How to Connect a Wired Headset to a Computer

By Kathryn Hatashita-Lee

Listen to an audio file without distracting your colleagues.
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When you’re ready to listen to that important business presentation or audio file, you can connect a headset to your computer to listen to the files rather than using external speakers. Both desktop and laptop computers include the jacks, or small, round outlets, necessary to connect your headset. If your headset features two cylindrical plugs, one plug is for the headphones and the second plug is for the microphone. Your computer also includes USB ports as a possible alternative for connecting your headset. If the cable attached to your headset includes a USB plug, then it is a USB-enabled device and will fit in the USB port.

Standard Headset With Mic

Two circular outlets provide a connection for the headphone and microphone.
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Locate the headphone and microphone connectors on your computer. These round sockets may be located at the top, front or back of your desktop, or the side or front of your laptop. The panel surrounding the sockets shows tiny symbols for the headphone and microphone.

Examine the headset’s metal plugs for thin color bands: the headset plug displays green markings; the microphone plug displays pink markings. The black rubber or plastic part next to the metal plugs displays tiny symbols for the headset and microphone.

Insert the green headphone plug into your computer’s headphone jack. Insert the pink mic plug into the microphone jack.

USB Cable

The USB symbol shows three wires.
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Locate the USB port on the front, side or back of your computer. This connector features a rectangular slot approximately ½-inch long. A front or side port may offer easier access for connecting and disconnecting the headset.

Insert the headset’s USB cable into the USB port. If the cable does not fit one way, rotate the cable plug 180 degrees and try to insert it again. Do not force the plug into the slot. If the slot is horizontal, the plug’s USB symbol displaying three wires should face up.

Wait for your computer to install the headset drivers, if necessary. The confirmation notice will display on the screen.


Connect the cable first, and then put on the headphones. If the volume is cranked up to the highest level, the loud sound could hurt your ears.

Adjust the volume control on the headset, as well as on the keyboard controls, if applicable. Many keyboards have buttons that show a "+" and "-" symbol beside a speaker symbol that allow you to make volume adjustments.

Click the “Headphones” or “Volume” icon on the taskbar, and then click and drag the slider button to the preferred volume level on the screen. The blue Mute Headphones symbol should not display the red slash symbol.