Cortana outage causes the personal voice assistant to go quiet for some users

Cortana is still very much in beta and as such, we should expect some mishaps during these early stages of rolling out. Tonight, for some users, that scenario is becoming a reality.

Starting in the last few hours, a few Windows Phone users are complaining that Cortana is returning a witty error message when retrieving interests, aka the personal news and weather information displayed to users upon launching. Specifically, Cortana responds with "My suggestion well is dry. Try back later or add some more interests." Likewise, when you ask Cortana a question, she may respond with "I'm sorry, the internet and I aren't talking right now." strongly suggesting that Microsoft is experiencing some server issues.

Interestingly, this Cortana outage demonstrates just how reliant the personal voice assistant is on Microsoft's backend servers. The ability for Microsoft to dynamically update Cortana's features is also her Achilles' heel should anything happen back at Redmond. As a result, even asking Cortana to set an alarm may cause a failure.

Luckily, like all things powered by the internet, this is probably a brief downtime ending soon. There is no indication of how widespread the outage is, but it appears to only be affecting a small percentage of users (ourselves included)

Is Cortana working for you? Share your experience in comments.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • :(
  • Lets hope it gets fixed soon'  
  • shes working now
  • Working fine for me
  • I hat the fact that you always have to have Location on for Cortana to work
  • Why? Scared the aliens are tracking you? She uses location based... Well... Everything. I hate that I always have to pay my light bill to use electronics in my home.
  • Also hate this because of severe battery drain at my work. Wifi forbidden, and we only receive one cellular tower. Accuracy of location in my office: 8kms. Because of this,the phone is turning GPS on for several minutes (useless since I am inside) every half hour, which leaves me on battery saver before end of work!
    And don't tell me Cortana can do anything with this 8kms accuracy of location! Would be much better if it would work without requiring location services. Ms, please give us the choice...
  • Haven't had any issues with her. West coast/California here.
  • She's down in my end in northern Cali 
  • Same. Reverted to stock robotic voice for a while.
  • Not on the fourth when one of us is trying to show off Cortana to their family members and/or friends.
  • So what? She just took a leave of absence for the fourth of July. :P ^_^
  • She can't reply back when her mouth is full of BBQ grilled chicken
  • Cortana Hang on don't lose at me nooooooo
  • She's just overwhelmed from so many correct FIFA World Cup predictions.
  • She just started working for me again
  • She's going rampant
  • It works for me
  • Yup, it only seems to be a small percentage. But enough that people are noticing. Even a few of us on staff are having issues, myself included. Probably just a temporary hiccup or changes.
  • She won't talk with out my headphones. I don't understand that. That's my only problem
  • She's never talked for me unless I initiated a question, but then today I got a call and out of the blue Cortana suddenly tells me who's calling.
  • How does she do that?? Did you set up some settings?
  • I have no idea, I haven't touched my settings in a while, she started doing it on her own but it only happened on that one call.
  • On WP8.0 and earlier, to get the phone to announce the name of a caller it is under "ease of access" in settings. You turn on "Speech for phone accessibility".
  • Wow I want that! Maybe the outage is due to upgrading?
  • That feature has been in wp for a while, just uses cortanas voice now
  • Bluetooth?
  • My Xbox music has been spazzing all day only fix is a reboot and open thru the store, wont find any of my songs until then
  • Yeah, its working fine for me as well. I guess very few people are/were affected by her absence
  • It works for me too.
  • Not for me in India..And I thought that there was no news currently or she would have shown unable to connect at the moment if there was any connection issues!!
  • Try now, its working fine for me in India
  • Maybe it's for the upcoming updates!!
  • Gautam plz tell how to get Cortana in my Lumia was working fine before my phone hanged..after software update at nokia care last month now I m unable to find it on my phone.plz help /guide..
  • Change your language and region to english(US of A) and United States!!Reboot and then check in the app list..If it doesn't show up then reboot again..If it still doesn't show up then try the whole process of registering with the Preview For Developers!!
    It won't be too long that the official update shows up so you can wait a little bit also!!
  • U r right Aman.already I have done rebooting.but Cortana has not shown.I m waiting now for the official update.may be within one week or so it will be available in our country...
  • Try changing tha keyboard and speech to English(US)..It may also be a factor!!
  • I think Aman is right, try changing speech settings to English (United States) as well.
