How to fix a Realtek microphone that is not working?

Tim Vickers

Your Realtek microphone not working on Windows 10 can be a huge inconvenience, especially if you have a crucial virtual meeting. But worry not! This is a reasonably common issue, and it is usually relatively easy to fix. 

One of the best solutions for fixing the Realtek microphone issue on windows 10 is to run a sound system troubleshooter. 

The troubleshooting function checks for several issues affecting your microphone and performs automatic fixes. If not, it will recommend various solutions that you might try to solve the issue. 

Below, we will take an in-depth look at the Realtek microphone not working issue and how you can quickly fix it with the troubleshooter.

We will also offer several more solutions that you can try should the issue persist. 

What causes the Realtek microphone to stop working on Windows 10?

Before looking at solutions, let’s first understand why the Realtek microphone malfunctions on Windows 10. There are several reasons why the device might fail, which include:

  • The microphone is not connected correctly or disabled
  • If the microphone is muted or on low volume 
  • The audio driver is outdated, corrupted, missing, incompatible with the OS, or not installed properly 
  • If the audio device port or the Realtek microphone is corrupted or not working 
  • Compatibility issues caused by audio enhancement applications/software
  • If the microphone is disabled for the specific application, you are using
  • Outdated Windows OS or corrupted system files 

Top solutions for a Realtek microphone that is not working 

Below is a look at some of the top solutions you can use when your Realtek microphone is not working on Windows 10. 

1. Make sure your microphone is set as the default audio input device 

Image: Jason Rosewell

If you use more than one microphone on your Windows 10 PC, you will likely discover one of them not working when you switch between them.

This is because Windows sets one of them as the default recording device, meaning that the rest won’t work. 

So, for example, if you usually use the inbuilt Realtek microphone, you will find that your external headset mic is not working on Windows and vice versa. 

Luckily, the situation is easily fixed by setting the microphone you want to use as the default recording device. To do this:

  • Go to Settings > System > Sound 
  • Scroll down to input and select your microphone from the drop-down list in the “Choose your input device” section 

Once your microphone is set as the default device, you will have no issues using it. When you switch to another microphone, follow the same process to set it up as the default mic. 

2. Troubleshoot your microphone 

Using the windows troubleshooter helps fix most of the problems you are likely to experience with a Realtek mic. For example, it can fix missing or corrupted drivers, disabled mic, microphone not being default device, etc. 

To run the troubleshooter, go to Settings > System > Sound. Then, scroll down to the input section and find the “Troubleshoot” button under the microphone icon.

The troubleshooter will run and perform the necessary fixes automatically. 

3. Test and modify your Realtek microphone volume

Is the troubleshooter showing that your mic is working, but you can’t still record or hear yourself during a call? Chances are your Realtek microphone volume is too low. 

At such low volumes, the mic will not pick up substantial sound, thus making it appear as if it is not working. 

To adjust the microphone volume:

  • Go to Settings > System > Sound 
  • Click on Input under device properties
  • Go to the device you are using and make sure the “Disable” box is unchecked
  • Increase the volume of the microphone

After adjusting the volume, test your microphone. If the sound is still low, increase the volume till you reach the desired audio levels. 

4. Modify your microphone privacy settings 

Windows 10 has a Microphone privacy settings feature to enable or disable your mic for specific apps. Unfortunately, the mic might be disabled by default for some of these apps. 

It could also be that you inadvertently disabled the microphone when installing the app you are using or when messing around with some settings on your PC. 

Luckily, the problem is easy to fix. To resolve the issue:

  • Go to Settings > System > Sound on your PC
  • Check for “Related Settings” (right-hand corner of the screen) and select “Microphone privacy settings.” 
  • Make sure your PC is set “On” under “Allow apps to access your microphone.” 
  • Scroll down to the list of apps and make sure the one you are using is set “On” for access to the microphone

5. Disable audio enhancement applications 

Audio enhancement issues can be great for boosting the input and output sounds on your Windows 10 PC. However, installing them might cause compatibility issues, thus disabling your Realtek Microphone. 

To resolve the issue, disable any audio enhancement applications you have. Next, test your microphone after disabling each application to determine the one causing compatibility issues. 

Once you identify the problematic enhancement(s), disable or remove it from your PC. 

6. Remove and reinstall your Realtek microphone drivers

Realtek Microphone drivers

Your Realtek audio driver might be disabled, corrupted, or experiencing temporary glitches.

As a result, your mic’s functionality might be affected, causing it not to work. However, removing and reinstalling the driver can get rid of the issue. 

To uninstall the driver:

  • Go to device manager on your PC (Right-click on the My PC icon on the desktop and select “manage”)
  • Go to “Audio inputs and outputs” and click on the “>” to reveal all the drivers
  • Locate the microphone driver (with the mic icon) and right-click on it
  • Select “Uninstall device” from the list of options to remove the drivers
  • Restart your PC to complete the uninstallation. Your PC will also reinstall the driver afresh when starting, thus fixing any glitches or corrupted files. 

7. Update your Realtek microphone driver

Did removing and reinstalling the audio driver did not work? Chances are the driver is out of date, hence why the microphone is not working.

In this case, you will need to update the driver to the latest version. 

To update:

  • Go to device manager on your PC (right-click on My PC icon on the desktop and select “manage”)
  • Go to “Audio inputs and outputs” and click on the “>” to reveal all the drivers
  • Locate the microphone driver (with the mic icon) and right-click on it
  • Click on the “Update driver” option and select “Search automatically for updated driver software” in the window that pops up. Make sure your PC is connected to the internet to enable Windows to search for drivers online.
  • Allow the search to complete and download and install the recommended driver. 
  • Alternatively, you can opt to search for the up-to-date driver manually on your PC if you have already downloaded it. 

8. Update your OS to the latest version 

If your OS is not up to date, your PC might experience functionality issues that can affect various devices, including the microphone. Updating the OS will likely fix these issues, allowing your microphone to work. 

To update your OS, go to the settings menu on your PC and select “Update & Security”. Next, download any pending updates and restart your PC to allow them to install completely. Then, you can check to see if your microphone is working. 

The above solutions can help you fix your Realtek microphone when it stops working on your Windows 10 PC. The solutions are easy to apply, and you can have your microphone device working again in just a few minutes. 

However, if the trouble persists, you might have to try more advanced measures such as performing a system restore. 

If the restore does not work, you can download new audio drivers and microphones or even use an external microphone. In extreme cases, you can reset your PC or install a new operating system. 

If these don’t work, you should have your PC checked by a technician, as the issue could be hardware-related. 

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