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HP Notebook PCs - Resolving Microphone Problems (Windows Vista)

This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows Vista.

Changes in software, settings, or drivers can often cause a microphone to stop working. If your computer's microphone has stopped working, there are a number of things you can do to attempt to correct the problem. First, troubleshoot the hardware. Then, move on to the other troubleshooting tips provided in this document.

Keep your computer's operating system up-to-date
Incorrect or outdated device drivers and software can often lead to a variety of audio issues. Updating the device drivers and software for the operating system on your computer will help ensure that everything works properly, including the microphone and audio system. This is especially important if you have replaced the original operating system.

Hardware troubleshooting

Depending on whether you are using an internal or an external microphone, follow the steps below to see if the problem is with the hardware.

Test the internal microphone

The internal microphone is located near the top of the LCD display or near the bottom of the LCD display near the hinge. Use the following best practices to capture sound more easily.

  1. Adjust the computer screen to place the microphone in the best direction for receiving sound.

  2. Click Start , enter sound in the search field and select Sound Recorder from the list.

  3. Click Record and speak into the microphone. Save the file to an easily-accessible location, such as the desktop.

  4. To play back the recorded sound, open the file using Windows Media Player.

  5. When using the internal microphone, choose an environment without background noise.

  6. If the recorded sound does not play back, continue to the next section of this document.

Test the external microphone

Verify that the microphone port and the microphone are working properly.

  1. Test the microphone on a working portable tape recorder, another computer, or a device that accepts the microphone connector.

  2. Click Start , enter sound in the search field and select Sound Recorder from the list.

  3. Click Record and speak into the microphone. Save the file to an easily-accessible location, such as the desktop.

  4. To play back the recorded sound, open the file using Windows Media Player.

  5. If the recorded sound does not play back, continue to the next section of this document.

  6. If the microphone successfully records the voice, test the record function on the computer. If the microphone does not work properly on another computer or on a tape recorder, try using a different microphone.

Set the default microphone

If the external microphone is set as the default recording device, uninstall and reinstall the audio driver to change the default recording device to the internal microphone. The internal microphone should be the default recording device.

To change the default recording device:

  1. Click Start , enter device into the search field, and then select Device Manager from the list.

  2. Expand the Sound, video and game controllers list.

  3. Right-click the audio driver , select Uninstall from the drop-down menu, and then click OK to confirm that you want to uninstall the audio driver.

  4. After the audio driver is uninstalled, click Start , enter backup into the search field, and then select HP Backup and Recovery Manager from the list.

  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall the audio driver.

The internal microphone is now set as the default recording device.

Basic troubleshooting

The following are some basic troubleshooting tools that you can use to restore your microphone's functionality, depending on your operating system and/or software preferences. However, it is recommended that you first run the HP Support Assistant as it can scan your current system configuration to automatically determine if your computer requires updated software and device drivers.

Use the HP Support Assistant

The HP Support Assistant is a utility that contains a set of diagnostic and repair tools which you can run any time your computer is not operating properly. The HP Support Assistant is integrated with the Windows Help and Support utility to provide support documents and access to Microsoft and HP tools to perform routine updates, help prevent potential problems, and provide valuable system information to troubleshoot your computer problems. Most known hardware driver and software problems can be resolved by running the HP Support Assistant.

For detailed information, see HP Notebook PCs - Installing and Using HP Support Assistant .

Use the Microsoft Fix It in Windows Vista

If you are using Windows Vista, Microsoft has provided a Fix It to help you troubleshoot common audio recording problems.

For more information, see Troubleshoot audio-recording problems Non-HP site on the Microsoft website.

Additional troubleshooting

If, after performing basic troubleshooting, the microphone still does not work, try the following:

Ensure that the notebook's audio is not muted

A common mistake often made when working with audio on a notebook is that the audio system has been inadvertently muted. If you are recording audio, but not getting any sound on playback, check to be sure that your notebook's audio system is not muted.

  1. Left-click the Sound icon in the system taskbar, beside the clock.

    Figure 1: Audio muted

    Audio muted
  2. If the Mute button indicates that the audio is turned off, click it to turn it back on.

  3. Play an audio file that you have recorded.

If this does not resolve the problem, go to the next troubleshooting item.

Check the connections

If you are using an external microphone, verify that it is plugged into the notebook's correct audio port. If the microphone is connected to the correct port and there is still no sound, try unplugging the connector about 1mm so that the connector is sitting loosely in the jack. It is possible that the connector on the microphone does not match up correctly with the port.