    If nothing works, you can try my app "Cortana's Guide" for detailed instructions (it includes how to get Cortana)... :) its free in US,India and few other regions:
  • Well Gautam I didn't knew you were a dev also..Many congratulations..The apps nice and awesome and I haven't seen a longer and detailed changelog earlier!! Mast hai bhai!!Mast!!
  • Thanx both Gautam n Aman.Can any one of you tell me why there is not an official application of mini opera?
  • Is Cortana there now??
    As you know that WP is still a growing OS and official apps take time to turn up and sometimes it is not easy to make a particular app due to some of its particular features and ofcourse due to the WP OS limitations which are being removed by MS at a considerable rate and also sometimes it is in the hands of some top level officials who try to delay the release mainly due to competitors or bribery!!
    You can try alternatives like-UC Browser,,Maxthon,,Surfy,,Nokia Express and even IE 11 has improved a lot..My personal favourite is UC Browser!!
  • Yes,now Cortana is there.yeah...thanx Aman.i have also downloaded app on Cortana by Gautam..that's wonderful application.congrats...actually opera mini has been my favourite browser on Android and java phone.and I love that.that's why I am waiting for opera mini..
  • Forget Droid now!! It's WP whose gonna rule now!!
  • That's right.but wp needs a lot of live wallpapers,clock showing time in seconds,call recording,true caller showing contact during the calls etc etc etc...but I love the experience wp has provided...
  • Truecaller can't add that feature due to the OS limitations..They have mentioned that in their app details!!
  • I have also read that in true caller app.but don't you think microsoft should remove that kind of restrictions.even call recorder app is working in wp7.Actually Microsoft has to compete with android n has to make way for those kind of features...
  • Hehe... Thanks for the appreciation! (Aman and Pawan). I'm glad Cortana is finally working!
    That's right, Opera didn't make its way to WP despite user's request and posts to twitter and their sites. I read somewhere, Opera Mini uses its own web page rendering engine for optimized and faster browsing experience, which is an objection for Microsoft's approval since they want that the browser should render using the engine built in IE only, as in other third party internet browsers made for WP. Another reason I believe in is that Opera now uses WebKit tools provided by Google and google never played well with Microsoft. So, I don't want to disappoint but chances that we'll see an official Opera Mini browser soon ain't high :(
    Kuch khas nahi yar, ye toh ek basic text based app tha. I'll try to create better apps in coming days... Probably once I'm in college and start learning more into programming ;)
  • Bhai email id diyo apni..
  • Check your Email inbox.
  • Plz give me also..
  • Sent :)
  • Not in a working order here
  • Waiting for Cortana (and the 8.1 update) on my 1020 since forever! Why is Windows taking so long to roll out the update? :-/
  • just do the developers preview its completely safe and been enjoying it since April. i dont know how you have been so restrained
  • Well, now that XBM works its completely safe....
    Just don't install clock hub...
  • What's wrong with clock hub?
  • On some devices it can cause the phone to become unstable... It's been isolated as the main cause of the "morning freeze up" bug...
    The app should be pulled from the store until issues are resolved.
  • I paid extra money for 2 years warranty, and it's been around 6 months since I've bought it. I'd rather wait. 
  • Even if you did run into trouble and your warranty was voided, your warranty would be restored again as soon as the official update rolls out.
  • I have returned two faulty devices that were updated and can confirm that AT&T will take them back regardless of update. Just wanted to throw that out there for people.
  • I returned my Icon to Verizon because of the long pausing and overheating while it was in my pocket not being used. They sent me another one for free. I suspect that it was as 8.1 causing the problem. I haven't updated the replacement and have not had any problems with it.
  • That was probably Clock Hub... Lol❕
  • I did have Clock Hub installed at one time but had removed it soon after. My phone continued to have that problem afterwards. I have another phone (Lumia 822) that actually was more or less 'bricked'. It would restart but would boot up with the Nokia logo and them some small writing at the top that looked like it was left over from the DOS days. Resetting didn't help. Nokia Software Recovery didn't help. Verizon didn't help. They shipped a replacement. Now I have on 822 running the preview with no problems and an 822 and an Icon patiently waiting for the official release.
  • That's just how it goes sometimes.. These devices can be unpredictable.
  • There's also the Nokia recovery tool (assuming you have a Nokia) that restores it back to original. Finally caved and did developers preview yesterday. I admit its pretty slick. But 8.1 update still doesn't give me the things I want, which really is more about software and hardware. Will come back to WP when its WP9.
