How to troubleshoot microphone problems on your PC

Step-by-step instructions to find and fix microphone problems (and plug in  your mic) for Windows XP, Vista and 7.

  1. Test your microphone
    1. Windows XP:
      1. Click Start > Run  then in the run dialog type  SNDREC32
      2. This will display the Sound Recorder.
      3. Click the red Record button and record some sound as you speak into the microphone.
      4. Click the square button to stop recording.
      5. Click the the  << button to rewind.
      6. Click the > button to play.
      7. Do you hear your recorded sound?
      8. If not then there is a problem with your Windows sound recording or your microphone. Proceed to Step #2 to fix the problem.
    2. Windows Vista or 7
      1. Click the Start button , and type MMSYS.CPL in the Start Search box, and then press the ENTER key. This opens the Sound dialog window.
      2. Select the Recording tab.
      3. Select the Microphone you want to configure.
      4. Click the Configure button. This displays a list of options to Configure Speech Recognition.
      5. Click on the Set Up Microphone and follow the step-by-step instructions to test your microphone. If you can not record sound then there is something wrong with your Windows sound settings or your microphone. Proceed to Step #2 to fix the problem.
  2. front-panel-portsMake sure that your microphone is connected to the correct port

    Example of the rear panel of a desktop PC. The speakers are usually plugged in (to the green port) right next to the mic port. So you can usually follow your speaker cable to the back of the PC to find the Mic port.



    speaker-microphone-portsSome PCs have a Mic port on the front of a desktop pc like this:




    laptop-mic-speaker-portLaptops usually have the ports on the side (usually the left side)




  3. Make sure that your volume is set properly.
  4. If the problem is still not resolved, narrow the problem down to either the microphone or the computer:
    1. Try a new (or known-to-be-good microphone) on your computer, or,
    2. Try your microphone on a computer that you know is properly recording sound.