To record audio or talk to people on the internet, you’ll have to turn on your Windows 10 or 11 PC’s built-in microphone (if it has one). You can activate it for all your apps or specific ones using Settings. We’ll show you how to do that.

The good thing about Windows’ mic management is that you can allow and deny access to your mic to any app. This way, you can let your trusted apps use the mic while denying access to all other apps.

RELATED: How to See Which Apps Are Using Your Microphone on Windows 10

Enable Microphone Access on Windows 10

To start using your mic on Windows 10, first, launch the Settings app by pressing Windows+i.

In Settings, select “Privacy.”

From the “Privacy” sidebar on the left, select “Microphone.”

Choose "Microphone" from the left sidebar.

On the right pane, in the “Allow Access to the Microphone on This Device” section, click the “Change” button. Then turn on the toggle that opens.

Select "Change" and turn on the toggle.

You’ve successfully enabled the mic on your PC.

Note: If you find your PC doesn’t have a built-in mic, consider connecting an external microphone.

To let your installed apps use your mic, in the “Allow Apps to Access Your Microphone” section, toggle on the button.

Enable the toggle to give mic access to apps.

If you’d like to manage mic settings on a per-app basis for the apps installed from Microsoft Store, use the “Choose Which Microsoft Store Apps Can Access Your Microphone” section.

Grant or deny mic access to Microsoft Store apps.

Similarly, to allow your non-Microsoft Store apps to use your mic, use the “Allow Desktop Apps to Access Your Microphone” section.

Manage mic settings for desktop apps.

And that’s how you enable and use your Windows 10 PC’s built-in microphone. Enjoy!

RELATED: How to Set Up and Test Microphones in Windows 10

Activate Microphone on Windows 11

To enable the microphone on Windows 11, first, open Settings by pressing Windows+i.

In Settings, from the left sidebar, select “Privacy & Security.”

On the right pane, in the “App Permissions” section, click “Microphone.”

Select "Microphone" on the right pane.

At the top of the “Microphone” page, enable the “Microphone Access” option. Your mic is now ready to use.

Turn on "Microphone Access."

To let both Microsoft Store and non-Store apps use your mic, toggle on the “Let Apps Access Your Microphone” option.

On the same page, use the toggles next to your apps to allow or deny access to the mic on a per-app basis.

Change mic settings on a per-app basis.

You’re all set.

The 8 Best USB Microphones of 2022

Best Overall
Blue Yeti
Best Mid-Range Pick
Blue Snowball
Best Budget Option
Fifine K669B
Best Premium
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+
Best Ultra-Premium
Blue Yeti Pro
Small and Powerful
Razer Seiren X
Best for Streamers
Elgato Wave 3
Versatile
Audio-Technica AT2005USB

Record Audio on Your Windows PC

After you’ve turned on the microphone, you may want to test it or record audio with it. You can do this using the built-in Voice Recorder app.

Get started by launching the Voice Recorder app on your PC. You can open this app by accessing the “Start” menu, searching for “Voice Recorder”, and selecting the app in the search results.

Launch the Voice Recorder app.

When the app opens, in the lower-left corner, click the mic icon to begin a new audio recording.

When you’ve finished recording, click the large stop button to stop the recording. This saves your recorded audio as a file in the app.

You’ll find all your voice recordings in the app’s left sidebar.

Voice Recorder's saved recordings.

And that’s how you activate as well as make use of the microphone on your Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs. Happy recording!


On a related note, you may want to change your mic’s volume or reduce the microphone background noise for better sound quality. Check out our guides to learn how to optimize those settings.

RELATED: How to Reduce Microphone Background Noise on a PC

Profile Photo for Mahesh Makvana Mahesh Makvana
Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who specializes in writing how-to guides. He has been writing tech tutorials for over a decade now. He’s written for some of the prominent tech sites including MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and Online Tech Tips.
Read Full Bio »