How to Fix It When a Windows 11 Microphone is Not Working

Troubleshoot and fix microphone problems in Windows 11 with these practical steps. Ensure your audio input is working seamlessly.

By Abhishek Chandel
New Update
How to Fix It When a Windows 11 Microphone is Not Working

How to Fix It When a Windows 11 Microphone is Not Working

Are microphones not working properly on your Windows 11 computer? Don't panic. In most cases, you can get your microphone up and running again with some simple troubleshooting techniques. Here are the 9 best solutions to try to fix it when a Windows 11 Microphone is not working.

1. Check Physical Mute Buttons and Settings on the Microphone Device

Before digging into software settings, check for a physical mute button or switch on the microphone itself. External mics and headsets often have a mute button right on the device. Laptops can have one on the chassis as well. Make sure the mic is not silenced by one of these physical controls.

Also, inspect headsets to ensure the microphone boom is not retracted or folded in a muted position. If using a Bluetooth headset, try re-pairing it to your computer in case the mic gets stuck in a muted sleep mode.

2. Confirm the App Has Microphone Access Permissions

For microphone privacy, Windows 11 apps need explicit permission to use your microphone. You have to grant this access to individual apps.

Go to Windows Settings > Privacy & Security > Microphone. Make sure the top toggle under Microphone access is switched to On so microphone access is enabled in general.

Then check that the app you want to use the microphone in has its toggle switched to On in this list of apps. For example, make sure Chrome, Zoom, OBS, or your game launcher has the microphone toggled On if needed. Toggle these to On and the app should now be able to utilize your microphone.

3. Select the Proper Microphone as Input in Sound Settings

Another common issue is the microphone is connected properly but not configured as the active input device in Windows. Here's how to check this:

Right-click the speaker icon in your system tray and select Sound Settings. This opens the Sound control panel.

Go to Input > Test your microphone. First, speak into your mic to see if any levels register. If not, select the drop-down menu and make sure you have the correct microphone device selected.

For example, you may need to change this from Default Device to your headset brand name or other microphone input.

If your expected microphone doesn't appear in this menu at all, there is likely a driver issue or connection problem.

4. Update Microphone Drivers in Device Manager

Outdated, corrupt, or missing drivers can prevent microphones from being detected properly in Windows 11.

To update drivers, first open Device Manager using the Windows search bar or run dialog. Expand the Audio inputs and outputs section.

Right-click on the microphone device you are troubleshooting and select Update driver. This will automatically search for the latest drivers from Windows Update and install them.

Follow any on-screen prompts to finish the driver installation. Reboot your PC when complete for changes to fully take effect. This will overwrite any outdated drivers that may be causing microphone problems.

5. Disable and Re-Enable the Microphone Device

As a quick fix, you can disable and then re-enable the microphone device in Device Manager to reset it.

To do this, right-click the microphone device and select Disable device. Then right-click it again and choose Enable device.

This will toggle the device off and on, essentially rebooting the connection and often resolving any software glitches.

6. Uninstall and Reinstall the Microphone Device

If drivers and resets aren't working, completely uninstalling the microphone device and rescanning hardware to reinstall it fresh can help.

In Device Manager, right-click the microphone and select Uninstall device. This will fully remove the device including drivers.

Then click Action > Scan for hardware changes. This will make Windows rescan all connected devices, re-detect the microphone, and install it from scratch. You may need to reboot after that for the mic to start working again after this process. It essentially gives you a clean slate.

7. Test with a Different Microphone

At this point, connect a different external microphone and test if that input works as expected in Windows.

This helps determine if the issues are due to Windows microphone settings or if your primary microphone device itself is faulty.

If a totally separate microphone works fine, the problem is isolated to your original microphone, likely hardware-related. Consider replacing it.

8. Reset Windows as a Last Resort

If you've tried every other troubleshooting step including testing with alternate microphones, the nuclear option is fully resetting Windows 11 itself.

This will reinstall Windows 11 fresh and overwrite any corrupted OS files that could be causing microphone problems.

Go to Windows Settings > System > Recovery and select Reset this PC. Now you'll get two options, "Keep my files" & "Remove everything". Choose any option you want.

Next, you will get the option of How would you like to reinstall Windows? which again gives you two options, "Cloud download" & "Local reinstall". Choose any option from this.

Now simply follow the prompts to reinstall Windows 11 cleanly. Remember to back up all your data first.

9. Use Automated Windows Troubleshooters

For additional help, Windows 11 has built-in troubleshooter tools you can run to diagnose and fix common problems.

For this go to Windows settings > Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Troubleshooting > Hardware and Sound. Then select the option for Playing audio. The troubleshooters here will scan your system and fix common audio issues.

Specifically, run the troubleshooters for Audio playback and Recording audio to fix microphone problems. The apps will walk you through the process to diagnose and resolve your issue automatically.


With a combination of settings tweaks, driver updates, hardware resets, and built-in troubleshooters, you should be able to revive even the most unresponsive microphone in Windows 11. Just take it step-by-step. Remember to backup your system before any major changes like OS resets. Following this microphone troubleshooting guide will resolve most common issues.

FAQs - Windows 11 Microphone is Not Working

Why is my Windows 11 microphone not working after an update?

Windows updates can sometimes break microphone drivers or cause compatibility issues. Try rolling back the Windows update or installing the latest audio drivers for your microphone from the manufacturer's website after updating.

What should I do if my microphone is not detected in Windows 11?

If your microphone isn't showing up at all in Windows 11's sound settings, try unplugging it and plugging it back in. Also update its drivers, disable/enable the device in Device Manager, or use the "Scan for hardware changes" option to force Windows to re-detect the mic.

Are there specific drivers needed for my microphone to work on Windows 11?

Yes, you need Windows 11 compatible drivers for your specific microphone model for full functionality. Check the manufacturer's website and download the latest Windows audio drivers.

How can I check if my microphone is set as the default recording device in Windows 11?

Go to Start > Settings > System > Sound and look in the Input section. Make sure your microphone is selected under "Choose your input device." If not, select it from the dropdown menu to set it as the default recording device.

What steps can I take if my microphone is too quiet or has low volume on Windows 11?

Open Sound Settings, go to your microphone's Properties > Levels and adjust the volume slider upwards. Also use the sound control panel to boost the mic preamp to increase gain.

Is there a way to test my microphone to ensure it is functioning properly in Windows 11?

Yes, go to Sound Settings > Input > Test your microphone. Speak into your mic and look at the microphone levels bar to see if it is picking up your voice. You can also test it by recording audio with Voice Recorder or other apps.

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