(Pocket-lint) - Amazon's Alexa app for Windows 10 now enables you to use Alexa completely hands-free - just as you would if you were talking to an Alexa smart speaker.

You can now easily use Alexa regardless of whether the app is running in the foreground or background – all you need to do is ask.

The Alexa app is available in the Microsoft Store for any Windows 10 PC user to download and try. Here's what you need to know about Alexa on the PC and how it works.

How to get started with Alexa on a PC

First, download the Alexa app from the Windows 10 Microsoft Store here. If it came pre-installed on your PC, you have what Microsoft and Amazon are calling an "Alexa built-in PC".

Either way, launch the app, and then sign in to your Amazon account (or create one if you are new). Finally, just tap the Alexa button and ask a question. Try asking, "Alexa, what's the weather like right now?"

Go here for specific install and setup instructions.

Is the Alexa app for PCs always listening?

As we mentioned, you can now speak to Alexa hands-free. You can still press a button within the app to speak to Alexa, or you can invoke the assistant using a keyboard shortcut on your computer. 

To see if you can use a wake word: 

  • Open the Alexa app for PC menu.
  • Select Settings.
  • See if you can select the Wake Word option.

What can you do with Alexa on a PC?

You can use Alexa to set reminders, timers, and alarms, create shopping and to-do lists, listen to music and audiobooks, check your calendar and appointments, and even control your smart home. Alexa on the PC works almost like Alexa on any other device. The only differences are that video, calls, Spotify and Pandora are all not currently supported within this Alexa for Windows 10 app.

Things you can try asking Alexa:

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  • "Alexa, what’s on my calendar today?”
  • “Alexa, read me a book.”
  • “Alexa, turn on the light.”
  • “Alexa, what’s the weather at home?”

Can you control your PC with Alexa?

It's unfortunate that Amazon hasn’t added any features so that Alexa can control or access Windows 10 specifically. However, Amazon said “PC-specific capabilities will be added...in addition to ongoing feature updates".

Writing by Maggie Tillman and Dan Grabham.