Problems recording audio in Microsoft Windows

Published by Claro Software on

Sound problems on Windows machines can be especially difficult to fix if they relate to recording. Many Claro applications support recording, but only if recording works on that machine. The article helps you fix Windows recording problems.

Test applications. You can test recording with the Microsoft Sound Recorder application. Other useful applications to try include Skype (which lets you see and test different Recording Devices) and Audacity.

Windows Settings. Find the Recording settings in Control Panel, Hardware and Sound, and the Sound windows. You want the Recording tab. There you will see your Recording Devices. For example, your laptop might have a built-in microphone (Recording Device “Integrated Microphone Array” in the list below) and a 3.5mm mic jack for an external headset (Recording Device “Microphone”). If you plug in a USB mic or connect to a Bluetooth, these will appear as Recording Devices.

The Recording tab in the Sound control panel in Microsoft Windows

The Recording tab in the Sound control panel in Microsoft Windows

Symptoms of recording problems

  • You cannot record at all.
  • The “Record” button in audio applications is greyed out.
  • Trying to record produces an error message or crash.
  • Audio applications do not recognise and offer the Recording Device you want to use on your system (Skype is a good test)
  • Audio applications will record, but the resulting audio is completely silent.
  • Audio applications will record, but the resulting audio consists of static.
  • You can record with one Recording Device but not another (e.g. the mic jack works okay, but the mic above your laptop screen does not.)
  • You have several Recording Devices all called “Microphone”.

Misleading symptoms

A Recording Device can appear in Sound correctly, be enabled, and its volume indicator shows that it is responding to sound. It may still not record in an audio application if the device drivers are wrong or the manufacturer audio application has muted the Recording Device.

Things to check and fix

  • Correct installation of audio device drivers from the manufacturer. You may need to update or install manufacturer drivers if you have any of the following symptoms:
    • Multiple Recording Devices with the generic name “Microphone”.
    • Recording Devices are using generic Microsoft drivers.
    • Sound not displaying some devices you know you have plugged in.
    • Recording Devices enabled in Sound, and the microphone level showing activity, but audio applications not recording with that Recording Device.
  • Windows settings in Sound. Check that:
    • The Recording Device you want to use is enabled in Sound.
    • The Recording Device you want to use is the Default Device or Default Communication Device.
    • The Recording Device you want to use is not muted.
    • The “Stereo Mix” Recording Device is not disabled, if present (advice from Microsoft Support)
  • Volume turned on in manufacturer-provided audio software.
    • If the volume is muted in the manufacturer-provided audio software, Windows may still show it as active, but it won?t work in your audio application.
    • Check in the System Tray (Notification Area) for manufacturer-provided audio applications.
    • Check for Realtek, Intel, Aureal, Creative or Roland applications on your system and see if they control your audio settings.

This page was last updated on 8th September 2014.