In Windows 10, you can easily enable or disable the microphone as and when needed for better privacy and security. Here's how to do it.
If the microphone is plugged into your Windows 10 system or if you are using a microphone enabled laptop, almost any app in Windows 10 can access that microphone without much difficulty. When the microphone is in use, you will see a little microphone icon on the taskbar. However, most Windows users like to completely disable the microphone when they are not actively using it to record or talk.
In this quick guide, I will show a few ways to quickly and properly disable the microphone in Windows 10 when not in use. And, ways to enable it back to record or talk.
Windows offers several different ways to disable the microphone. Depending on your use case, follow the method of your choice.
Method #1: Turn On or Off Microphone from Windows 10 Settings App
The Windows 10 Settings app has a dedicated option to quickly enable or disable the microphone. All you have to do is toggle a switch.
- Press Win + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.
- Go to the "Privacy → Microphone" page.
- On the right page, click on the "Change" button under the "Allow access to the microphone on this device" section.
- Toggle the switch to "Off" position.
That is all. Once you turn off Microphone access, all Windows Store apps and most desktop apps will be unable to access the microphone. If you want to restrict specific apps like Cortana from accessing the microphone, scroll down on the right page, and turn off the option next to the app you want to restrict.
To enable the microphone functionality, toggle the switch to turn on the option.
Method #2: Disable Microphone from Device Manager
If you don't want any application whether its win32 or UWP to access the microphone, you can disable the microphone device from the Device Manager. This ensures complete microphone privacy.
- Press Win + R to open the Run dialog box.
- Type "devmgmt.msc" and press Enter to open Device Manager.
- Expand the "Audio Inputs and Outputs" section.
- Right-click on the microphone device and select the "Disable device" option.
As soon as you do that, the microphone device will be disabled. As such, no application can access the microphone.
To enable the microphone device, follow the same steps but select the "Enable device" option in step 4.
Method #3: Turn On or Off Microphone from Recording Sound Options
As an alternative, you can also disable the microphone from the Windows 10 sound control panel.
- On the taskbar, right-click on the Speaker icon.
- Select the "Open Sound Settings" option.
- In the Settings app, scroll down and click on the "Sound Control Panel" link.
- (Alternative) You can also open the same using "control mmsys.cpl sounds" Run command.
- Go to the "Recording" tab.
- Right-click on Microphone and select "Disable"
That is it. This will disable the microphone device from the Sound control panel. Just like with the Device Manager method, no application can access the microphone once it is disabled via the Sound Control Panel.
To enable it back, follow the same steps but select "Enable" in step 5.
Enabling and disabling a microphone in Windows 10 is nothing hard. If you are looking to completely disable the microphone and restrict all applications from accessing it then follow the second and third methods. If you want to quickly enable and disable the recording device then follow the first method.
I hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.