Windows 10 Microphone Icon

These days, Windows 10 users often need to juggle several microphones—there might be one built into a PC, one on a webcam, on a headset, and perhaps a podcasting microphone. With so many to choose from, here’s how to tell Windows which microphone to use by default.

You Can Also Set a Default Microphone In Some Apps

Before we begin, it’s worth noting that in some apps (such as Zoom, for example) you can select your microphone device within the app, and that choice will function independently of the Windows system sound settings.

You can also assign which microphone you’d like to use on an app-by-app basis using a buried menu in Settings. But if you’d like to set your default microphone system-wide, follow the steps below. Every app that uses the default Windows microphone—that’s the default option for most apps—will use it.

RELATED: How to Set Per-App Sound Outputs in Windows 10

How to Choose Your Default Microphone Using Settings

You can easily select your default microphone in Settings. First, open “Settings” by clicking the “Start” menu and selecting the gear icon on the left. You can also press Windows+i to quickly open it.

Alternatively, you can also right-click the speaker icon in the system tray at the right side of your taskbar and select “Open Sound Settings.” Windows will open the “Sound Settings” screen.

In the Windows 10 Start Menu, click the "gear" icon to open Settings.

In the “Settings” window, click “System.”

In Windows 10 Settings, click "System."

On the “System” screen, click “Sound” from the sidebar menu.

In Settings on Windows 10, click "Sound."

Scroll down to the “Input” section on the “Sound” screen. In the drop-down menu labeled “Choose your input device,” select the microphone you’d like to use as your default device.

In Windows 10 Sound settings, select an input device from the drop-down menu.

Once you’ve selected a device from the drop-down menu, Windows will use that device as your default microphone. After that, close “Settings,” and you’re ready to go.

How to Choose Your Default Microphone Using the Control Panel

You can also set your default microphone using the classic Control Panel. You can access it using the speaker icon in your system tray, which is located on the far side of your taskbar opposite the Start menu.

Right-click the speaker icon in the system tray and select “Sounds” from the menu that pops up.

Right click the taskbar and select "Sounds."

In the “Sound” window that appears, click the “Recording” tab.

In Windows 10, click the "Recording" tab in the "Sound" window.

Next, you’ll see a list of recording devices recognized by your system, which includes microphones. Select the microphone you’d like to use as default from the list and click the “Set Default” button.

In Windows 10, click the microphone in the list and click the "Set Default" button.

After that, the microphone you’ve selected will have a green checkmark beside it in the list, showing that it is set as your default recording device. The listing will also include the words “Default Device.”

In Windows 10, a green check mark beside the microphone icon means it is the default device.

Click “OK,” and the “Sound” window will close. If you ever need to change your default microphone again, just select “Sounds” from the speaker icon in the system tray.

Good luck with your new podcast!

Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a Staff Writer for How-To Geek. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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