  • Are you waiting for the rumored 3D touch and interactive tiles? im curious what else you would consider software and hardware interaction that WP 9 may bring
  • You're wasting your time, and its not going to void your warranty.. They only say that in the case that an update is bad and may brick your device, but not one person's device has been damaged because of the preview.. Out of millions you're not going to be the first...
    And, what "nicfromwales" said.
  • My 1020 ran great with the initial preview release. After the first update I started having issues where my phone would just go black and be unresponsive, it happened today for the first time while I was using it when normally it happens when it sits idle. The second update didn't fix the issue, a few times a week I have to reset my phone with volume down power button to force a reboot. I'd say it's still worth upgrading but it does get annoying when it goes unresponsive overnight and I don't get my wake up alarm.
  • @RobR: Yep, me too. I can't wait for the official release so I can stop rebooting my phone!!!
  • It happens on my 1520 as well, but I suspect that it is not the official 8.1 update to correct this (being that the official update is not much different than what we have already as confirmed on the 630/635)... But the Nokia Cyan firmware update to bring the phone more up to speed with 8.1
    I used to have the same problem until another user gave me that advice... Now, my device works fine!.... I also suspect that the XBM app was causing issues, so I started closing it down when not in use... But, between the last XBM update, and uninstalling Clock Hub, my 1520 performs much better now.... It was benching around 600 on BMOS, now it's back to around 1020-1030...
    AT&T 1520
  • Update to the current version If u wanna have fun...original update is gonna b late but u can update it again later on
  • hardly had any issues on 8.1. on 1020, the one time it did it was when using the camera grip. the phone froze with the last image i took. had to wait for the battery to go flat. also had issues with onedrive crashing the phone when opened but assume that was more an issue with one drive on 8.1. all good now though   otherwise its been a good couple of months
  • Volyme down + Power button for 10 seconds or something, you don't need to wait for the battery.
  • Works for me too.
  • Had a few issues a few days ago. Just not many people noticed or were effected was a thread or two on the forum about it.
  • Working here.
    Fortaleza, Brazil
  • Not working here
  • Yep, out for me too :( Based in Australia (although dont tell Cortana or MS that!) and its Saturday morning (5th July) 8:45am.  Maybe all the 4th July celebrations got to Cortana?  :o)
  • Haha +925 ;)
  • She works perfect for me. I'm in Chile, by the way.
  • Here is fine. She is not okay a few days ago, when her voice are robotic.  Londrina-PR, Brazil.
  • Still working for me :)
  • I don't have with problem tha internet......i have a problem with Cortana not catching my when I'm trying to use her, but with my headphone she works. I hope yall fix that doin tha real 8.1 update
  • I get a long delay when using Bluetooth
  • This! I use cortana in my car bluetooth system and the delay just annoyed me.
  • Its all normal with me she told me a joke.
  • It works in the Bronx.
  • Yep.. Been having issues..
  • Not working here :( but I will not shout as it is beta
  • Working here in Chicago
  • To me she still in alpha. She needs a lot of improvement to be considered beta.
  • The voice works, but all suggestions are not working.  I cannot add, view, or modify them.
  • What if they are bringing Cortana to UK right now? Just saying.... *Hope*.
  • I asked her how's she doing, she replied, "Great Thanks. Though, I am sad that WPCentral is starting rumor about me again."
  • Hah, but our photos belie that this is a rumor! lol
  • When will she say hello to UK? :(
  • Happening to me in northeast Pennsylvania
  • That explains it!
  • Not working in Florida
  • Not working for me in FL either. Can't even hear me and I did a hard reset and sat through redownloading and updating apps and still nothing.
  • Her suggestion well is also dry in India.
  • Interesting... does that mean if you have no internet connection at all (say you're in a black spot) then you still cant use Cortana - i.e. no internet related stuff... when's my next appointment, set an alarm, remind me to say something to my wife when I call her next???
  • Nope. Which is really bad, but understandable if you want to be able to get new features without an OS update.
  • Out for me... Boston,ma usa
  • Not working here in central Oregon.
  • Even TellMe is telling me (lol) "I'm Sorry, The Internet & I Aren't Talking Right Now" ... I don't have Cortana
  • Working for me. Northern Cali
  • Many times this past week unable to search, while I had Internet connection. I would have to retry several times to get a result. Today, same problem others are having.
