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.



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Go Rich! Nice article. Already done it but sweet.

HarkAtYou says:

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..

pierrerv says:

WPC to the rescue.

sharathu7 says:

Cortana... Its working great.... Thanks for the article... Using wordflow for typing this...

rockstarzzz says: 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.. 


punkJD says:

My store is still not working

Akash Bose says:

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.

tejasjani10 says:

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

Pitabun says:

My phone refused to change its phone language to United States, what do i do?

adrian1338 says:

Thank god for that article

Lobbie1978 says:

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 ! :)

Lobbie1978 says:

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! :)

Novron says:

Take your intolerant religious bigotry elsewhere.

Yousef Kawmi says:

he was forcing it up your throat ? 
he simply said thanks god 
not fuck you Lobbie1978

Freelicks says:

Lobbie is just having a rough day, methinks. LOL

Yousef Kawmi says:

Yeah maybe, or he's on his period 

Lol ! Dont mind this lobbie ! ;) light humour ! ;)

Calorypher says:

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? :)

mdram says:

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 :) )

mrappbrain says:

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!

iyae says:

Well, that's just entirely NOT true.

Wael Hasno says:

Fuck you for starting this.

Lobbie1978 says:

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...

Mestiphal says:

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

morpheus1982 says:

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.

Ticomfreak says:

You're an asshole.

"Thank God" is pretty standard saying.

Sin Ogaris says:

"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.

HansTj says:

Forcing it up your throat? Yeah, right. That just shows how insecure you are. So sad...

n m says:

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.

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



rockstarzzz says:

Any way to get weather in Cortana in celcius?

mjrtoo says:

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?

b0nz1 says:

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. 

reda igbaria says:

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

Novron says:

Does changing the default in the Bing weather app not do it?

nizzon says:

What is your region set to? Try changing region to something Europe... oh wait. :/ ;)

Rasetech says:

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.

Nataku4ca says:

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


Suren2306 says:

Cortana showing " I cant speak your language". How to resolve it ?

Moodi1520 says:

Store doesn't work anymore?!!!

Same here... Once I got Cortana from the above methods, store isn't working! WTH?

ryansstuff says:

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?

vikrant6 says:

AFAIK I don't think you can change regional setting in your Microsoft account 

Just changed ( Now trying to connect store...

jish_r says:

what happened??

Store worked. Cortana didn't.


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 :(

juliusgy says:

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

Aggemam says:

Yeah same here

CommonBlob says:

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.

mukulvdhiman says:

Same here! And my India store is itself not working.

rockstarzzz says:

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?

Alex Fanelli says:

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.

adnokr5 says:

I've wanted to own a surface pro ever since it first came out. Make it happen, wpcentral.

iBandar says:

Yup using it in US

kittananj says:

I try it! I can use it NOW!!!

Aashish13 says:

When i type do u love me to cortana she searches from the web. She should replied directly right?

ogracia says:

Then is not yet active... Just press once the search button and then ask her if she loves you

jadid says:

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.

anirudhk563 says:

does the time  changes while changing the region ??

ogracia says:

To be honest I am fucking impress even with my Spanish accent She understands me very well!

BonzeUK says:

Bet she's not impressed with your potty mouth though :D

NHUK says:

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...

rockstarzzz says:

Its updating your phone language.

DecadeMoon says:

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

Jonas_H says:

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* -.-

blob741 says:

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.

scrud360 says:

Only problem here is the store no longer works after switching to US

iDroiDz says:

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

alexerax says:

It will be, in a couple of months.

LSDigital says:

So sell it, to someone who loves it more.

henocksandy says:

Cortana is expected to come to all countries in early 2015

alexerax says:

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.

dwane18 says:

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

I asked her where the master chief is, she said hopefully getting some R&R, as he deserves a vacation.

Protrek says:

I asked her to show me your t**$ and she did show some.....

Idzaudin Idz says:

Help.. I cant connect to store...

Aanze says:

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".... 

bologni says:

clap clap clap +10000000000

kabir1861 says:

I can't access to the store what is the problem

rahulthewall says:

You don't need to change the region to get it to work. My region is set to English India and Cortana still works.

powerd says:

Really? Cant wait to try it out today

jish_r says:

is cortana still working after you changed location back to India?? what about the store??

mswindows101 says:

I'm in the US and Cortana isn't showing up .. WTH??!!

Same here. Already checked all my settings. Trying a hard reset. 

jayc101 says:

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.

I did the reset. Nothing. I tried your suggestion. Nothing. I just don't get it. 

mswindows101 says:

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..

