It is needless to talk about the importance of the microphone in your PC. Just think of all your meetings on Skype or Zoom and the like, and you already realize how much of a setback a non-functional microphone on your Windows 11 or Windows 10 laptop is.
It may not be a frequent occurrence that your microphone is not working, but there could have been a few factors to trigger this issue. One common culprit is updates not being properly installed. It could also be a hardware issue, and in such case, your technician may be the best bet to fix it.
Here we walk through the steps to fix the microphone not working issue in Windows 11 and 10. It is best to follow all these methods in chronological sequence for a systematic resolution. However, if you think your microphone just feels “mute,” jump straight to the first, second and last steps for a quick fix.
1. Check Microphone Privacy Settings
Back in 2019, Microsoft introduced new privacy features to Windows that give you more granular control over which apps are accessing your microphone. The side effect of this is that certain apps may be blocked from using your microphone without you even knowing.
To check Microsoft privacy settings in Windows 10 and 11, follow the settings below:
- In Windows 10, Go to “Settings -> Privacy -> Microphone.” The corresponding option in Windows 11 is “Settings -> Privacy & Security -> Microphone.”
Alternatively, you can also do a Start menu search to directly look for “Microphone privacy settings.”
- Click “Change” and make sure the Windows 11 “Microphone access” slider is set to “On.” This will broadly mean that the mic is now enabled on your PC.
- In Windows 10, go to “Allow access to the microphone on this device” and make sure the slider is “On.” If it shows “Off,” click “Change” to turn it back on.
- Make sure the slider under “Allow apps to access your microphone” is set to “On.” Look through the list of Microsoft Store apps to ensure the apps you want to use with the mic have been turned on.
- Of course, you’re likely to be using many apps not from the Microsoft Store, so to ensure these are enabled in Windows 10, scroll down even further and set the “Allow desktop apps … ” slider to “On.” In Windows 11, the corresponding option is “Let desktop apps access your Microphone.” Turn its slider to “On.”
2. Check Microphone Driver
After you’re done checking the microphone privacy issues, you must verify that the microphone drivers have been installed and are working properly. It is highly recommended to check the drivers, as they may have malfunctioned or simply become outdated.
If you have a newly-installed Windows version and still have an outdated Microphone driver, then it is likely you will face problems of no sound, recording fails or a mute microphone.
To check the driver status, follow these steps:
- In your Start menu, search for “Device Manager.” You can also search for “Devmgmt.msc” from the Run command by pressing Win + R.
- In the device manager window, search for “Sound, video and game controllers” and expand it.
- Once expanded, you should see your audio drivers. Note that the names of these will vary depending on the manufacturer. In my case, I have two called “Intel(R) Audio display” and “Realtek High Definition Audio.”
- On Intel(R) Display Audio, right-click and select properties. In the General tab, check to see that the device is working properly.
- If it is not working properly, click on the driver tab and select the “update” option.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the other audio drivers.
- Restart the computer and check whether the microphone problem is fixed.
3. Disable and Re-enable Microphone
From the same Device Manager, you can try disabling and reenabling the microphone device to troubleshoot any sound issues.
- Go to Device Manager by searching for it in Start menu search or from the Run command by typing “devmgmt.msc.”
- Go to “Sound, video and game controllers” and expand it to identify the microphone device you are using. Right-click to disable the device.
- After a few seconds, right-click again on the microphone device to reenable it.
- Repeat the procedure for all audio drivers on your device to see if the microphone not working issue in Windows 10/11 has been resolved.
4. Check the Sounds Settings
There are a variety of sound adjustments that can ensure your Windows microphone will start working again. These include audio enhancements, full green bars, and some advanced settings.
Follow the directions below for our Windows system:
- In the taskbar of Windows 10, right-click on the sound icon at the far-right corner and select the “Sounds” option.
- On the “Recording” tab of the Windows 10 Sound control panel, click on the microphone and select the “Properties” option. Check whether the full green bars are moving on the selected default microphone.
- Select the “Levels” tab and increase the volume. Do the same for the speaker/headphone and its “Balance.”
- Go to the “Advanced” tab of Microphone Properties and check the “Exclusive Mode” fields, including “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device” and “Give exclusive mode applications priority.”
