How to Set up and Test a Microphone in Windows 10 or Windows 11

Bluetooth mics work a bit differently from wired mics plus instructions differ a little between Win 10 and Win 11

What to Know

  • Win 11: Plug in mic and go to Start > Settings > Sound > Microphone. Choose device > select right arrow next to it.
  • Win 10: Plug in mic, right-click speaker icon > Sounds. Set it as a default device under Recording.
  • If you're using a USB mic with driver software, install that first, and then restart your PC.

This article explains how to install a mic in Windows (including Bluetooth mics) and test the mic. The instructions apply to Windows 10 and 11.

How to Set Up and Test a Microphone in Windows 11

If you purchased a USB microphone that came with driver software, you'll want to install that first, then restart your PC. Otherwise, start by plugging your microphone into the appropriate port on your computer.

There may be some extra steps involved if your microphone is a Bluetooth device. See the next section instead.

  1. Go to the Start Menu and select Settings.

    Start and Settings in Windows 11
  2. Select System in the sidebar, then select Sound.

    System and Sound in Windows 11 settings
  3. Under Input, select Choose a device for speaking or recording.

    Choose a device for speaking and recording in Windows 11 Sound Settings
  4. Choose a device, then select the right arrow beside it to open the microphone settings.

    Blue Snowball Microphone and right arrow in Windows 11 Sound Settings
  5. Next to Set as default device, select Is default for audio.

    Is default for audio next to Set as default device in Windows 11 Sound Settings
  6. Select Also use as default for communications.

    Also use as default for communications in Windows 11 Sound Settings
  7. Select Start Test to test your mic. You can also change the recording format, adjust the sensitivity, and enable enhanced audio. Changes you make are automatically saved.

    Start Test in Windows 11 Sound Settings
  8. To set up voice recognition for your mic, go to Settings > Time & Language > Speech.

    Time & language and Speech in Windows 11 Settings
  9. Under Microphone, select Get Started.

    Get Started under Microphone in Windows 11 Speech Settings

How to Set up a Bluetooth Microphone in Windows 11

If you have a wireless microphone or a headset that includes a Bluetooth microphone, you first need to pair it with your Windows 11 PC.

  1. Select the Action Center icon on your taskbar (network, sound, and power icons) located to the left of the time and date to open the Quick Settings menu.

    Action Center (network, sound, and power icons) in the Windows 11 taskbar
  2. If the Bluetooth icon is grayed out, select it to turn it on.

    Bluetooth button in Windows 11 Quick Settings
  3. Right-click Bluetooth and select Go to Settings.

    Go to Settings under Bluetooth in Windows 11 Quick Settings
  4. Select Add device.

    Add device in Windows 11 Bluetooth settings
  5. Select Bluetooth.

    Bluetooth in Windows 11 Add device screen
  6. Select your Bluetooth device from the list. Confirm that your device is turned on and ready to pair if it doesn't appear.

  7. Once the device is paired, you'll see a confirmation window that your microphone is ready to use. Select Done to exit the screen.

  8. Follow the steps in the previous section to test your microphone and adjust the settings.

How to Set Up a Wired Microphone in Windows 10

The steps for setting up a microphone in Windows 10 are a little different:

  1. After the microphone is plugged in, right-click the speaker icon in the taskbar and select Sounds.

    Sounds selection in Windows 10
  2. In the Sounds window, select the Recording tab to see all connected microphones. If it isn't already selected as the Default Device, right-click the microphone you've connected (you can recognize it by the listed brand), and select Set as Default Device.

    Setting for a default microphone on Windows 10
  3. Select the Microphone and then select Configure to open the Speech Recognition window.

  4. Select Set up microphone to open the Microphone Setup Wizard.

    The Speech Recognition window
  5. Select the type of microphone you've connected to your computer and select Next to continue through the wizard. Read the instructions, then select Next again.

    Microphone Setup Wizard
  6. On the next Microphone Setup Wizard screen, speak into the microphone as you read the text on the screen. If the microphone is working, you should see the lower sound bar move as you talk.

    Test of the microphone on Windows 10
  7. Select Next again. You should see a confirmation window that your microphone is set up. Select Finish to exit the Microphone Setup Wizard.

    Microphone setup confirmation window

How to Set up a Bluetooth Microphone in Windows 10

If you purchased a Bluetooth microphone or a headset that includes a Bluetooth microphone, you need to pair that device with your Windows 10 PC.

  1. Make sure your Bluetooth microphone is turned on, then right-click the Bluetooth icon in the Windows taskbar and select Add a Bluetooth Device.

    Selection to add a bluetooth device in Windows 10
  2. In the Bluetooth & other devices window, make sure the Bluetooth toggle switch is on. Next, select Add Bluetooth or other device.

    Bluetooth & other devices screen in Windows 10
  3. In the Add a device window, select Bluetooth as the type of device you want to add.

    Adding a bluetooth device in Windows 10
  4. You should see your Bluetooth device in the list in the next window. Confirm that your device is turned on and ready to pair if it doesn't appear. Select the device from the list to start the pairing process when it's listed.

    Connecting to bluetooth device in Windows 10
  5. Once the device is paired, you'll see a confirmation window that your microphone is ready to use. Select Done to exit the screen.

    Confirmation of a connected bluetooth device in Windows 10
  6. Back in the Bluetooth & other devices window, you should see your Bluetooth microphone displayed in the list of Audio devices. If the microphone is working correctly, you should see a "Connected voice" tag underneath the device.

    list of bluetooth devices in Windows 10
  7. Right-click the sound icon again in the Windows taskbar and select Sounds > Recording. You should now see your Bluetooth microphone listed. If it isn't already the default device, right-click the microphone and choose Set as Default Device.

    setting default audio device in Windows 10
  8. Test your Bluetooth microphone by talking. The sound bar to the microphone's right should display green bars, indicating it's working and ready to use.

How to Test a Microphone in Windows 10

If your microphone has been working but stops, you can test the microphone in just a few steps.

  1. Right-click the speaker icon in the taskbar, then select Sounds > Recording. You should see a list of microphones with a vertical sound meter to the right of your enabled microphone.

    Recording Sounds tab in Windows 10
  2. If the microphone is grayed out and labeled as Disabled, this may explain why the microphone isn't working. Right-click the microphone and select Enable.

    Microphone enable button in Windows 10
  3. Speak into the microphone. You should see the sound meter to the right of the microphone display green bars, depending on how loud you're speaking.

    Microsoft sound meter in Windows 10
  4. Your microphone is now connected and tested as working correctly. Select OK or Cancel to close the Sound window.

FAQ
  • How do I set up a condenser microphone in Windows?

    To use a condenser microphone with your PC, you need an audio interface (such as a mixer) that supports phantom power. Once you connect your computer to the interface and enable phantom power, connect the condenser microphone to the interface via an XLR cable. If you don't turn on phantom power, it could damage your battery.

  • How do I turn off the microphone on my PC?

    To disable your microphone on Windows 11, go to Settings > System > Sound, choose your microphone, and then select Don't Allow in the Audio section. In Windows 10, select Manage sound devices, choose your microphone, and then select Disable.

  • How do I fix it when my Windows microphone is not working?

    If your Windows microphone isn't working, make sure the mic isn't muted and check your app permission settings. If the problem persists, right-click the speaker icon on the Windows taskbar and select Troubleshoot sound problems to run an automated troubleshooter.

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