How to Mute or Turn Off the Microphone in Windows 10
Today, surveillance techniques exist that can activate your webcam or microphone without your knowledge. That makes any interface device like a microphone or a webcam a big privacy concern. Therefore, you need to disable the microphone on Windows 10 altogether.
The tried-and-true hack of using tape works for webcams, but not for microphones. However, this technique will not work if someone has deployed a RAT to subvert your machine.
Disabling or muting the microphone has other everyday uses beyond privacy. For instance, to block it from picking up any noise at all while trying to record something. Also, it could be a security block against websites that ask permission to use your microphone or camera.
So, let’s see how to disable or mute the microphone in Windows 10.
Disable the Microphone in Windows 10
There are a few several ways to mute the microphone in Windows 10 from different settings locations. Let’s take a look at them.
1. Use the Device Manager
Right-click on the Start Button and open Device Manager.
In the Device Manager window, expand the Audio inputs and outputs section and you will see your Microphone listed there as one of the interfaces. Right click on Microphone and select Disable.
A dialog box will prompt with a warning. Click on Yes, and now your mic will not function. You can follow the same steps to Enable it again.
This straightforward method also works in Windows 8 and 7.
2. Use Device Properties
Accessing the device properties of the microphone and selecting the right setting will take you no more than five seconds. Most of the properties now can be found under the Settings app.
You can access the Device Properties in two ways.
- Click on Start > Settings > System > Sound.
- Right-click on the Speaker icon in the System tray. Choose Open Sound settings.
The Sound dialog has a section for your input devices. Scroll down to the section and choose your microphone input from the dropdown.
Click on Device properties.
In the next screen for device properties, click on the checkbox to Disable the mic. Now, Windows 10 and other apps will no longer be able to the microphone.
3. Use Control Panel and Additional Device Properties
Most of the sound properties have been ported to the Settings app in Windows 10. But you can also click the Additional device properties link in the above screen to open a few advanced microphone settings provided under the Control Panel. You will find everything on four tabs.
- General: Enable or disable the microphone and access the driver details.
- Listen: Allow or deny the use of the microphone jack to connect to a portable speaker or other audio devices. You can set the power options here.
- Levels: Adjust the volume and boost settings for the microphone. You can mute the microphone too.
- Advanced: Customize the sampling rate and set control permissions for devices that use the microphone.
4. Go to Manage Sound Devices
The Manage Sound Devices screen in Windows 10 is a list of all your input and output audio setups. These can be headphones, Bluetooth devices, or anything like the in-built microphone.
The Manage sound devices link is located just below Device properties. Clicking on it takes you to the next screen with the list of input and output devices.
Locate Microphone on the list and click on it to reveal the Disable button. Use this button to disable or enable the microphone.
5. Mute the Microphone in Specific Apps
So far we have looked at steps that turn off the microphone across the whole system. The Privacy settings for Windows 10 also enable you to control microphone access for individual apps.
- Open the Settings app.
- Choose Privacy. Select Microphone under App permission from the list on the left.
- Turn off or on Allow app to access your microphone.
You can keep this setting enabled, but toggle the button to off for the apps in the list which use the microphone. Microsoft warns that an app with a driver could bypass the ability of Windows to control the access by interacting directly with your camera or microphone hardware.
If you are worried about your privacy, it’s better to disable these apps or control its permissions if possible.
Keep Tabs on Your Microphone
Stay aware of your microphone use with the notification icon in the taskbar. Go through the above steps if the icon appears when you aren’t using the mic in any app.
Your microphone is a necessary remote work tool. But a hot mic can be an embarrassment as well as it can transmit your goof ups. The microphone in Windows machines does not come with a handy mute button as it does for the PC speakers. You have to rely on the mute microphone button on individual apps for that.
That said, the mic is an essential remote work tool. Stay aware of the way you use it and also keep it running with a few troubleshooting fixes for a faulty microphone in Windows 10 .
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