Test the Microphone on Your Windows PC - dummies

By Dan Gookin

For a microphone to work on your computer, it must be plugged into the pink jack on your PC, unless it’s a USB microphone, which simply plugs into the USB port.

After plugging in the microphone, test the thing. Testing works differently depending on your version of Windows.

To test the microphone in Windows 7 and Windows Vista, heed these steps:

  1. Ensure that the microphone is properly connected and stuff.

  2. Open the Control Panel and choose Ease of Access.

  3. Choose the link Set Up Microphone, found beneath the Speech Recognition heading.

    The Microphone Setup Wizard materializes.

  4. Choose the type of microphone you’re using: the headset, cheap-o desktop microphone or the they-saw-you-coming microphone that the guy at the music store sold you.

  5. Click the Next button, and so on.

    After seeing a few meaningless screens, you eventually approach the Adjust the Microphone Volume screen — pay dirt.

  6. Speak away.

    Say: “Enunciation is the prestidigitation of audio infatuation.” Or be a wienie and say, “Test, test.”

    Watch that green bar go! Basically, by seeing the visual feedback, you confirm that the microphone is working.

  7. Continue working through the wizard or just click Cancel.

    If you’re satisfied with the results, you can bail out on the wizard. Otherwise, keep clicking Next and eventually you arrive at the Finish button.

To confirm that your microphone works in Windows XP, follow these steps:

  1. Plug in the microphone all nice and snug.

    And stuff.

  2. Open the Control Panel’s Sounds and Audio Devices icon.

  3. Click the Voice tab.

  4. Click the Test Hardware button.

    The Sound Hardware Test Wizard appears.

  5. Click the Next button.

    Hum a jaunty tune while the hardware is tested.

  6. Speak into the microphone to test the volume.

    The volume meter on the screen should dance up and down as you vocalize.

  7. Click the Next button after confirming that the microphone works.

  8. Click the Finish button.

Your computer may not be configured to use the specific microphone jack that your microphone is plugged into. If your PC came with specific audio software, use it to configure the audio jacks to accept microphone input.

  • You don’t want to spend too much or too little on a PC microphone. Cheap microphones don’t work well, record poorly, and are annoying to hear for audio chat and online communications. Expensive microphones may require a mixer or pre-amp to work properly.

  • Good microphones can be found in any computer or office supply store.

  • A microphone headset provides both headphones and a microphone. It’s perfect for online communications and gaming.