Microphones are essential parts of any computer or mobile devices. Nowadays, it is common to be connected all the time, and that means contacting anyone through voice or video calls through various platforms such as Skype or Facebook Messenger. However, microphones are typically not integrated into the CPU. Most built-in microphones are just accessories developed into the form factor of the computer.
Moreover, for people who work at home or are usually mobile, a third-party microphone attachment is a common tool. While most microphones are plug-and-play, there will be cases when it does not work right out of the box. Just like any system, Windows 10 cannot recognize all audio input devices right away.
How to Fix Microphone not Working
Here are a couple of steps that you can do to resolve issues with your microphone.
Check Physical Connection
The physical connection is typically the most common cause of microphone issue. If you are using a built-in microphone, physical issues may mean taking your desktop computer or laptop to a computer technician. However, for third-party audio accessories, you will need to check if your cables from the microphone to the computer are not frayed. Usually, damages occur near both ends of the cable. Try to unplug then plug the microphone again while checking for any loose connection on your PC.
Moreover, ensure that you are plugging your device into the correct port if you are using an audio jack. Typically, audio-in ports are pink with an earphone icon. You may also want to check if your device has a physical mute switch.
Run Windows Audio Troubleshooter
When the physical condition and connection of your microphone are all working, then issues with the operating system is the probable culprit. Typically, compatibility issues are common causes, especially when Windows 10 is no up to date.
First thing you can do is run the Windows Audio Troubleshooter to identify any underlying issues. Launch Settings in the Windows menu by clicking the cog.
In Windows Settings, click Update & Security.
Under Update & Security, choose Troubleshoot on the left-hand menu. Scroll down then click Run the troubleshooter under Recording Audio.
A new panel should appear. Choose Microphone, then click Next.
Follow the next instructions. The troubleshooter should provide relevant suggestions for any issues it detects.
Make Sure That The Microphone is Not Muted
Your microphone may not be on mute on its physical switch, but it is possible that a muted microphone simply causes the issue in Windows 10. Or it could be set to a minimum. To check, right click on the speaker icon in the Taskbar. Then, choose Sounds. In some Windows 10 versions, you also have the option to choose Recording devices.
On the Sound panel, choose the Recording tab. Select Microphone, then click Properties.
Under Microphone Properties, go to Levels tab. Make sure that the microphone level is set to 100. Additionally, the speaker icon on the right side should not have a red stop logo. You can also toggle the Microphone Boost dial and see if it has an effect on your microphone’s sensitivity.
Ensure That The Microphone is Enabled and Set as a Default Device
It is possible that the microphone is disabled by default. There are several ways to check if your microphone is enabled. Launch Settings again by clicking the cog in the Windows menu. In Windows Setting, choose Privacy.
Choose Microphone on the right-hand menu. Toggle the switch to On under Allow apps to access your microphone.
You also need to check if the device is enabled in the Device Manager. To launch, search device manager in the Windows menu. Expand Audio inputs and outputs. Right-click on Microphone. Click Enable device.
In some instances, the microphone is unusable because it is not set as the default audio recording device. To set it as default, launch the Sound panel by right-clicking on the speaker icon on the Taskbar. Choose the Recording tab. Right-click on an empty space in the window. Check both Show Disabled Devices and Show Disconnected Devices.
Choose Microphone, then click Set Default. Click OK to confirm.
Fix Microphone Drivers
Issues with audio drivers can cause the failure of the operating system to detect the input audio device. You have two choices in fixing microphone drivers: update or uninstall/reinstall. Launch the Device Manager, then expand Audio inputs and outputs. Right-click on the Microphone, then choose Update driver.
On the next panel, choose Search automatically for updated driver software. Follow the next instructions.
To reinstall the driver, go back to the Device Manager. Expand Audio inputs and outputs, then right-click on Microphone. Choose Uninstall device.
Restart your computer. Relaunch the Device Manager. Then, right-click on the computer name. Usually on top of the hierarchy. Select Scan for hardware changes.
The operating system will identify any changes in the drivers. Then, go back to Microphone and right-click on it. Choose Install device. Follow the succeeding instructions.
Restart Windows Services and Restore Your System
If the steps above did not work, you might have to restart Windows Service and restore your system. Potential errors in operating system updates or system errors may have affected your audio system.
To restart Windows Audio Service, hit Windows key + R on your keyboard. Type “services.msc”, then click OK.
On Services window, look for Windows Audio. Right-click on it, then choose Restart. Check if your microphone is working.
Moreover, you can set-up Windows Audio Service to automatically start during start-up. On the same Services window, choose Properties when you right-click on Windows Audio.
In Windows Audio Properties, choose Automatic in Startup type. Then, click OK.
Your last option is to restore your system especially when audio input was working in the past. Hit Windows key + R on your keyboard, then type “rstrui.exe”. Click OK.
On the System Restore window, click Next.
Choose the latest restore point. Then, click Next.
Confirm on the next window, then click Finish. Allow the system to restore, which may involve restarting your machine. Note that system restore may take some time, so it is essential that you save any work.
If none of the steps work, then you may have a defective microphone. It is also possible that the audio input port may be damaged. You can test your microphone in other devices if it has a standard 3.5mm jack to identify which of your device or computer is defective.
Allan Jay is a web developer who loves to read and watch tech reviews, especially cutting-edge technologies. He likes exploring and taking photos of the places he visited.