Many Windows sound problems affect the sound output from your speakers. But what if you have problems with the sound input? How do you fix the microphone?
Regardless of whether you use a headset microphone to chat in games or to record with a USB microphone, we give some tips to fix missing inputs or unreliable microphone problems. This helps if your microphone fails or is not recognized at all.
Check the Windows sound settings
Restart your computer before you start troubleshooting. There may be a temporary problem that can be resolved with a simple restart.
After that, your first microphone troubleshooting settings should be the sound settings in Windows. Access this by navigating Settings> System> Sound.
Here under entranceOpen the drop-down box below Choose your input device. Select the microphone you want to use. Other available inputs are also shown here, e.g. B. the integrated microphone of your laptop or your webcam.
Once you've selected the right microphone, speak into it and you should see it Test your microphone Bar move up and down. If it doesn't, click Troubleshooting Click the button below and Windows will try to find and fix problems with your microphone.
Press the Device properties Link to rename the input to make it easier to find in the future. You can also check that Deactivate Box so that the microphone is not displayed or change the volume to adjust how loud the microphone is.
At the end of sound You will find the page App volume and device settings Menu. This way you can choose a different output and input device for your open apps. Look here and make sure you haven't chosen the wrong microphone for the app you're using.
Microphone hardware troubleshooting
If you continue, you should take a look at the setup of your audio hardware, especially if you cannot get any input from your microphone at all or have not listed it in the menu above.
If you are using a USB microphone, connect it to another USB port on your PC. Do not use a USB hub. Plug your microphone directly into a slot on your PC. If the microphone works on a different USB port, the first one is probably dead or has a problem. For analog microphones, make sure that the cable is connected to the pink line-in connector on your PC.
For all microphones, make sure that all cables are fully inserted and there is nothing loose, including the cable for your headset microphone, if it is detachable, and any extensions. You should also look for frayed cables as damaged cables can cause problems.
Photo credit: Eric Kilby / Flickr
If your microphone is physically muted, make sure you haven't accidentally activated it. Look for a slider or button on your headset, cable, or the front of the microphone.
If after checking again you still don't have a microphone input, connect your microphone to another computer. If it doesn't work on the other PC, your microphone hardware may be faulty.
Don't forget to check for updated drivers for your microphone. Most headsets and microphones work immediately on Windows, but some may require certain drivers to get the best performance.
Search for your device’s name on Google and search for one Downloads Section on the manufacturer's website to find the driver. Update your existing sound card drivers
How to find and replace outdated Windows drivers
is also important.
Confirm that apps can access your microphone
Windows 10 has one privacy Menu where you can prevent apps from accessing sensitive data such as camera and microphone. You may have prevented an app from accessing your microphone here.
Go to Settings> Privacy to have a look. Select in the left sidebar microphone under App permissions. Make sure the slider is underneath Give apps access to your microphone is activated or cannot be used by any app. Check out the list of apps to confirm that the one you want to use has access.
However, this first slider and list only apply to store apps. Scroll down further and you'll get to a section titled Enable desktop apps to access your microphone. Make sure that the slider under this header is activated.
While you can't switch microphone access for individual desktop apps, you can see when they last accessed your microphone. This way you can find out if the app recognizes your microphone correctly.
Check your list of recording devices
If your microphone is still not working properly, the next step is to check your list of available input devices. You can do this by clicking Manage sound devices on the same settings page as above, but using Control Panel is a little easier.
Enter Switchboard in the start menu to open and change it category top right too Small icons if necessary. When you see the full list of choices, choose sound.
Here you switch to recording Tab that shows all the microphones connected to your PC. Right-click anywhere and confirm both Show deactivated devices and Show separated devices be checked.
Look at the list and make sure your primary microphone is not disabled (right click and select) Activate if so). When you speak into a microphone, the bar also lights up to confirm that it works.
Microphone level and exclusive mode
Double-click your microphone in the recording Panel and you can edit some options. If you have not previously changed the name of the microphone in Settings, you can now change it on the website General Tab. On the Levels On the tab you can adjust the input volume (and the gain for supported microphones). Try raising this if it seems too low or lowering it if your microphone is stuck.
Depending on your microphone and computer, additional tabs may appear on this page. These include improvements like background noise cancellation and the like that you can try if you want.
