While gaming with friends, you cannot communicate if you don’t have a functioning microphone.
There is a lot of reasons that your microphone is not picking up any audio. The most common one is, the microphone setting is turned off in the settings. Now, let’s go through some causes and fix an unresponsive microphone.
Why is My Microphone Not Working?
Many other reasons also result in an unresponsive microphone. Some of them are listed as follows.
- Incompatible Hardware
- Faulty cable
- Another application using the mic in the background
- Microphone access disabled
- Outdated driver
- Access denied for some application
Fixes for an Unresponsive Microphone
Now that we know a few of the causes, let’s see how to fix the problem.
Enable Microphone Access
The first thing you can do is check if the computer has the microphone enabled. With this setting disabled, you cannot use either the laptop’s internal mic or the headset mic. This setting can get disabled for unknown reasons once you plug in a 3.5 mm jack.
To enable the microphone, you can follow these steps.
- Click on the Start Menu and navigate to Settings > Privacy & security (Privacy for Windows 10).
- Under App permission, select Microphone.
- Enable the Microphone access.
While you are on this dialog box, ensure that you enable the microphone for all applications. This feature lets you control the microphone access to any application. So, if any specific application doesn’t register voice, you can check if this option is enabled.
Low Input Volume
Low mic volume may be the reason your mic is not working. If the input volume of your microphone is low, the computer or the application will not detect anything. Follow these steps to adjust your microphone volume.
For Windows 10,
- On the bottom right corner, right-click the sound icon and click Open Sound Settings
- Click on Device properties. Then, go to the Levels tab.
- Under Microphone, you can adjust the Input Volume.
In this dialog box, you can also mute your microphone. Even if the input volume is 100, a muted mic cannot detect sound. To unmute your microphone, press the speaker icon.
For Windows 11,
- Press the Windows key and Go to Settings > System > Sound.
- Under Input, select click on Microphone.
- Under Input settings, adjust the Input Volume to 100%.
Select the Correct Input Source
We can connect a computer to multiple mics at the same time. If this is the case, it may take input from any of them. You need to select the correct input device that you are currently using. To choose the microphone, follow these steps.
Click on the Start menu and go to Settings > System > Sound. Under Input, select the desired microphone.
Set Default Microphone
You can set the default microphone if the computer is paired to multiple microphones. Doing this, you can always use the one microphone you set as default, even if numerous mics are connected. To select a default microphone, follow these steps.
For Windows 10,
Right-click the speaker icon on the bottom right for the screen. Now, click on Sounds > Recordings. Select the Microphone and click on Set Default.
For Windows 11,
Click on the Start menu and go to System > Sound. Under Advanced, click on More sound settings. Click on the Recording tab, select the microphone, and click Set Default.
A green tick mark will indicate the default microphone.
Close Background Application
If the microphone is currently in use by a background process, the application you are using will not detect any sound from the mic.
The program running in the foreground will have a high priority while using resources most of the time. But sometimes, the background process may be running on high priority mode, and thus that process will use the microphone.
To close any background process, you can follow these steps.
Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc. If you see a few programs with no details, click on More details. Here, you will see all the programs running in the background. Check the listed programs; if you see any program that might use the microphone, click on it and press End task.
Update Windows and Drivers
The driver acts as a communication tool between the OS and its devices. If the driver and the OS are not compatible, the hardware may not work at all. Therefore we must update the driver and the OS now and then.
To Update the Audio Driver
- Press the Windows + X key, then click on Device Manager.
- Expand Sound, video, and game controller.
- Here, right-click on the audio driver and click on Update.
- A dialog box will appear, click on Search automatically for drivers and wait for the update to complete.
To Update USB Drivers
Some headsets use the USB port to transfer the audio data. In this case, you also want to update your USB driver.
Go to Device Manager and expand Universal Serial Bus controllers and USB Connector Managers. Now, right-click and update all drivers inside them.
To Update Windows OS
For Windows 10:
- Press the Windows + X key
- Go to Settings >Update & security > Windows Update.
- Then, click on Check for updates (or Install updates).
For Windows 11:
- Press the Windows + X key and
- Go to Settings > Windows Update > Check for updates (or Install updates). The updates will download if you have any.
- After the download is complete, restart the computer to install the update.
Troubleshoot Sound Problems
If none of the above solutions works, we can use the Windows Troubleshooter to detect and fix the problem.
To run the troubleshooter,
- Right-click on the speaker icon on the taskbar and click on Troubleshoot sound problem.
- Choose the device you want to troubleshoot.
- The troubleshooter will suggest some settings for your computer to fix the issue.
Headphone Jack Compatibility
Most computers will have two 3.5 mm female audio ports, one for speakers/headphones (output) and a microphone (input). You will not detect audio input in this computer if you use one two-in-one headset will only one jack (input and output in one 3.5mm male port).
However, most laptops will have a single 3.5mm female port for input and output. Therefore, a headset with two 3.5mm jacks (input and output) will not work on a laptop. In this case, only the jack (input or output) you connect to the computer will work.
So, if your computer has two female audio ports, you will need a headset with two male audio jacks. Similarly, if you have a laptop with one female audio port, you need a headset with one male audio jack.
You can also buy a converter cable that converts two 3.2 mm jacks into a single 3.5 mm jack or vice-versa.
If you use a headset for an extended period, the cable will break sooner or later. Depending on the component, you either have a damaged right/left channel or a microphone.
You can replace the cable if it is detachable from the headset. A damaged cable that you cannot detach from the headset can be complicated to fix. However, there are some ways you prevent a wire from being damaged. Using a heat shrink tube can stop the wear and tear of the cable.
If the internal wires are damaged, take the headset to a local repair shop to fix them.
Dense Layer of Dust
The mic on your headset can also stop functioning if the 3.5 mm port on the computer doesn’t respond. This can happen if the port is covered with a dense layer of dust.
Remove any dust from the ports using a small non-conductive pin. If you are using a metal pin, turn off the laptop completely before you start to clean.
Mic Switch Headset
Some modern headsets will have a mic switch on the headset or the microphone itself. This feature allows you to turn the mic on or off instantly. If this switch is turned on, the computer will not detect any sound.
If none of the solutions work, the microphone itself might be damaged. A detachable microphone can be replaced when damaged. However, a local electronic repair shop might fix a broken microphone if it cannot be detached.