/talk. It spreads happiness sometimes, then what's the problem in saying it ? ;)
(disclaimer: i dont use 'bless you', no one in India does ;) so my views are 100% neutral :) )

I'm an atheist, but I say bless you.

Might want to keep your stereotypes to yourself and speak for yourself.

Actually, it comes from Islamic tradition... You see, the sneeze is a self defense mechanism built into the body by default by God to prevent something harmful from entering the body... So because of this, a Muslim is required to give a verbal statement saying that all praises and thanks are due to God... Upon hearing this, one would reply back to the sneezer... May God bless you! However, as most of the world has omitted the part where one was supposed to give God thanks...a Muslim cannot bless someone that forgets to give God thanks!

I haven't started anything. I just wanted to point out that credit should be given where it's due, that's all. Now it's "hate, fuck you" etc. etc. People, please, behave :)
Now can we please get back OT please? We can take this discussion elsewhere, no problem, but at the end of the day this is WPCentral people :) You know, about Phones and stuff...

Well, if it was Rich's "imaginary friend" that suggested he should write this article, then adrian1338 did give credit where it was due!  lol

Theists are a bit irritating i know, in the usa. With all the "do you want to be saved ?" ads at all sites. Not all theist force theism upon you. I'm a theist but i dont force theism upon you, I'm not even a Cristian. I was just suggesting that you should not get so irritated at such small things, no one noticed it until you got angry at it and spoilt your mood. The world's such a nice place, enjoy it ! (and wp8.1 is nice too, enjoy it too ! ;) ) Don't get mad at people who dont think like you do ! ;) enjoy life, be happy and smile ! :)
(I'm not preaching theism as you can see.. ;) )

Seriously, you people are utterly pathetic. Actually thanking God for an article about a work around to get a digital voice assistant on your Windows Phone ahead of any official release is blasphemy. God has more important things to be concerned with than your silly little phone.
You morons are seriously getting on my nerves with your petty and trivial first world, over privileged problems.

"Thank God" is just an expression. I, along with a Hell (look there's another one) of a lot of other atheists also use it.

The only person shoving their beliefs down people's throats here is you.

Thank God I'm on the right religious forum, for a minute there I thought this was a tech site, ANYONE HERE HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT THIS NEW CORTANA THING??

Bless you all.

religion is like a penis? well, if you don't have a religion its okay, i do respect that. but if you don't believe in it, at least show some respect to those who do and dont call it that....i don't undermine don't undermine me, i'm happy, you is that? :)

am i supposed to say JANCOK?, its an tech site right?, its not an religion forum where you can debate anything about religion.



I tried a few times and I noticed that you have two options. 

1.) Ask directly for the weather in celcius or

2.) after she shows the forecast say "convert to celsius". 

In both cases she will show you the following weather requests in celsius automatically, but will forget it if you close the app and open it again. 
I hope she learns to set celsius as default in the future. 

But how can I let her show it in Celsius all the time ? Because after i asks her she show it to me. But in the news it doesn't show it in Celsius

I tried to change the region format setting to German (Austria) keeping the region itself at US for cortana. This keeps Cortana working but the temperatur is still not in celcius by default.

i don't have the update yet so i don't know how it works exactly, but could you add it to her note somehow?

Damn, now store is working fine in US format but not Cortana, since it needs "location" service to be turned on. And location automatically locates your current position, contraticting to your microsoft account address....... either cortana or store :(

That's what I was afraid of with this! I was hoping just by adding the us language it would work :/ well at least I can just keep changing it back for now while I have a play

Is there anyone whose store is working when region is changed ? I'm anxious because i like to keep my phone in usa region, the store there is much better (featured apps) as compared to India.

I'm in the us but I feel bad for people elsewhere... MS is a US based company, so II guess it makes sense, but still.

Cortana is inteligent enough that if you "type" your request she will responed in like manner. If you want her to "speak" her response you too must verberlize your request.

Hmm, followed instructions above and the phone did another update! Already loaded and tested 8.1 so not sure what on earth is going on.

Looking at the cogs for the third time today, now....

Should I be worried, I wonder...

Sometimes changing the language/region will cause another "update". My phone did this in the past when I changed speech languages.

I changed the phones language to US and I talked to her... I love her already.. And now I had to change the language back to German and she will be away from me for a year..... *cry* -.-

I changed these a little while ago for an app that required me to have English installed and set up as my language.
I had to revert back to French in order to restore speech recognition for texts.

So we need to change the region (thus messing with all location-based apps) in order to get Cortana to work?


Can anyone confirm it's coming to all countries and when? if not, I think selling the phone would be a good idea :P

Has anybody else had issues with getting cortana to say her funny little things? No matter what I ask her, it just default to bing search instead of her saying her snarky response.

Same here. She won't sing a song, tell a joke, she won't tell you who's her daddy. None of that stuff

Thanks for the tip, although I don't understand why I have to switch ALL the phone settings to US, instead of just telling her that, "it's ok, I can speak english if that's all you can understand".... 