  • She had been down for about 3 hours for me... Orlando Fl
  • Yeah Cortana down for me too....central FL
  • She is back up for me now
  • Yup. Not working here too. India.
  • Down in ATL. Is a beta!
  • 10-0 is all I care about :D
  • I'm affected here in Saudi Arabia
  • Yes I have heard others alsoo affected here in KSA
  • At least reminders still work.
  • This is why there needs to be an offline version that can still do things like basic conversation and reminder scheduling.
  • Exactly! It's a good thing my data connection is always good and their servers are always working... obviously being sarcastic. This one aspect drives me crazy. Even my Galaxy S4 can turn voice to text, as well as other functions offline. And a rarely use my S4.
  • May be it's her time of the month and she's being moody....
  • The rampancy is taking effect
  • Works also here, i dont have Any issues with her. Ah I found a nice smartwatch concept yesterday for windows devices. Take a look if you are interested:
  • I just saw it I sure hope the smartwatch is just like it. If it is I would pick it up in a HEARTBEAT FOR ANY PRICE.....
  • Google is trying to hack Cortana :P
  • Nothing works without internet. Common for setting a alarm do we need internet...
  • No issues here. California.
  • Not working for me:( nyc
  • Not working here in Vancouver, Canada (region set temporarily to US of course).  I hope they release it to Canada soon so I can change my region back to the Great White North!  :D
  • Cortana predicted Brazil was going to win, "for a reason" the reason was the referee, thanks Cortana :(
  • Hahaha true !
  • She went on strike? Damn unions.
  • Working for me :D
  • Eh. Interests are all disabled for me anyway. I don't use it, only for the main 8.0 features and the chit-chat.
  • I only can't get to interests. All else is fine though.
  • Not working for me..... MS is making me hate them more with every passing day
  • I'm getting intermittent messages from Cortana, "I'm not turning up any suggestions. Try back later."
    I'm in California.
  • Even she needs a day off.
  • I'm experiencing outage as well. Hopefully they can get it back up and running soon. For some reason, I thought I might have deleted something for Cortana by accident, at least now I know that wasn't the case.
  • down for me in da ROC (ny state)
  • Haha, I'm betting that the more people who are checking to see if Cortana is working, is actually making her worse.
    Mine was working fine all day, and then intermittently going offline. Now she doesn't work at all. :)
  • Hmm... I just asked Cortana what the weather will be here tomorrow and she answered me without issue. I guess I'm not affected by this outage.
  • I've been having issues with Cortana for awhile now. Never like this though. She usually searches and after a minute of waiting I give up. Or upon opening Cortana it says she can't access my interests right now. And at times she doesn't pick up anything I say. A reboot usually fixes it... But the past week or so Cortana has taken hours to update the tile and news. The same headline will be there all day with the same time stamp..
  • Not working
  • Oo dear.. Me also. Cortana suggestions was dry.... Please come back Cortana.
  • Two searches now brought me chatty responses from Cortana. So no issue here. In Japan with US ID.
  • Im from Puerto Rico and actually have that issue
  • I'm also from west Puerto Rico At&t and she's working fine. Talked too soon her interest are dry.
  • Working here
  • Dominican republic not working
  • Only received that response once out of a dozen or so searches, included questions about people, the weather, Cortana, and sports scores. She did give up a couple of times, but that is possibly more the likely the way I asked questions. Perhaps the outage is regional or I just am not asking the right questions.
  • Had issues yesterday but she's been perfect today.
  • Only interests are out. -GA
  • It's killing me....
  • Not showing interests, but I am able to tell her to play music.
  • Cortana never works in the subway. Get this error underground all the time
  • NJ EAST COAST US not working
  • Interests aren't working, but searches are. I'm in Arlington Texas.
  • Is 8.1 just a figurative
  • Me too!
  • Definitely not working for a while up here in the NE. Hopefully just an upgrade in process.
  • Soft reset fixed it for me.
  • Interest dry.... Hong Kong
  • It's now working once again YES
  • I was one of the unlucky Cortana-less peeps
  • It's not working here in FL.
  • Not working.
  • Yes in my NL822 it´s happening, it started ago 2hours! :(
  • It is not working for me. I just tried to add an event to calendar and it gave me the internet and her aren't talking error.
    Canada, Rogers 1020.
  • No issues with CORTANA... NL925 Jamaica
  • She's back!
