How to Record Audio on Windows 10

Capture voice recordings and more right from your PC

There are a lot of reasons why you may need to know how to record audio on Windows 10, and there are many audio apps available to do so, including Microsoft's own Windows Voice Recorder. And for situations in which Windows Voice Recorder isn’t up to the task, there’s Audacity.

How to Record Audio With Windows Voice Recorder on Windows 10

Windows Voice Recorder is a simple but effective program that comes pre-installed with Windows and can be used to record audio directly from your computer's microphone. It also has a rudimentary editor you can use to trim unwanted bits from the start and end of the recording.

  1. If you don’t have a microphone built into your computer, connect one before you start Windows Voice Recorder.

  2. You need to make sure the microphone is set as the default recording device. Select the Start menu, then select Settings, represented as a gear-shaped icon.

  3. In the Windows Settings search box, type Sound and press Enter. In the search results, select Sound Settings.

    The Windows Settings window
  4. In the Input section, use the input device drop-down menu to choose your microphone, then close the Settings window.

    Selecting a microphone in Windows Settings
  5. Open Windows Voice Recorder from the Start menu. It should already be installed, but if it is not, you can find it in the Microsoft Store.

  6. Select the Record icon on the left side of the screen to begin recording.

    The Windows Voice Recorder window

    In some installations of Voice Recorder, the Record icon may shift to the middle of the Voice Recorder window when you first open it or if you have not previously made any voice recordings. Once you have created recordings, the Record icon will appear on the left side of the screen.

  7. While you’re recording, you can select the Pause icon to temporarily hold recording, then select Pause a second time to continue, recording to the same file.

    The recording screen in the Windows Voice Recorder app
  8. When you’re done, select the Stop icon.

  9. After your recording is done, you can select the recording file, then select the Play icon to hear it played back.

  10. If you want to trim the start and end of the audio, select the Trim icon at the bottom of the window.

    Selecting the Trim button in the Windows Voice Recorder app
  11. Drag the start and end bars until you've edited the audio. Select the Play icon to hear your revised start and end points. When you're satisfied, select the Save icon and choose if you want to save the current file or create a new copy.

    Trimming audio in the Windows Voice Recorder app
  12. To find the MP3 file on your computer’s hard drive, right-click the file and choose Open File Location. You can also select the Share icon to send the file to someone via email or social media.

How to Record on Windows 10 Using Audacity

There are many third-party audio recording programs for Windows, but Audacity is a powerful one that’s free and open source. It’s used by many creative professionals, including podcasters, to make voice recordings and other kinds of audio.

You can easily use Audacity to make, edit, and publish audio files recorded by microphone, in much the same way as you can record audio in Windows Voice Recorder. We’ll demonstrate how to use the program to record internal audio from another program on your PC.

If you're capturing audio being played by another program, be aware of the possibility of copyright infringement regarding recording and reusing that audio. If the audio is copyrighted, and you record and reuse it, you could be breaking the law, which has serious consequences.

  1. If you don’t already have Audacity installed on your computer, install Audacity, then open it.

  2. First, configure the audio inputs so Audacity can record sound from the computer. Select the Audio host drop-down menu at the top left of the window and choose Windows WASAPI. It allows Audacity to “hear” audio from other apps.

    Configuing the host audio in Audacity
  3. Select the Audio input drop-down menu to the right of the Audio host menu, then select the speakers or headphones you're currently using to hear audio on the computer, with “loopback” in parenthesis. This ensures the audio being captured will only be the audio you can hear coming from the computer.

    Configuring the audio input in Audacity
  4. When you are ready, select the Record icon in the Audacity toolbar.

    Recording audio in Audacity
  5. When you’re done, select the Stop icon.

  6. To play back the audio you just recorded to hear and edit it, restore the two menus to the settings they had at the start. The Audio host menu should be set to MME.

  7. Select the Play icon to hear the audio you just recorded.

    Playing back recorded audio in Audacity
  8. When you're done, you can save the finished audio. Select File > Save > Save as WAV.