Nooooooo! No need to. Just go to the language settings,then delete the US. Then add it again and restart the phone. That should do the trick.. Let me know if it works or not. DO NOT hard reset. No need to. Hopefully you haven't already went through the trouble.

Weird man.. I've read some comments that said to move the US up to the top of the list. I would try that and restart. If that doesn't work.. Maybe try updated everything else to US again and restarting again afterwards. Hope you have success..

Regional format doesn't have to be chaged, only Language and Region are required. That should negate some of side effects of changing everything to US. Time, date, etc. will stay in your wanted format.

x2 on this. Thankfully I don't have to have assabout US dates. Still have to use terrible spelling, and outdated imperial measurements though :(.


Oh well, I was used to colour being auto corrected to color anyway, it was the only way I could get english spelling with a dollar sign in WP8. Now they've fixed it and I've had to change it!

Regional format doesn't need to be US thou. I am using it just fine with German (Germany).

Can't stand having mm/dd/yyyy :-)

But how does one manage to interact with Cortana when it's only available within the US, at least for the time being?


You know what, Fcuk U, Microsoft! From deep down in my heart, Fcuk U! From the release of WP8.0 you have not managed to enable predictive typing for <my_language>, which is basically a piece of cake. 1.5 years! Now yet another "US-only" feature. Let me guess, it'll still be US-only upon the "official" release of WP8.1 and 1.5 years after that, it'll STILL be US-only. Like most of WP8.1 that (possibly) does not suck.

At least you managed to enable more than 6 tabs at once in IE. That's a relief....</sarcasm>. MAYBE, JUST MAYBE you've managed to fix the page reflow algorithm too, while Joe Belfiore prances around stages showing off just how much of a Steve Jobs wannabe hipster he is!

Oh, and...FCUK U, Microsoft!

Everything works in Aus, and I can specifically ask Cortana for the temperature in Celsius. The only thing that I can't do is get distances in KM when asking about a place. But the idiots wont release it here until '15, so I'm stuck with awful US settings and spelling to get a fully featured phone.

They only just allowed me to have English Australian settings with a US Keyboard and UK spelling in 8.1, and now I have to change it all back to US to get Cortana :(

I had some harmless fun with Cortana, but since I need to have my phone language set to Finnish, I had to let her go for now :'(

M$FT needs to make it avalible worldwide and write a huge warning that it only knows things about the US.

This kind of attitude when the whole world but the US are untermensch is insulting.

I agree with you, if we can use uservoice to lodge our complaint, maybe they may hear us. They should have just released it to every country but with a warning that its still in beta, allowing user to opt in or out

You do realize that Microsoft is a US based company. So, when they get it right then they will release it for the rest of the world...

A US based company with crap all US based mobile marketshare? Maybe they should look after their users, not just the home team?


It is crazy that I have all the Cortana bits on my phone yet I can't easily access them. Forget localized commands, I just want to type to receive smarter searches and the phone stuff (scheduling appointments, quiet hours).

got a couple of updates after the big 8.1 update, changed region, language and keyboard settings to USA-currently residing in India. 


The store is actually not working on any device in india so i guess its not cortana messing up the store ..don't blame her ..she's cute

That doesnt seem to be the issue. My wife's 620 running on WP 8 also is not connecting to store.

Looks like there is some issue with the store!!

And Store is down through the weblink using PC. I guess we need to wait for some more time till someone wakes up and looks into it!

Dunno, but for my phone this won't work. Speech, Region and Keybord is the only thing I can change. I'm not able to change the phone's interface language.

Hi WPC will your team b be making representations tho Microsoft in behalf of your users outside of the United states for the implementation of features such as quite hours?

Kind regards,

Stupid Fahrenheit -_- But it works :p

But I think will switch back and use my native language for my WP

You can ask "Cortana, what is the temperature in Celsius for xxx". It's annoying, but works. Can't get rid of Miles though.

Lost the store after enabling the Cortana, but moved back to UK language settings, and stil store have: Can't connect error when trying to open

But it needs to be the default language and as WP 8.1 is nothing but a disappointment (to me) of course it won't work.

Screw you hTC

Worked fine for me on Verizon HTC 8x with Cortana and all and I'm in Canada...... Unfortunately the update did not change settings so that I could add mms settings.... Thanks Verizon!

I've tried and tried but I don't know how to get my 'phone language' to be United States. There's no setting to change it from United Kingdom and delete the UK language.


Lol when i try to download an app "Service not available The store isn't available at the moment, please check back in a bit. inquiring minds may find this error code helpful: 805a01f7

Is there any way to change the search results to be local for my country without having to change region? 
I don't mind my phone on english, but I can't live with completely wierd searches every time i use Bing... 

I cant change to USA english. When i do hard reset, i dont have even there USA english. And if I change language like described here, everything changes to english USA except of phone language.

To be clear. My region is set to India from before the update and the Indian store is not working as well so the store issue is probably not related to changing regions...

Really impressed with Cortana, considering im a from the UK, she gets it all pretty much spot on using US language.