There are two basic types of microphones for use on a personal computer. Internal microphones are typically either part of an on-board video camera, or built directly into the bezel (frame) of a monitor or laptop LCD screen. External microphones are independent of the main computer hardware, and plug directly into a port on the computer. External microphones can plug into USB ports or special microphone input jacks. It's easy to change your computer settings to recognise an external microphone instead of a built-in mic as the main voice input device.
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Turn off your computer. If you plug in your external mic while the computer is still on, Windows might not begin the device driver search automatically.
Plug the mic into the appropriate port. If it is a USB mic, plug it into a free USB port or USB hub. If it is a standard microphone plug, push it into the microphone jack on the sound card's external interface on the computer. Ensure that you do not plug it into the headphone jack, which is often identical to the microphone jack and right next to it on the sound card. Typically the microphone jack will have a small graphic of a microphone next to or above it.
Install the microphone driver. Turn your computer back on and wait for Windows to load and start up with the microphone plugged in. Windows automatically should detect the new hardware (your microphone) and begin the process of installing the appropriate driver. If the microphone came with its own driver software, insert the CD into your computer's CD-ROM or DVD drive and follow the on-screen instructions to install it at this time.
Set the external microphone as the default voice input device. Click on the "Start" button, then click on "Control Panel" to open the Windows control panel. Double-click on the "Sounds and Audio Devices" icon, and click on the "Voice" tab in the box that opens. Select your external microphone from the drop-down menu under "Voice Recording." Click "OK." Your external microphone now will override the built-in microphone as your computer's default voice input device.
Tips and warnings
- If Windows does not automatically add the device driver for your external microphone, double-click on the "Add New Hardware" icon in the control panel and follow the on-screen instructions for adding your external microphone.
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