Marco Mitic says:

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.

Naresh Patel says:

Updated my Lumia 820 India awesw

hi naresh, Is store working in your 820 ... mine is not working .. help me out yaar ...

nadeemkilik says:

Hi gautam im from india, dwnlding updates as we speak, but store aint working for me too, wp8 here.

Sicarius123 says:

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!

igoramadas says:

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 :-)

Sicarius123 says:

It doesn't make any sense does it?

Store not working error "can't connect to store right now"......what to do????

Rem97 says:

I'm guessing location has to be turned of also. Is this true?

Off the record. I can't access my store after updating m phone to wp8.1.

jayparikh11 says:

the store has crashed. keep calm

dwshobhit says:

Will cortana available in final update...??? Outside US. ?

jayparikh11 says:

depends on where u r staying, but yeah, by '15, everyone will get Cortana

dwshobhit says:

Aahhhh....thank you so much..... Breath of relief......

akshaypn says:

I said I love you..she replied thank you , ditto.

TSR_MAV3R1K says:


Tomasz S. says:

The Store is dead.

There's an anouncement on that over here:

Marek P says:

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!

you need mental help, ask cortana to help you with

muvig says:

You must be in USA!

DecadeMoon says:

Calm down. Let MS optimise it before releasing a half-baked experience.

muvig says:

You must be in USA as well

DecadeMoon says:

No you don't. Check out wpcentral's other article about how to enable Cortana outside of the US.

Sicarius123 says:

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.

Sicarius123 says:

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 :(

jarmopit says:

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 :'(

Ma1dere says:

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.

muvig says:

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

Greggf2k3 says:

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...

Sicarius123 says:

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

AngryNil says:


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).

taymur says:

Just wondering how does cortana check for mt flights?

taymur says:

should the emails ticket come in a certain format??

jayparikh11 says:

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



i am too not able to connect to the store. pls help ? :(

mandushandu says:

you can even change back some language settings after cortana has appeared :-)

mnkhalid2000 says:

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

Man, just set language+region to India, Cortana will be gone and Store would work fine. Yes its she. And yeah she's cute.

rAj06 says:

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!

Looks like you are right for phone. But I can still access the store in PC.

klose91 says:

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.

I have the same problem unfortunately

waagnes says:

Same problem here as well. Several others also report this problem.

eugen serban says:

I have the same error. how stupid is that?

I also do not have US English but have UK, Canada and all others. Not available even after hard reset.

PeterByrne says:

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,

mtlmike says:

To turn store on, go into Settings/Applications/ Store/ and turn on location.

dkxs says:

I got Cortana only after I manually search for it locally using Bing

DonnaxNL says:

Stupid Fahrenheit -_- But it works :p

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

Sicarius123 says:

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

tradosh says:

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

Can confirm this does not work on HTC 8X 

waagnes says:

Roger that. Same here.

Bashar Awwad says:

Same here. Glad I'm not the only one.

That is because all unbranded HTC phones are shipped with roms without US english as phone language.



Bashar Awwad says:

But I can select us as a language and region and follow the same steps that rich said to do.

iAdrian23 says:

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

AnilJassi123 says:

Yes, tried it earlier and didn't work. Store still doesn't work once I reverted to UK settings.

Walkerboy79 says:

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!

sephiroth111 says:

please support the the new background image for this app.

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.

Sir Khamer says:


same problem here

iqmatt says:

Same :-(

How to fix that?


rockstarzzz says:

It won't. The store in general has crashed. No matter what setting you have

Montpbm says:


yuvii007 says:

Keep calm store bot working even on 8.0.....waiting for 8.1....hope it makes me,"pop boner':D

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

psreloaded says:

Off topic.. do you guys(staff) know why the store is not working?

Nejcooo says:

QUESTION: Do I need to use phone in english to use cortana? If yes, then I'll pass.

cybermoose89 says:

Not risking it for a biscuit ill wait for the next update got most of the awesome features I not fussed

hello people. just want to know that is Cortana available for lumia 625?

Sir Khamer says:

its available for al windows phones

secher says:

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... 

ntatic says:

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.

psreloaded says:

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...

Mine won't change the phone language to US, so i'm unable to remove UK :/

Bratticus182 says:

Store stopped working

J88NY R says:

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

Amran Nagal says:

Store error, any fixes?

fluidman8 says:

I changed the region, store stopped working, restored the region, store is still not working

fluidman8 says:

B4 my store was working...

is not a region error, store just crashed, be patient