The Wizard Could Not Start Microphone in Windows 10/11

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

If you’re setting up your microphone through Ease of Access or Speech Recognition in the Windows 11 or Windows 10 control panel and you see an error that says “The Wizard could not start microphone,” know that it’s a quite common problem. This message tells you to check that your audio hardware is working properly and to look at your audio settings in the Audio Devices and Sound Themes control panel.

This kind of issue often pop up after a big Windows update that could mess up the hardware drivers on your computer or cause new features to conflict with your devices.

The Wizard Could Not Start Microphone Windows 10/11

How to fix “The Wizard could not start microphone” error

If you’re experiencing the “Wizard could not start microphone” error in Windows 10/11, try these solutions to troubleshoot the problem and get your microphone working properly again.

Check microphone privacy settings

In many cases, this error occurs because the microphone is disabled in the Windows privacy settings. Here’s how to check and enable the appropriate settings:

For Windows 10:

  • Press Win+i to open the Settings app.
  • Select “Privacy”.
  • From the left pane, select “Microphone”.
  • On the right pane under “Allow apps to access your Microphone,” make sure the toggle is set to On.
  • Retry the speech setup and see if the error persists.

Allow apps to access your microphone

For Windows 11:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Navigate to Privacy & Security > Microphone.
  • Ensure both the “Microphone access” and “Let apps access your microphone” options are turned On.
  • Tip: From here, you can configure which apps can access your microphone using the toggles.

The wizard could not start Microphone error

Update or reinstall the microphone’s driver

When there is a new Windows update, devices such as the microphone could become incompatible with the latest update and, thus, need a driver update. If you know how to search for or where to download the microphone’s driver, download and install it and see if it fixes the problem.

If you don’t know if your microphone’s driver is updated or even working, try to uninstall it and run Windows Update again to let Windows install the latest driver for you. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to start menu / Windows Search.
  2. Search for Device Manager and open it.
  3. In Device Manager, expand Audio inputs and outputs.
  4. Right-click your microphone and click on “Update driver.”Update microphone driver
  5. If an update is installed, try setting up your microphone again and see if it works.
  6. If no update was installed, right-click it again and select “Uninstall device.”
  7. Restart your PC. Windows should automatically find the best driver from Microsoft’s drivers repository and install it for your microphone.

Update your sound card driver

This is the workaround that actually solved my issue with the “Wizard could not start microphone” error in Windows 11/10. Whether you are using a specific sound card or the built-in sound controllers on your motherboard, you will need to make sure they are updated and working as intended. A sound card is a device that allows communication between your microphone and your computer. If it stops working, neither your speaker nor your microphone would work.

To update your sound card driver via Device Manager, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Device Manager as shown in the steps above.
  2. Expand Sound, video, and game controllers.
  3. Right-click the sound driver you are currently using and select Update Driver.
  4. Select Search automatically for updated driver software. Windows will automatically search for and download the latest compatible sound driver for your device.

update sound card

In most cases, we use Realtek High Definition Audio. For some people who use specific sound cards, it will be otherwise, such as Nvidia High Definition Audio or USB Audio Device. If you are not sure which driver you are using, right-click each one of them and update all of them.

If updating or reinstalling the driver doesn’t work, or if you don’t see your microphone or your sound card driver from the list in device manager, try the next solution.

Move the microphone plug from front jack to rear jack or vice versa

Try to reinsert the microphone jack first to make sure it’s not because of a loose connection of the jack. If it doesn’t work, try to move the microphone plug from front to rear jack or vice versa if your microphone was using the rear jack. Then, try to set up the microphone again.

Check if your preferred Microphone is enabled and set as default

Windows update will sometimes cause conflicts between hardware, especially when you have multiple devices of the same type. For example, if you have more than one microphone (which often happens in laptops since most of them have a built-in microphone), Windows will sometimes be unable to identify which one to use.

Enable microphone in sound setting

To check if your microphone is selected, enabled, and set as default, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the start menu and search for Sound.
  2. Go to the Recording tab.
  3. Right-click on your preferred microphone and select “Enable.”
  4. While it’s selected, click “Set as default” at the bottom.
  5. Go ahead and set up your microphone again.

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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