  • I'm grateful for interests being active again!! :)
  • Working for Ativ S in Illinois
  • Funny how a Cortana outage is taken with a grain of salt but a broken Calendar app is the the worst thing since the beginning of time...
    Shouldn't Microsoft be on the ball about this as well? Why are they getting no criticism for this outage if WP8.1 devices are out on the market?
    Rant aside, she's working fine for me. Lumia 1520, Rogers, Canada
  • Cortana is beta...
  • She's working for me. Just found me an ice cream spot open on the 4th at 9pm. :)
  • Mine also down since a week now...
    Always says "The internet and I aren't talking right now".
    Had done a hard reset too. I'm on 2nd WP8.1 update.
  • Yeah experienced that earlier but its gone now by refreshing the system
  • I had issues...seems to be back
  • Works for me
  • Working
  • Not working for me.
  • Was not working in the midnight here in India. After few mins it worked though.
  • Someone said cortana only works with 1GB ram devices,is that true?
  • Nope
  • Yep, I'm having this issue too.
  • Same here +920
  • Cortana is working again for me.
  • Issues in FL on Tmobile network. Oh well. It'll be back soon im sure. Microsoft has been good with fixing things.
  • Seems to be working fine for me an hour south of Chicago.
  • No.. Same here in india :(
  • Get well soon Cortana, take care.
  • If you are having this issue, try restarting your phone. That fixed it for me.
  • It's working perfectly today... :). In last two weeks I faced few problems,
    1> My suggestion well is dry.... As explained in article.
    2> I and internet are not talking right now..... Its also in article (it happens much more frequently)
    3> I can sing this one : O Danny....... She sung the song like reading something, fully mechanical voice. But it went good yesterday. Today it's perfectly doing her job.
    +520, 1320 India.
  • Anyone have any trouble with her not connecting to the internet? Yet, if I use the Google app, no problem. Odd.
  • Yup, Cortana couldn't read my interest, nor I can edit them
  • Cortana is back
  • Yes she's back
  • She keep searching the internet when I asked "remind me to..."
  • Cortana works for me. Haven't had issues. Here in Chicago Illinois
  • Wow my cortana shows weather on live tile
  • Is Cortana deteriorating like she did in halo 4?
  • I can't find music icon near Cortana setting icon...!
  • Me too! I want that music icon and the quiz option.
  • Same here
  • She's up again for me here in Aus
  • I wondered for a long time: Is Cortana also available and able to do things WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE WI-FI/CELLULAR DATA?
  • "A fix will be up soon. Wait for it!"  - Microsoft (since WP7)
  • Does cyan update bring improvement for wifi and battery compare with preview developer version?
  • Some of the commands need to be offline, like making a reminder, or creating a note, or setting an alarm. Sometimes connectivity can be an issue for some location, so it would be a good idea to have features offline for Cortana and her user.. 
  • That's what fingers are for
  • Very much in beta? I thought it was pretty far along...
  • I've trouble with quiet hours turning on at moments i did not set, also not set via notification center
  • The server was only down for a while but mine is working well down
  • Working fine
  • Well...first to have cortana....v need 8.1 here in INDIA ....has anyone received the update yet in INDIA ?
  • Not properly,
  • Bet she's never left one Master Chief stranded like this..... Any word on when she will be enabled in other countries?
  • She's busy predicting World Cup winner. Probably. Lol
  • Works
  • Cortana's still not avaliable for English(UK) . When will it happen?
  • Cortana and Internet broke up.....
  • Hi
  • Mines worked just fine... Had some slow ness lately but no failure to launch
  • Yes she is working like a charm
  • Offline mode on cortana is very limited, can't even set an alarm for me. Not very much of an personal assistant
  • Works fine for me unless I'm somewhere my 4g won't connect.
  • Microsoft is their own worst enemy.
  • New feature in cortana .... 2 days ago i`ve joined to an event on facebook cortana for the first time she gived to me directions to get there on time with the trafic update .... 
  • Cortana doesn't hear my voice at all anymore since the last 2 weeks. Also when I try to speak to my phone for a text message, my phone doesn't hear me at all either. However when I make a phone call, my recipient hears me perfectly fine so I know my MIC isn't broken. I'm in Atlanta, GA by the way. Is anyone else having a similar problem?
  • In Toronto, worked well for the first day. Then microsoft advised some updates were made. Has not worked for past two days..