Cortana in action on the webcast

Cortana icon

Thank you to all the people who joined us for the Windows Insider Webcast episode showcasing Cortana! We enjoyed showing you some of Cortana’s features and how she can be your intelligent assistant across your life. It was a lot of fun demonstrating Cortana on the PC, phone, and speaker (Harman Kardon Invoke, available for $99 at the Microsoft Store).

As a follow-up to the webcast, we wanted to highlight some of the features we showed and share links you might be looking for after tuning in. Getting to interact with Windows Insiders and take your questions was great!

If you were unable to attend the webcast in real-time last week, you can also check out our video-on-demand replay, available on the Windows Insider Mixer.

Focus assist (RS4 Windows Insider Builds)

In the webcast, Lee showed us how focus assist can help when you don’t want to be interrupted or just need to stay focused on what you’re doing. Be more productive with focus assist:

  • Turn focus assist on and off in Action Center.
  • Focus assist will automatically turn on when you’re duplicating your display. Never get interrupted during presentations again!
  • Focus assist will turn on automatically when you’re playing a full screen exclusive DirectX game.
  • You can set a focus assist schedule that works for you. Go to Settings > System > Focus assist to set your schedule.
  • Customize your own priority list, so that your important people and apps can always break through when focus assist is on. People pinned to your Taskbar will always break through!
  • See a summary of what you missed while you were focused.
  • If you’re using Cortana, you can also have focus assist turn on while you’re at home.

Cross-device mirroring

Lee also showed the power of cross-device mirroring to your PC so you never miss a phone notification. (Cross-device notification mirroring is currently only supported on Android.) To get started:

  • Install Cortana on Android on your phone.
  • Sign into Cortana on Android with the same MSA on your phone and on your device.
  • In your Cortana on Android app, go to Settings > Cross Device. Turn on the features and give Cortana permission to access your phone.
    • If your device is not two-factor authenticated, you will also receive a notification on it asking you if you want to see your phone messages on this PC. Make sure you select Yes and follow the steps to turn it on.

Things to try once you’ve set it up:

  • Got a missed call? Try replying directly with text from your device.
  • Get a text, tap to open the message, and see your full text history on your device.
  • When your phone battery’s low, get a notification on your device instead.
  • In Cortana on Android go to Settings > Cross device > Choose which apps to sync. Choose which app notifications get mirrored on your device.

Learn more about Cortana

Email & Calendar

Cortana is the only assistant on a speaker device that will give you a quick overview of your inbox, so you can stay on top of new emails. You can ask to hear specific ones out loud and take quick actions, like replying.

Both the Calendar and Email skills work with O365,, and Gmail accounts. These new skills are available on PC and Speaker, so that you have a consistent experience across all your devices.

In the webcast, A.J. showed checking her email and sending a quick reply. Some things you can try:

  • What new emails do I have?
  • What new emails do I have since yesterday?
  • What new emails do I have from [insert name]

Cortana has the richest calendar experience. She can answer all kinds of questions about your calendar, just ask about events on a specific day or meetings with a specific person. She can even tell you what your first or last meeting of the day is. For example:

  • What’s my last meeting today?
  • What meetings do I have tomorrow?”

A.J. also used the microphone button on the PC to quickly add a meeting in the webcast. You can also do this hands-free using speech.


In the webcast, Farhaz showed how music on your speaker and PC works when you’re logged in or your computer’s locked.

  • Lyrics – “Hey Cortana, play the song with the lyrics knees weak arms are heavy.”
  • Mood – “Hey Cortana, play some chill music.”
  • Activity – “Hey Cortana, play some workout/running/relaxing music.”
  • Latest by Artist – “Hey Cortana, play the latest album from Drake.”
  • What’s Playing – “Hey Cortana, what’s playing?”
  • Cross Device – Start Music on one device with same Spotify account, go to other device, and say “Play music” or “Play Spotify,” and it will resume where you left off automatically.

Connected Home

In the webcast, Shreyas showed how you can access connected home using Cortana on your PC, speaker, or phone.

For example:

  • “Turn on/off the lights.”
  • “Set the brightness to x%.”
  • “Change the lights to green/any other color.”
  • “Set the temperature to x,” or “Make it warmer,” or “Make it cooler.”

Connect to the IFTTT Applets or the GLAS thermostat page by Johnson Controls he used.

Ambient PC

Finally, A.J. wrapped up the webcast with some far-field speech commands, showing how you can talk to your devices with the appropriate microphones from a distance, and then jump right into a task.

“What movies are playing at [movie theater].” Then, A.J. used touch to get showtimes. “Show me mac and cheese recipes.” Then, we picked out something Jason liked. Finally A.J. used “Lock my PC,” and showed how Cortana works to lock your device (with opt-in).


If you have additional questions or feedback, contact us in the Cortana Answers Forum or give us Cortana feedback in the Feedback Hub.