Finally on the Extended On the tab, clear both check boxes under Exclusive mode. The Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device Box means that an app can “lock” your microphone so nothing else can use it. Disabling this can solve many microphone problems. You can also set that Standard format in the drop-down box to select the input quality.
When you have made all the changes, go back recording Tab. Right-click on unused inputs and select Deactivate to reduce the clutter in the input menus. Finally, right-click on your main microphone and select Set as the default device So apps use it by default.
Write down for troubleshooting
At this point, if your microphone is still failing in a particular game or app, you should determine if there is a problem with your device or app. To do this, you need to record a short audio clip.
Windows 10 is integrated voice recorder App is suitable for a quick test. Alternatively, Audacity offers you many more options and monitors for deeper analysis.
Simply open one of the apps and record for a minute – speak the alphabet a few times, count to 50 or something similar. Then play it and check if it fails at some point or otherwise sounds unclear.
If it sounds clear in Audacity, continue troubleshooting. However, if recording pauses here, check your hardware if you haven't already. Your problem is likely to be in one of the steps above.
Disable Xbox Game Bar and DVR
In the Windows 10 game bar, clips and screenshots of your game can be recorded. While this is neat, it is also known to have microphone issues in some games.
Go to Settings> Games> Game bar and deactivate Record game clips, screenshots, and shows using the game bar. Then go to Detected Tab and disable Record in the background while I'm playing a game and Record audio when I record a game.
These functions come in handy when you use them. However, it is better to otherwise disable them to avoid microphone problems. Check out other ways to stream and record gameplay in Windows
How to record and stream games online in Windows 10
to replace this.
Adjust the microphone settings in your game or app
By now you have essentially ruled out a hardware problem with your microphone and are pretty sure that the problems are related to an app. Therefore, you should check the settings of your game (or other software) to see if you can optimize the microphone options there.
Make sure the game uses your primary microphone. Most video games offer an option to reduce the input volume of your microphone. Try clearing this up a bit as your input may be cut off and result in cutout. Increase when others say your input is too quiet.
If the game has a microphone test option, you'll see how your voice sounds. If it is clear in the test but fails in the game, the cause can be a network problem. The game's voice chat may be using a port that your router has blocked.
If your microphone problem only occurs in-game, you should use a third-party program like Discord for voice chat instead of relying on the game.
Troubleshoot microphones in Zoom, Skype, or similar apps
It is particularly frustrating when an app like Zoom has a problem with your microphone. If you've followed all of the above steps, the problem is probably somewhere in the app's audio settings.
Click on with zoom equipment Icon on the right to open Settings, then switch to Audio Tab. Under microphone, you should see that Input level move when you speak. click Test Mic to take a quick look and see what it sounds like. Use the dropdown box to swap your microphone input for another device if necessary.
Finally, make sure you are not muted on a call. In most chat apps, you can mute your microphone at the bottom of the screen. This can make you think that your microphone is not working if you forget that you are muted.
Read our tips on how to fix Skype problems
If Skype doesn't work: 7 button settings you need to check
More advice if your problem is in a video calling app.
How to fix the echo on your microphone
It is annoying to hear everything you say with delay. And while microphone echo is often a problem for others, there are some ways to reduce echo problems.
First, if possible, use a headset for calls. Most of the echo is caused by your microphone picking up audio from your computer's speakers. This is a lot easier if you use your laptop's built-in microphone and speakers. Using headphones significantly reduces the likelihood that your microphone will record this sound.
Make sure that the sensitivity of your microphone is not set too high, as described above. Even with headphones, a sensitive microphone can pick up sounds that are transmitted through the headset.
If you hear everything you say in your headphones even when you are not in a video call, a certain Windows setting is probably enabled. Go back to recording Tab in the sound Double-click your input device in the control panel and switch to listen Tab.
If you have Listen to this device If this option is activated, you will hear everything from this microphone in the selected output device. This can be useful in certain circumstances, but in most cases it just drives you crazy. Clear the check box and press OK to stop that.
Your microphone problems solved
Hopefully one of these tips solved your Windows microphone problems. These problems can sometimes be difficult to solve because microphones, games, apps and settings are so different in every use case.
Still having problems? If you (or a friend) have one, try a different headset / microphone on your system. If it works well, it's probably time to upgrade to a new home office headset
The 5 best headsets for your home office
or buy a new wired gaming headset.