If this does not resolve the problem, push the connector firmly into the port and go to the next troubleshooting item.

Check the microphone settings

If microphone boost is selected, noise can interfere with recording. Follow the steps below to verify the microphone settings.

  1. Right-click the Sound icon in the system taskbar, beside the clock. Select Recording Devices from the drop-down menu.

  2. When the Sound window opens to the Recording tab, select Microphone . The Microphone entry should say that it is working, and there should be a meter beside the entry.

  3. Tap the plastic above the display gently. The meter should respond to the sound stimulus by rising and falling.

  4. If the microphone is not working, or if the meter is not present, or does not seem to respond to sound input, try the following:

    1. Click Properties and in the Microphone Properties window, make sure the device is enabled in the Device usage drop-down menu on the General tab.

    2. Click the Levels tab and set the microphone volume to 100.

    3. Click the Advanced tab and make sure all options are selected.

    4. Click Apply and then OK . Close the windows.

Try recording again to determine if the problem is resolved. If there is still no sound, continue to the next troubleshooting item.

Make sure the correct recording device is selected

Check to be sure that the correct recording device is selected, if you have multiple devices associated with the operating system. Do the following:

  1. Click Start , enter sound in the search field, and then select Sound from the list. The Sound window opens.

  2. On the Playback tab, select the SPDIF Interface, or audio device.

  3. On the Recording tab, select the Audio device that is installed on the computer. It should be the same as the listing under Sound Playback.

  4. Click OK , and then close the Sound window.

Try recording again to determine if the problem is resolved. If there is still no sound, continue to the next troubleshooting item.

Remove duplicate sound card entries from the Device Manager

After you have tested for hardware and if there are still problems, check for software problems. If there are multiple soundcard entries in the Device Manager, they can conflict with one another. To determine if conflicts exist, and to remove duplicate entries:

  1. Click Start , enter device in the search field, and then select Device Manager from the list. If prompted, permit the action to continue.

  2. Expand the Sound, video and game controllers list and check for other soundcard entries that have the exact same name.

  3. If there are duplicate entries, select them one by one. Right-click each duplicate and select Remove until they are all removed.

  4. Click Scan for hardware changes in the Device Manager taskbar. Windows scans the system hardware and supplies default drivers where necessary.

Try recording again to determine if the problem is resolved. If there is still no sound, continue to the next troubleshooting item.

Download and install updated device drivers

If you continue to experience problems with the microphone, the audio drivers for your particular computer model might be out of date. Search for updated drivers for your particular model of notebook and install them. For more information, refer to the HP Notebook PCs - Locate and Install Updated BIOS, Drivers, and Software support document.

If installing updated device drivers does not work, go to the next troubleshooting item.

Use Microsoft System Restore

If the microphone just stopped working, it might be that the device driver for the microphone has become corrupted or broken. In that case, try using the Microsoft System Restore feature to restore the operating system to an earlier point before the device driver failed. For more information, refer to the HP Notebook PCs - Using the Microsoft System Restore Feature support document.

If returning the operating system to earlier restore point does not work, continue to the next troubleshooting item.

Use the HP Recovery Manager

The HP Recovery Manager can help you return the operating system and notebook BIOS to the original versions that shipped from the factory. It is a more comprehensive restoration procedure, as well as a more time consuming one.

For information, see HP Notebook PCs - Recover Windows Vista Operating System Using HP Recovery .

Voice chat troubleshooting

For issues related to using a microphone with voice chat software, see the following:

Resolve microphone failure with voice chat software

There are many reasons why voice may not work over the Internet. These reasons often stem from the voice chat software that you are trying to use. Internet connections that use a proxy server or firewall typically do not work with such programs, unless they are specifically configured to bypass them. To bypass a proxy server or firewall in a voice chat program, consult the documentation or help files that came with it.

If the microphone can record sounds into the computer, then it is capable of working with software that carries voice over the Internet. Test the microphone to determine if it is functioning properly. If it is functioning properly, then the issue is probably a setting or capability in the chatting software. If it is not working, then use the other sections in this document to try to resolve the issue.

Microphone volume is inaudible with voice chat software

If the microphone volume on the computer is inaudible to the person you are communicating with using Internet voice chat software programs such as Skype and MSN Messenger, update the audio driver.

The specific instructions for updating the audio driver depend on your particular computer model, refer to the HP Notebook PCs - Locate and Install Updated BIOS, Drivers, and Software support document.

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