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How to turn on microphone on Windows 10 [FIXED]

A mic is normally built into a laptop or headset/headphone. If you’re able to connect a pair of headphones to your PC, or the built-in speakers on your PC are working, chances are the accompanying mic will work too. You can disable the mic, too and still use the speakers.

If you’ve disabled the mic and want to re-enable it, it’s really easy to do.

How to turn on microphone

Turn on microphone, re-enable microphone

There may be two reasons why the mic isn’t working; it needs to be enabled, or it’s not working. We have fixes for both.

1. Re-enable microphone from Settings

The Mic can be turned off from the Settings app, and it’s easy to turn back on.

  1. Tap the Start button on the taskbar, and from the Start menu, select Settings i.e., the cogwheel button.
  2. Go to the Privacy group of settings.
  3. Select the Microphone tab.
  4. If the Microphone is turned off, click the Change button and turn it on.
  5. For good measure, restart your PC.

Turn on microphone, re-enable microphone

2. Re-enable microphone from Control Panel

The mic might have to be enabled or connected before it can be turned on.

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Go to Hardware and Sound.
  3. Click Sound.
  4. Go to the Recording tab.
  5. Right-click your mic, and select ‘Enable‘ from the context menu.
  6. If the mic isn’t there, right-click where the devices are listed on the Recording tab and enable the option to show disconnected and disabled devices, and then enable it.

3. Re-enable microphone from Device Manager

If the mic has been disabled from the Device Manager, you won’t be able to enable it from the Control Panel or the Settings app. You will have to go through the Device Manager to do the job.

  1. Open the Device Manager.
  2. Expand the Sound inputs and outputs group of devices.
  3. Right-click your mic and enable it.

4. Check app access and volume

It’s possible that your mic is working perfectly, but you’ve disabled access to it in certain apps, or you’ve muted it. To check mic access for apps;

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the Privacy group of settings.
  3. Scroll down the list of apps and check if the app you want to use the mic with has access to it.

Fix general mic problems

If the above fixes haven’t enabled the mic on your system, and it still isn’t working, try the following.

1. Audio troubleshooter

Windows 10 has a built-in troubleshooter for audio playback. You can try running it, as well as the general Hardware and devices troubleshooter to fix your mic problems.

To run the audio troubleshooter,

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the Update and Security group of settings.
  3. Select the Troubleshoot tab.
  4. Look for and run the Playing audio troubleshooter.

To run the general Hardware and devices troubleshooter;

  1. Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box.
  2. Enter the following, and tap Enter.
msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic

Accept any fixes that it recommends, and restart your PC.

2. Check virtual devices

If you have a virtual audio device installed, it might be interfering with the mic. Try disabling it.

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Go to Hardware and Sound.
  3. Select Sound.
  4. Visit both the Playback and Recording tabs.
  5. Select any virtual audio devices that are listed there, right-click it, and select ‘Disable.’
  6. Restart your PC.

3. Check hardware switch

Some headphones that come with a mic or stand alone mics have an On/Off switch. Check if it’s turned Off. If it is, turn it on, and the mic should start working.

4. Set up a mic

Some mics, particularly stand-alone ones, need to be set up.

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Go to Ease of access.
  3. Under Speech Recognition, click Set up a Microphone.
  4. Follow through the steps and set up the mic.

5. Check audio app

Check any audio managers that are installed on your system to see if the mic is disabled. The audio app might be a Dell app or a Realtek app. It really depends on what drivers are installed and who the manufacturer of your system is. You can access it from Control Panel>Hardware and Sound.

6. Set as default device

The mic might not be set as the default sound input device. To fix this;

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Go to Hardware and Sound.
  3. Select Sound.
  4. Go to the Recording tab.
  5. Right-click the mic that’s listed there and select the set as the default device option.

If the mic won’t work in a particular app, check if the app allows you to select an audio input device and make sure your mic has been selected under it.


It’s a good idea to also inspect the hardware, i.e., the mic. Some mics need batteries to run, some have an On/Off switch, and some might not work with a PC, although this last type is rare. Make sure the wire to the mic or any other part of it has not been damaged, and make sure you restart your system after trying each fix given above.

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