How to Control Hue, Insteon, Wink, Nest and SmartThings from Windows 10

posted in: Cortana, How To | 3

With all of the consumer smart home announcements coming from Google, Apple, Amazon, Nest, Ring, etc, it’s easy to forget that Microsoft is still a player in this field.  While the Harmon Kardon Invoke has yet to be released (as of 10/18/17), you can still use Cortana to control many of your smart home devices right from Windows 10.

Currently, Cortana is limited to communicating with Hue, Insteon, Wink, Nest and SmartThings, and uses web services (similar to IFTTT) rather than communicating over your home network.  This means you don’t have to buy any special hardware to control the devices you may already have in your home.

Here’s how to set up Cortana to control your smart home devices:




  1. Click the Cortana search bar
  2. Click the book icon
  3. Click Connected Home
  4. Enable Connected Home
  5. Log in to your Microsoft account if prompted (probably the account you already have for Windows)
  6. You will then see a list of services that you can connect Cortana to, including Wink, Hue, SmartThings, Insteon and Nest
  7. Log in to each of your services and wait for them to say they are connected

Once your services are connected, you can control your devices with “Hey Cortana” commands.  I looked everywhere but I couldn’t find a device list, so you’ll have to just know the names of your devices off the top of your head.  If the computer you configured is an always on machine in a common room, you may want to also allow Cortana to answer even when the computer is locked, and prevent the computer from going to sleep.  You can simply enable these from the Cortana menu by clicking the gear icon and then clicking the toggle switches or boxes to enable Cortana on your lock screen, keep the computer from going to sleep, and allow Cortana to access your data when the machine is locked.

3 Responses

  1. Amanda M (@wtupyo)

    I have mine connected but getting can’t do this right now from Cortana for both Nest and Wink. Perhaps an update is on the way still to enable this fully.

    • afterbyrner

      You have to be VERY literal with Cortana. It took me a while to figure it out, since there is no way to see a device list in either the mobile or desktop apps. So while I always use “Living Room Lights” to control the Hue lights in my living room, I found that I couldn’t use the group and had to call out each bulb by name.

      For Nest thermostats, the Cortana skills page gives examples of asking to “make it warmer,” “set the temperature in my bedroom,” and “set my thermostat to 68 degrees.” I have been able to specify “set the downstairs temperature to __ degrees,” and “make it warmer/cooler upstairs”, but I’ve tried asking what the current temperature is on both thermostats with no luck (and a frustratingly long answer) or tried “set my thermostat to __ degrees” which seems to be a round robin for the thermostat it decides to set. This skill needs work.

  2. William T Diaz

    I had a similar experience with Cortana and my Wink hub. Cortana ONLY uses the Wink name of individual lights, not the Wink group names of those lights or Cortana Room names. Check your wink app to get the individual light names and use those names with Cortana