Is your microphone not working on your Windows 10 desktop or laptop? This is a fairly common problem that isn’t too difficult to resolve, it just takes some troubleshooting to find the root cause of the issue. We’re going to outline several possible fixes for you that address common reasons such as conflicts with the microphone settings and configuration, possible software problems, and ways to test your microphone to make sure it isn’t disabled, or is physically disconnected.
Note: If you have microphone issues specifically on Discord, we have a dedicated article about what to do if Discord is not detecting your mic.
What Causes a Microphone to Not Work?
If your Windows 10 microphone is not working, there are 3 main categories of root problems that can cause this:
- You have microphone settings that are incorrectly configured.
- You have software that is out of date. (The audio driver most likely.)
- There is a hardware issue with your microphone. (Crisscrossed internal wiring, defects.)
9 Fixes to Resolve a Microphone Not Working on Windows 10
Nothing is worse than a microphone not working when you’re about to jump on a conference call or into a Discord/VoIP call with your friends. Here are 9 fixes for resolving the issue.
1. Check Your Microphone’s Physical Hardware
The first basic step is to make sure that your microphone does not have a faulty connection to the computer. This is relatively easy to check and should only take a few seconds.
- Unplug your microphone from the USB slot or audio jack.
- Wait 5-10 seconds.
- Plug the microphone back in and listen for an audio cue.
- This audio cue tells you that Windows recognizes your microphone.
If there is no audio cue, you’ll need to check to make sure it is being recognized.
- In your computer’s search menu, type in “Device Manager“.
- Expand the Audio Inputs and Outputs section.
- Look for your microphone in the list.
If your microphone appears, it means that your computer is recognizing it, and it should be working. If it does not appear in the list, you may have a dead USB port, so change where you plug the microphone in to see if that makes a difference.
Another potential physical issue here could be if there is a defect in the wiring within the microphone, or a problem with your connection cord. We recommend that you move through the fixes below if your microphone does appear in the list, as there could be another cause (muted mic, improper permissions, etc.).
2. Make Sure Your Microphone Isn’t Muted
If the physical connections seem to be working, it’s time to make sure your microphone isn’t muted.
- In your computer’s search menu, type in “Settings”.
- Click on System – Sound.
- Scroll until you find your microphone.
- Speak into your mic to “test” it and look for blue on the testing bar.
- If there is no movement, click Device Properties – Additional Device Properties.
- In the new window that pops up, click on the Levels tab.
- Look for the microphone and see if there is an audio symbol with a general prohibition sign – this looks like a circle with a backslash through it.
- If this symbol appears, uncheck it to un-mute your microphone.
- Don’t forget to balance the microphone with your output.
3. Test Your Microphone in the Sound Control Panel
An easy way to see if your microphone is not working, is to check if your computer registers sound from the mic in the Sound Control Panel.
- Plug your microphone in and right-click on your sound icon in your taskbar.
- Choose “Sounds” from the menu to open the Sound Control Panel.
- Swap over to the “Recording” tab. Your microphone should appear in the list, and it will have a series of horizontal bars beside it.
- Speak into your microphone while watching the sound bars. If the bars register green, you know your microphone is working as intended.
- If there are no green bars at all, check to make sure your microphone isn’t muted and try again.
If your microphone isn’t muted and the green bars don’t register, your microphone is not working, and you’ll need to move onto the next fix below.
4. Set Your Microphone Access Permissions and Privacy Options
If your microphone is testing well in the above fixes and there are no hardware problems with it, then the next step is to make sure that microphone access permissions are enabled.
- In your computer’s search menu, type in Settings.
- Click on the Privacy option.
- Click on Microphone in the left-hand sidebar.
- Toggle on, “allow apps to access your microphone” option.
- Scroll down, and you’ll see a list of Microsoft Store Apps that need access to your microphone.
- Find the app you are using and toggle it on
- Finally, scroll a little bit further and make sure to toggle on the last option, “allow desktop apps to access your microphone.” This will allow third-party apps or programs that you’ve installed to access your microphone.
5. Set Your Microphone as a Default Device.
If you have used a previous microphone in the past, used a headset, or used a work microphone on your laptop, you may have the incorrect microphone listed as the default device.
- In your computer’s search menu, type in Control Panel.
- Head to the Hardware and Sound option.
- Click on Sound – Recording.
- Right-click anywhere in the white space and hit show disabled/disconnected devices.