- Apply these changes and click “OK.” Restart the device to see if the microphone issues have been resolved.
- In Windows 11, right-click on the speaker icon next to the sound icon in the taskbar and select “Sound settings.”
- Once the Sound Settings page is open, scroll down to “Microphone.” Click it to open a new menu.
- In the next screen, you should be able to see the details of the microphone in use on your device. Realtek Audio could show up as the default on your PC or laptop. If you’re using a headphone, it will show as a microphone.
- Verify that you have selected and enabled the correct device in Windows 11 to serve as your default microphone. Click it once to open “Microphone Properties.”
- Go to the “Levels” tab in Microphone Properties and check that its highest volume levels have been set.
- Go to the “Advanced” tab of the same pop-up and verify that the “Enable audio enhancements” mode plus “Exclusive Mode” boxes have been checked.
- Click “OK” and restart the Windows 11 computer to check whether the microphone issues have been resolved.
5. Test Your Microphone
Also from the Sound Settings in Windows 11/10, you can test your microphone for its volume levels. To do this, follow the steps below.
- In Windows 11, go to “Sound Settings” from the search menu followed by “Input settings” and “Test your Microphone.” For Windows 10, the corresponding “Settings” option is “Sound” followed by “Input.”
- Click “Start test” in Windows 11 to test your volume on the device. On Windows 10, once the default “Test your Microphone” icon shows up, you only need to speak up.
- In both cases, the test microphone will report the available microphone volume as a percentage of the total volume. If the figure is very small, it means you need to fix the microphone volume through other techniques.
6. The Sound Troubleshooter
You can troubleshoot any sound issues including the microphone by running Windows built-in audio troubleshooter.
- In Windows 11/10, right-click on the sound icon at the far-right corner of the taskbar and select “troubleshoot sound problems.”
- The computer will detect any fault that exists with your audio and recommend fixes for you. You just need to read through the prompts and click the options that you think will work for you.
- It starts with a quick scan of the audio issues on your Windows device. This will pose a series of random tests – for example, playing a beep. You need to confirm whether you can hear the computer-generated sound.
- The audio troubleshooter will zero in on one of the possible causes for sound issues on your device. It can be a missing or outdated audio driver. Take the corrective action as advised; for example, reinstalling the drivers.
Once the corrective solution has been adopted, the audio problems concerning the microphone should be fixed.
7. Configure Speech Recognition
One of the best solutions to microphone issues on a Windows 11/10 device is to configure it once again for speech recognition. This is a practical tip if you are facing mic trouble during Zoom or Skype calls.
- Go to “Control Panel” from the search menu and navigate to “Ease of access” followed by “Speech Recognition.”
- Select “Set up microphone” to ensure your computer works properly with speech recognition.
- Select the kind of microphone you want to use for speech recognition. If there are no external devices connected to your laptop or PC, select “Desktop microphone.” Click “Next” to proceed.
- Ensure proper placement of the microphone. It should be no more than 2 feet (0.6 meters) from your mouth, and should point directly at your head.
- Adjust the volume of the microphone by reading the sentences shown in your natural voice. This will move the green bar rapidly – indication that your microphone is good to go for speech.
- Look for a confirmation status that the microphone you are using is ready to use with the computer. Click “Finish” to exit this wizard.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I reset my microphone in Windows 11/10?
To reset the microphone in Windows 11/10, you need to set it as your default device. First set up the microphone for speech recognition through a simple wizard, which can be done from “Ease of Access” in “Control Panel” (see above).
After that, go the far-right corner of taskbar and find the “Sounds” menu. Here in the “Recordings” tab, you need to enable the intended microphone as a default speaker.
2. Why is my Windows microphone not showing up in Device Manager?
Sometimes the microphone device seems invisible in Device Manager. This problem can be solved by going to “Sound Control Panel” from “Sounds” in the taskbar sound icon. Here under the “Recording” tab, you should see all available microphones. Right-click to view the disabled microphones on your Windows device. You will need to reenable them.
For more Windows fixes, see our guide on how to fix a monitor when it’s not waking up after sleep and fix the latest Windows 10 update problems.
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox