How do I determine if my computer has a microphone?

Computer microphone When referring to computer microphones, they generally come in two varieties: they can be external or internal. The following sections describe both, as well as how to detect these devices using software.

External microphones

External microphones are peripherals that are usually purchased separately and plug into the computer. Essentially, if you do not have a microphone attached to your sound card, you do not have an external mic. The sound card is located on the back of your machine; it's also where you connect external speakers.

Internal microphones

Internal microphones can be seen as a few small holes under the bezel of your computer monitor or somewhere on the body of your laptop. Although the hole(s) for the microphone may be difficult to see, they usually have a small graphic of a microphone or the word "Mic" indicating their location.

Tip: Many webcams have microphones built into them that may be used separately from the camera.

Locating a microphone using software

Whether your microphone is internal or external, it shows in your devices. For users with Microsoft Windows, following the steps below helps you determine whether or not you have a microphone, as well as some details about the device.

Using the Windows Key Shortcut

  1. Press Windows Key + Pause.
  2. In the window that appears, select Device Manager.
  3. Click the Arrow next to Sound, video and game controllers.
  4. Your microphone (if you have one) is in the list that appears.

Using the Windows Search Box

  1. Click the Start Button in the lower left-hand corner of your screen; or navigate to the Start Screen (Windows 8).
  2. Locate the Search Box in the lower left-hand corner of the window that appears; Windows 8 users may just start typing.
  3. Type System Information and press Enter.
  4. Click the + sign next to Components, then Sound Device.
  5. Your microphone (if you have one) is listed in the box on the right.

Where do I buy a microphone?

Almost every local computer store or electronics store carries a microphone that is compatible with your machine. If you have determined that your computer did not come with a microphone, visit a retail store or online store to purchase one.

Additional information