How to Use the Microphone on a Dell Computer

by C. Taylor

Most Dell notebook computers have a built-in microphone to use with various programs, such as Sound Recorder, Windows Speech Recognition or Voice-over-IP software. Dell desktop computers do not include a built-in microphone, but offer a microphone jack where an external microphone can be connected. If a connected microphone does not seem to work, the device may be disabled or have its volume sensitivity set too low.

Setting Up the Microphone

Step 1

Attach your external microphone to your Dell computer's microphone jack, which is located on the back of your desktop computer and is labeled with an icon of a microphone or the word "mic." On a notebook, this similarly labeled jack will be located on the side, although the computer may also have a built-in microphone. Because of the variations in Dell computer design, check your computer's manual for the microphone location for your model. No drivers or additional software are required.

Step 2

Right-click the white speaker icon on the Windows 7 taskbar by the system clock. Select "Recording devices."

Step 3

Right-click "Microphone" in the list of recording devices, and verify that no check mark is next to "Disable." If one is present, click "Disable" to remove it.

Step 4

Click "Properties" from the right-click menu or the lower-right window area.

Step 5

Click the "Levels" tab and verify the speaker icon next to "Microphone" does not have a red circle in front of it, which means that it is muted. If it is, click the icon to unmute it; the icon turns into a speaker emitting sound waves.

Click and drag the "Microphone" slider to the right to increase its sensitivity. Slide it to the left to decrease its sensitivity. You may need to experiment to achieve the best results for your setup. Click "Apply" and "OK" when complete. Your microphone will now work with whatever program that requires sound input.

Using the Microphone

Step 1

Open the program for which you wish to use the microphone, and set it up to receive voice input, according to its instructions.

Step 2

Locate the microphone. Check in your user manual for the built-in microphone's location on your notebook.

Position yourself a few inches away from the microphone and speak clearly. The required distance will depend on the microphone and sensitivity settings. You may need to experiment for best results.

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