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.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Go Rich! Nice article. Already done it but sweet.
  • 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..
  • WPC to the rescue.
  • Cortana... Its working great.... Thanks for the article... Using wordflow for typing this...
  • is down on - that is causing the store issues NOT Cortana.
  • 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..   
  • My store is still not working
  • store actually needs a bit speedy internet to access. that's what i can say surely.
  • It was a store issue. Some regions were down, my store (India) is working again. hopefully the others should be back soon aswell.
  • Can you tell me how cortana works on our normal indian accent...did you find any it fine or any problems?
  • My phone refused to change its phone language to United States, what do i do?
  • Thank god for that article
  • Uh, it was written by Rich Edmonds, you m***n, not your invisible friend. How about you give credit where it's due... #facepalm
  • Not every one is an atheist. Keep your atheism to yourself and be happy ! :)
    Have a nice day ! :)
  • 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! :)
  • Take your intolerant religious bigotry elsewhere.
  • +2520
  • he was forcing it up your throat ? 
    he simply said thanks god 
    not fuck you Lobbie1978
  • Lobbie is just having a rough day, methinks. LOL
  • Yeah maybe, or he's on his period 
  • Lol ! Dont mind this lobbie ! ;) light humour ! ;)
  • 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!
  • Well, that's just entirely NOT true.
  • LOL
  • Fuck you for starting this.
  • 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
  • What is with the hate?
  • 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.
  • You're an asshole. "Thank God" is pretty standard saying.
  • +920
  • "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.
  • Forcing it up your throat? Yeah, right. That just shows how insecure you are. So sad...
  • 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? :)
  • Well, since this conversation is going on... I don't respect people's beliefs and certainly not the idiotic ones, like believing in gods. Believing in that sort of thing is refusing to actually see how the world really works. If gods can't even protect little boys from being raped in his house of worship, then what good is he? If you still believe in this god then you are a) retarted or mentally ill or b) you are just as evil as the so called god you believe in. I believe in humanity and the good we can do. No imaginary friend can replace that. And seriously, if theists like the one here below is making an account just to say I can go and f*** myself, then it's enough said...
  • Hi, I just made an account to tell you to go fućk yourself.
  • am i supposed to say JANCOK?, its an tech site right?, its not an religion forum where you can debate anything about religion.
  • Dude you are right. It is not a religious forum. I looked for something useful in these comments but these people are arguing here. Come on man! Argue somewhere else. Do not start this bull shit here.
  • Thanks
  • Any way to get weather in Cortana in celcius?
  • Just ask for it in Celsius.
  • Yeah just ask her for it. Figuring out how to get it to display Celsius by default though. Is it even possible?
  • 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
  • Does changing the default in the Bing weather app not do it?
  • No I tried.
  • What is your region set to? Try changing region to something Europe... oh wait. :/ ;)
  • 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?
  • just ask for celcius. even after its showed in fahrenheit. i tried and it worked  
  • Cortana showing " I cant speak your language". How to resolve it ?
  • Store doesn't work anymore?!!!
  • +720
  • Same here... Once I got Cortana from the above methods, store isn't working! WTH?
  • It wont. You changed you settings different to what you account details are set to.
  • So, should Store work fine if I change my country to US in Microsft account?
  • AFAIK I don't think you can change regional setting in your Microsoft account 
  • Just changed ( Now trying to connect store...
  • what happened??
  • Store worked. Cortana didn't.  
  • Did it work ?
  • Guess we have two choices: Cortana OR Store...
  • 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 :(
  • I'm in south America but have everything set to US and it works fine
  • But you're still in America, maybe that's why working
  • Yeah same here
  • 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.
  • Same here! And my India store is itself not working.
  • For me store works as long as I am connected to WiFi as soon as I am on mobile data it stops working!
  • Are Cortana and Store both working in India at US settings?
  • For me, yes.
  • 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.
  • I've wanted to own a surface pro ever since it first came out. Make it happen, wpcentral.
  • Yup using it in US
  • I try it! I can use it NOW!!!
  • When i type do u love me to cortana she searches from the web. She should replied directly right?
  • Then is not yet active... Just press once the search button and then ask her if she loves you
  • 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.
  • does the time  changes while changing the region ??
  • To be honest I am fucking impress even with my Spanish accent She understands me very well!
  • Bet she's not impressed with your potty mouth though :D
  • 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...
  • Its updating your phone language.
  • Sometimes changing the language/region will cause another "update". My phone did this in the past when I changed speech languages.