- Right-click on your microphone and enable it.
- Then set it as default.
Note: if your microphone is already enabled, the “set default” option may be greyed out. If it is, this simply means that it is already set as your default device.
6. Run the Windows 10 Audio Troubleshooter
If nothing else has worked so far, and your microphone is not working, then run the Windows 10 audio troubleshooter. This may be able to fix any connection problems automatically by diagnosing and repairing the issue.
- In your computer’s search menu, type in Settings.
- Choose the Update & Security option.
- In the left sidebar, choose to troubleshoot.
- Click on “Additional troubleshooters”.
- Choose “Speech” from the options.
- Hit the “Run Troubleshooter” button.
Follow the on-screen instructions to see if it fixes the problem of your microphone not working.
7. Install or Update Your Audio Drivers: Motherboard & Microphone/Headset
Your Windows 10 computer (desktop or laptop) will come with a basic audio driver that may need to be updated via the manufacturer’s website. What you need to do, is head to the motherboard’s manufacturer, find their support section, and download and install the latest audio driver for your motherboard. Here is how to manually install a downloaded audio driver.
- In your computer’s search menu, type in “Device Manager”.
- Expand the Audio inputs and outputs section.
- Find the High Definition Audio Device in the list.
- Right-click it and choose update driver.
- Browse your computer for the driver you downloaded.
- Find it on your computer and hit Next.
- Click “Yes” to confirm and install.
- Reboot your computer and see if your microphone is working.
You should repeat these steps for any headset you are using, and any standalone microphone that you are using, as their drivers may also be out of date.
8. Reinstall Your Mic in the Devices & Printers Section of Your Computer
Some USB or Bluetooth microphones will appear as a device in your Devices & Printers section of your Control Panel on Windows 10. If this happens, sometimes uninstalling and then reinstalling it resolves the problem.
- In your computer’s search menu, type in “Control Panel”.
- Click on View Devices and Printers under Hardware and Sound.
- Right-click on your headset or standalone microphone and hit Remove device. (You will need administrator privileges to proceed.)
- Confirm by clicking “Yes”.
- Now disconnect your microphone from the computer and wait a minute or two.
- Plug the microphone back and let Windows automatically reinstall it.
- Check to see if the microphone not working problem is resolved.
9. Options to Fix a Bluetooth Headset or Microphone That’s Not Working
When you are using a Bluetooth headset with a microphone, or a standalone microphone, these will connect automatically to the computer if Bluetooth is enabled on your Windows 10 PC. However, sometimes it doesn’t connect properly, and you end up with no audio in your headset or no audio through the microphone. There are several ways to fix this.
Select the Correct Microphone Using the Taskbar’s Sound Menu
- Click on the speaker icon in your taskbar.
- Click on the little arrow on the right-hand side.
- Now playback devices will show in a list.
- Choose your hands-free headset or microphone from the list.
You don’t want the “stereo” option.
Use Your Control Panel to Disconnect and Reconnect
- Head to Control Panel – Hardware and Sound – Sound.
- Find your microphone in the list.
- Right-click it and hit disconnect.
- Then reconnect it.
Restart Bluetooth Using the Notifications Panel
- In your computer’s taskbar, click on the notifications icon.
- Expand the button options at the bottom of this panel.
- Find the Bluetooth option and click it to disable it.
- Wait 5-10 seconds.
- Click it to re-enable Bluetooth.
If this doesn’t fix the connection issue, you may need to re-pair the device to Bluetooth. To do this, go to Settings – Devices – Bluetooth – find your device and remove it. Then head back into the Bluetooth & Other Devices window and click on the “Add Bluetooth or Other Device” to re-pair your headset or standalone microphone.
Other than the above, if you have an internal microphone (laptop), make sure that it isn’t disabled in your computer’s BIOS/UEFI settings. If your microphone is tied to a built-in webcam, then make sure that the webcam isn’t disabled, or that the microphone for the webcam isn’t disabled by checking its settings. However, enabling your microphone in the Device Manager should take care of internal mics disabled in this way.
Wrapping It Up
As always, make sure that your Windows 10 PC is up-to-date and that you don’t have outstanding security downloads or installations. If you are running generic drivers for your microphone or headset, the Windows Updates often come with new drivers or patches that make old drivers non-functional. So, update and re-check again. Let us know in the comments below if any of these fixes helped you get your mic working again!