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 was formerly a 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 on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.