Microsoft Sound Recorder

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope

The Microsoft Sound Recorder is audio software included with Windows Vista and earlier that allows you to record your voice, make a note, or any other recording using a microphone.

Tip: With the introduction of Windows 8 and Windows 10 the Sound Recorder has been replaced by the Voice Recorder app.

About sound recorder

Sound Recorder, as shown below, is an audio application that allows the user to listen and record WAV files.

Microsoft Sound Recorder
Windows 98 Sound Recorder

Sound Recorder is accessed in Windows 95 by clicking on Start, Programs, Accessories, Multimedia, and clicking on Sound Recorder. Sound Recorder is accessed in Windows 98 and above by clicking on Start, Programs, Accessories, Entertainment, and clicking on Sound Recorder.

You also the option to manually run the file by clicking Start, Run, type sndrec32 and press enter.

Sound Recorder setup

The following contains information on how to install, uninstall, and reinstall Sound Recorder.

  1. Click Start, Settings, Control Panel, and double-click on Add Remove Programs icon
  2. Click the Windows Setup tab
  3. Highlight Multimedia, click the details button.
  4. Once within Multimedia:
  • Check the box for Sound Recorder, click ok, and then apply to install.
  • Uncheck the box, click ok, and then apply to uninstall.
  • Uncheck the box, click ok, and then apply; go back in and recheck the box, click ok and then apply to reinstall.


How can I record a 60+ second sound file

Unfortunately, there is no known way to change the sound recorder to record longer than 60 seconds. The reason for this is because the sound recorder uses a low compression ratio; therefore, the files are great quality but are also extremely big. The best way that we have discovered to kind of bypass this is to hit record and just record dead air, and once stopped to hit record again and keep repeating the process; then when you have reached an ample time rewind and hit record and begin recording.

The alternative to this solution would be to get an application designed to record sound files at a good compression ratio such as Audacity.

Receive error sound device is not installed

When trying to play a sound .wav file you receive the following error message: "Sound Recorder cannot record or play back because a sound device is not installed."

Click on Start / Run and type system.ini, this should get you into the system notepad. In the [boot] section add the below line.


If this line is present but has a semicolon (;) in front of the line, remove the semicolon; or if this line is present but has something else written besides the above line, put a space and after what is being loaded and then add MMSYSTEM.DLL.

Microphone is not recording any sounds

If when trying to record and when talking into the microphone you do not see the status indicator line moving and you are not able to record anything, verify the below recommendations.

  • Verify the microphone is hooked into the correct place (line out or mic) in your sound card.
  • If the microphone uses batteries then in sure the battery is a known good battery.
  • Verify settings set properly by clicking Start, Settings, Control panel and go to multimedia; make sure that the correct recording and playback device are correct.
  • After all the above, try reinstalling your sound card or refer to our microphone and sound card troubleshooting sections.