Why is my microphone not working in Windows 10?

Did you turn the volume up? Fix your mic problems in this guide Photo by Seej Nguyen from Pexels

If you do any kind of videoconferencing, the cry of “I can’t hear you” is likely familiar. You may have had to shout it at others in the past but, when it happens to you, it’s both embarrassing and frustrating. So what can you do if your microphone is not working in Windows 10 and silence prevails? Let’s find out.

Are you on mute?

One of the main reasons your microphone may not be working is because you have muted yourself within the app you are using. Most programs – such as Zoom or Teams – have the option to mute, so it’s worth checking this first. Devices like the MuteMe Mini make changing your mute status easy – check out our MuteMe review to find out more.

I’m not muted. What’s next?

If you’re using an external microphone, like a USB webcam, it’s worth checking the physical connection. Even if it looks okay, there’s no harm in unplugging and re-connecting the device.

Usb Cable - is yours connected correctly?

My connection’s okay. What’s next?

A restart of Windows 10 is always worth a shot when trying to solve any niggle. To restart, click the Start icon and then select Power. From the menu that appears, choose Restart. Now sit back, and give the computer time to restart and warm back up before checking the microphone.

Restart Windows 10

A Windows 10 restart didn’t solve it. What’s next?

Another typical cause of a microphone not working is your computer has multiple microphone inputs. You may, for example, have a built-in microphone option and also one on your USB webcam. This gives Windows 10 a choice – and it may have selected the wrong one.

To check this, first right-click the sounds icon on the taskbar and select Open Sound settings.

Open Sound settings on Windows 10 taskbar

The sound settings window will now appear. On the right-hand menu, under the Input heading, there is an option to choose your input device. Check this box to see the currently selected microphone.

selected microphone WIndows 10

If what is showing isn’t the microphone you are using, click the drop arrow to the right of the box, and choose the correct microphone.

choose microphone in Windows 10 settings

Once you have chosen the correct microphone, you can now quickly check to see if it is working. To do so, start talking and look under the Test your microphone heading just below the microphone box. If all is okay, a line should move up and down as you talk.

test your microphone in Windows 10

I’ve chosen the correct microphone but still no joy. What’s next?

If you’ve only one microphone or you’ve selected the right one, but it’s still not working, then Windows 10 has a troubleshooting option. It’s available just below the Test your microphone option in the Sound settings.

Troubleshoot your microphone in WIndows 10

To use this option, first click the Troubleshoot button. The troubleshooting windows will now appear and ask which microphone you wish to test. Choose which one you want to check and click Next.

choose microphone Windows 10 Troubleshooter

The troubleshooter will then run through some checks and either fix the problem or not be able to identify the issue.

Troubleshooter couldn't identify the problem

Windows 10 Troubleshooting didn’t work. What’s next?

Windows 10 also has a privacy option that can prevent your microphone working. To check this, select the Start icon and then choose Settings.

Setting in WIndows 10 start menu

From the Settings window, choose Privacy.

Privacy option Windows 10 Settings

Next, select Microphone from the left-hand menu under the heading App Permissions.

Microphone Privacy settings Windows 10

At the top of the right-hand menu, check that it says Microphone access for this device is on.

Allow access to microphone on this device privacy settings WIndows 10

If it says off instead, click the Change button and set the toggle switch to on.

Microphone access off Windows 10 Privacy settings

Further down the right-hand menu, under the heading Allow apps to access your microphone, is another toggle switch. Make sure this is also set to On.

Allow apps to access your microphone Windows 10 privacy settings

Within these settings, you can also choose which individual store apps have access to your microphone. Under the heading Choose which Microsoft store apps can access your microphone, check the list to make sure your app is set to On. As the heading mentions, only Microsoft store apps appear on this list. Other programs installed outside of the store won’t show here. All other apps should work as long as the Allow apps to access your microphone option is turned on.

Choose which Microsoft Store apps can access your microphone Windows 10 Privacy settings

Still no luck. What’s next?

If your mic is still acting up, there are a few more advanced options available – such as delving into device manager to uninstall the microphone or check for updated drivers. However, to keep your sanity, maybe now is the time to get your machine to your local computer repair person, and get them to have a look.

About the author

Mark Parvin

I have worked with and wrote about computers, video games and consumer tech for more years than I care to admit.
I currently run my own IT support business and write about the wonders of tech whenever I can.

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