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Resolving Microphone Problems (Windows Vista)

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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.

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.
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. When using the internal microphone, choose an environment without background noise.
  2. Click Start , type 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 plays back, your microphone is working. Otherwise, go to the next section of this document.
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.
    If the microphone does not work properly on another computer or on a tape recorder, try using a different microphone.
    If the microphone does work properly on another computer or on a tape recorder, plug the external microphone back into the microphone port of the non-working computer and continue testing.
  2. Click Start , type 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 microphone successfully records and plays back the recording, your microphone is working properly. Otherwise, continue to the next section.
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 , type 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 , type recovery manager into the search field, and then select Recovery Manager from the list. If prompted, allow the action to continue.
  5. On the Welcome to the Recovery Manager window, click the Next button
  6. On the Software Program Re-installation window, select No , and then click the Next button.
  7. On the Hardware Driver Re-installation window, select Yes , and then click the Next button.
  8. On the Welcome to the hardware driver reinstaller window, click the Next button.
  9. On the Select a driver to reinstall window, select the audio driver for your computer, and then click the Next button.
  10. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the audio driver reinstallation.
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.
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.
If you are using Windows Vista, Microsoft has provided a Fix It diagnostic tool to help you troubleshoot and fix common audio recording problems.
For more information, see Troubleshoot audio-recording problems on the Microsoft website.

Additional troubleshooting

If, after performing basic troubleshooting, the microphone still does not work, try the following:
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.
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.
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.
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 , type 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.
After you have tested the hardware, 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 , type device in the search field, and then select Device Manager from the list. If prompted, allow 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.
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 Obtaining Software and Drivers support document.
If installing updated device drivers does not work, go to the next troubleshooting item.
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 Using Microsoft System Restore (Windows Vista) support document.
If returning the operating system to earlier restore point does not work, continue to the next troubleshooting item.
The HP Recovery Manager can help you return the operating system to the original version that shipped from the factory. It is a more comprehensive restoration procedure, as well as a more time consuming one.

Voice chat troubleshooting

For issues related to using a microphone with voice chat software, see the following:
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 your software.
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.
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.
For complete information on updating the drivers depend on your particular computer model, refer to the Obtaining Software and Drivers support document.
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