How to Make a Microphone Work

by Liz Jones

Adding a microphone to your computer system gives you the ability to record your voice, make phone calls and talk to your friends and family on instant messenger services. Microphones are easy to install and basic ones come with no software, just plug and play. If you already have a microphone that is not working, check the following to make sure you have installed it properly.

Look at your computer tower and check that the microphone is plugged into the microphone jack. The speaker jack is right next to the microphone jack so make sure that the two are each in the correct jack. The microphone jack should have a picture of a microphone on it. Switch them if they both do not work to see if this is the issue.

Make sure the microphone is all the way connected into the jack. Check to see that the microphone is not muted.

Test the microphone to make sure it works. Go to the "start" button at the lower left hand corner of your desktop and click on it. Then choose "control panel."

Open the control panel, choose the icon that says "sounds and audio devices," and double click on this. Open the "voice" tab by clicking on it. Near the bottom of the next screen, you will see a button that says, "Test hardware." Click on that button.

Wait for the computer to perform the test after clicking "next." This will take a moment. Then it will ask you to speak into your microphone to test it. You should see movement on this screen, green wavy lines, as you speak into the microphone. Play back your recording to see how it sounds. Adjust the volume if necessary.

If your recording didn't work, check to make sure all the equipment is working. Check your speakers to make sure your sound card is working. If they play then the issue is with your microphone and replacement may be necessary. If the speakers do not work either then check your sound card. If your system is old then you may need to replace the sound card in order to use a microphone.

Install the software that came with the microphone. If you purchased a basic microphone there is no software program and you can skip this step. If necessary, uninstall and reinstall the software program (see Tips below).

Complete this step if your microphone has a software program. Test the microphone again after reinstalling the software by repeating steps 3 to 6.


  • check Uninstall software by going to start-control panel-add or remove programs and then clicking on the software name. Install the software by inserting the CD and following the on screen instructions.

About the Author

Liz Jones is a freelance writer with extensive experience in a variety of areas, including digital imaging and the food industry. Jones has been writing professionally for three years. She attended the Pennsylvania State University where she majored in Astro Physics.

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