All laptops come with a built-in microphone and support external microphones, while desktop computers only work with external microphones. Unlike speakers or headphones, a standalone mic isn’t as easy to set up. On paper, they’re plug & play, but generic mics are often incompatible with newer audio drivers, hardware, or the latest Windows 10 updates.

Setting them up takes time, so if you’re trying to use a generic or branded mic with your Windows 10 system and the wizard couldn’t start the microphone, or if you’re unable to set it up through the built-in assistant, there are a few simple solutions you can try.

The wizard could not start the microphone: check the basics!

Microphones are a bit of a hassle to set up on a Windows 10 desktop, but you’ll find that most mics that connect through an audio jack will easily work with a phone. Try connecting your mic to a smartphone and see if it’s detected. Try to connect it to other devices to see if it works.

If the mic has physical volume controls or its own on / off switch, make sure it’s on. If you connect it through the audio jack, try connecting another device and see if it works. Otherwise, you might have a problem with the audio jack itself.

The wizard could not start – THE FIXES

1. Check access to the microphone

If you’re using an external mic, it might not have been enabled in Windows 10.

  1. Open the Applying settings.
  2. Go to Privacy group of parameters.
  3. Click on Microphone.
  4. Make sure you see the message ‘Microphone access for this device is enabled’ message. If you don’t, click Edit and enable access.
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2. Run the audio recording troubleshooter

If your microphone is not working or configuring, run the Audio Recording Troubleshooter.

  1. Open the Applying settings.
  2. Go to Update and security group of parameters.
  3. To select Troubleshoot.
  4. Click on Additional convenience stores.
  5. Select the Audio recording troubleshooting.
  6. Apply any patch it recommends, and restart the system if prompted.

3. Check the audio manager

Some systems, especially those sold by Dell and HP, have an audio management application installed by default. These applications can prevent the microphone from working.

  1. Open the audio management application installed by your system manufacturer.
  2. Go to audio input or microphone tab.
  3. Make sure the the microphone is on.

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4. Check the microphone volume level

A microphone, like speakers, has its own volume level. If the volume level is set to zero, the microphone may appear to be working, but it will not detect any audio input.

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Go to Hardware and sound.
  3. Click on Ring.
  4. Go to Recording tab.
  5. Double click on the microphone to open its properties.
  6. Go to levels tab.
  7. Make sure the The ‘Microphone’ level is not set to zero, and it is not set too low.

5. Activate the microphone

A device can be connected to your system and be disabled at the same time. This will prevent it from appearing in apps and your system will not be able to detect it at all.

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Go to Hardware and sound.
  3. Click on Ring.
  4. Go to Recording tab.
  5. Right click in an empty area, and select “Show disconnected devices” and “Show deactivated devices”.
  6. If your mic appears, right click on it and set it as the default device.

6. Uninstall and reinstall the device

A problem installing the device when it is first connected to your system may prevent it from functioning and being configured. Uninstalling and reinstalling it will often resolve any errors that might have occurred during the first installation.

  1. Open the device manager.
  2. Expand the Group of audio inputs and outputs of devices.
  3. Right click on your microphone and select Uninstall the device.
  4. Once the device has been uninstalled, unplug the microphone (if it is an external) and connect it again. If it is an internal microphone, restart the system.
  5. Windows 10 will automatically detect the new hardware and install the corresponding drivers.

7. Check for audio driver updates

An audio driver update may be required for the microphone to work.

  1. Open the Device Manager.
  2. Expand the Group of audio inputs and outputs of devices.
  3. Right click on the microphone and select Update Drivers.
  4. Install all updates found and restart the system.

8. Install proprietary audio applications

If you are using a branded microphone, you might need a proprietary app to operate and configure it.

  1. Visit your website microphone maker and find the apps that match your model.
  2. Install the app.
  3. Connect the microphone to your system and launch the app.
  4. Allow him to detect and configure the microphone.

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9. Use an audio jack to USB adapter

There may be a problem with the audio jack. The problem could be a hardware or software issue, but in a pinch, you can buy an inexpensive audio jack to USB adapter and connect the mic to a USB port. Chances are the mic will appear and you can use it. Check out our guide on using a converter.


Microphones are complicated to set up although most use the same audio jack as speakers and headphones.

Windows 10 didn’t really make setting them up that much easier, which is why the process of setting up and running a mic is often long, but these solutions will make setting up your device and using it fairly easy.

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