How To test A Surface Pro Microphone (4 easy steps)

The Surface Pro has become Microsoft’s flagship of portable computing technology, proving that the power of the laptop can have the flexibility of a tablet combined.

Microsoft has also implemented a built-in microphone in the device and, in this article, you can look at how to test the microphone and troubleshoot any issues you may encounter with it.

Can You Test a Surface Pro Microphone?

Testing the microphone requires accessing the Sound Settings from your Surface Pro’s system settings and performing a vocal test with the input device. You should also check that the programs have permission to access the microphone and speakers.

A blue bar should track the sound of your voice. If it doesn’t then your microphone may have an issue that needs to be resolved.

You can locate the built-in microphone by finding two small holes by the front-facing camera at the top of the device. 

A Step-by-step Guide to Test a Surface Pro Microphone

It’s always a good idea to check that the microphone on your Surface Pro is working correctly before you go to use the device to ensure you avoid any unwanted disappointment.

All you have to do is follow these simple steps below and you will be able to test whether you’re microphone is ready for action.

  1. Locate the Sound icon
      • Find the small speaker symbol next to where the time and date are located on the bottom right-hand side of the taskbar. This is the Sound icon, right-click it and proceed to the next step.
  2. Open Sound settings
      • After right-clicking the Sound icon you will see the option to ‘Open Sound Settings’. After selecting this option a pop-up will appear that shows the sound settings on your Surface Pro.
  3. Test your Microphone
      • Just below the soundbar, you will see a section labeled ‘Input’.
      • Here is where your Windows will show what microphone is currently set as your default, and will also give you the option to test this device.
      • How to do this differs only slightly depending on which version of Windows you are currently running, but with Windows 10 for example, you will see a bar with a blue line that automatically jumps around when you talk.
      • This confirms that your Surface Pro is picking up your voice.
      • If the bar is not moving while you talk into the microphone, find ‘Test your microphone’, and then click ‘Start’.
  4. Double-check your microphone is in working order
    After confirming that your Surfaces Pro’s microphone is performing correctly you need to make sure that your applications such as Skype or Microsoft Teams have been granted permission to use your microphone.

However, using this method to test your microphone only confirms that your Surface Pro is detecting the device, not the quality of the recording or whether there are any issues preventing functionality.

If you believe there may be a problem with your Surface Pro’s microphone, such as it not performing correctly in conjunction with a desired program, then don’t worry.

Read on to find out exactly why your microphone isn’t working and a multitude of ways to troubleshoot the issue.

7 Reasons Your Surface Pro Microphone Isn’t Working

Have you Accidentally Covered your Microphone?

Cases, covers, and screen protectors all form an essential package of caring well for your Surface Pro. They prevent your machine from accidental damage, dust, and dirt.

However, if they end up covering the two tiny holes that record sound then you will not have a functioning microphone.

As Microsoft states:

“Make sure nothing is obstructing the speaker and microphone openings on your Surface, including screen protectors or decals.”

Remember, the microphone is located at the top of the device. Two small holes identify its position by the top-facing camera.

Does Your Surface Pro Need a Restart?

Laptops can sometimes be a little glitchy. We all have our bad days, don’t we? When a device, such as Surface Pro, seems to be having a problem with its microphone then sometimes all it needs is a quick reboot.

Rebooting a laptop can fix all sorts of minor problems and it also helps maintain an efficient operating standard.

More often than not, users find that once the reboot is complete they have a working microphone once again.

Your Applications Do Not Have Access to your Microphone

When we use the microphone on our Surface Pro we’re also using an application.

Whether you’re using Skype, Teams, or Zoom, it is essential that those apps have been granted access to use your microphone.

If an app does not have access rights to use your microphone then the microphone will not work whilst you are using the program, which means no one will hear your opinion on Aunty Millie’s next holiday, or who should lead the business meeting in Viena either!

Follow these steps to ensure that your apps have access to your Surface Pro microphone:

  1. Open the taskbar by clicking the ‘Start/Windows’ icon on the left-hand side of your taskbar or press the Windows logo on your keyboard.
  2. Select ‘Settings’.
  3. Choose ‘Privacy’ and scroll down on the left-hand side to select ‘Microphone’ under the app permissions section.
  4. Click ‘Change’, or ‘allow applications access to the microphone’.
  5. From here you will have a list of applications. Make sure the application you are trying to use in conjunction with your microphone has been granted full access.

Is Your Surface Pro Microphone Not Set as Default?

A common issue that can interfere with your microphone’s ability to detect sound is when the microphone in question is not set as your default device.

It’s simple to ensure that your microphone on your Surface Pro is properly set up as default.

Follow these steps to make certain that it is:

  1. From the Start menu select ‘Settings’.
  2. Now choose ‘Sound’ and then open the Sound control panel.
  3. After selecting the ‘Playback’ tab you will want to choose the device for communications recording – in this case, the built-in microphone.
  4. Now choose to ‘Set Default Communication Device’.

Your Volume Settings are Incorrect on your Surface Pro

The first action to take when you are having issues with your microphone is to check the volume levels.

Sometimes, if your microphone malfunctioning it can simply be due to the fact your volume settings are too low.

There are several ways to configure your microphone volume settings on your Surface Pro:

  • Use the Volume button on your Surface Pro to increase the volume.
  • On your Surface Pro’s keyboard, you may have volume keys. Toggle the volume-up key in order to increase the volume levels.
  • Adjust the volume from the Control Panel.
  • Sometimes you will need to adjust the volume in the app you are running (Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom etc.).

Adjusting Volume with Control Panel

  1. Open ‘Control Panel’ and then click ‘Hardware and Sound’.
  2. Select ‘Sound’.
  3. Locate the ‘Recording’ tab on the pop-up screen.
  4. Once you have identified the microphone you are configuring simply right-click and select ‘Properties’.
  5. Using the adjustable slider increase the volume levels or type a number higher than the one presented in the text box adjacent.
  6. Once you’re satisfied with the increased volume click ‘OK’ to save your newly adjusted audio settings.

Alternatively, adjust the volume through the Start Menu by following these steps:

  1. Locate the Windows icon on the lower left-hand side of your screen in the taskbar.
  2. Click the logo then select ‘Settings’ then ‘Sound’.
  3. Ensure the correct microphone is selected in the drop-down menu.
  4. Under ‘Device Properties’, increase the adjustable slider bar in order to raise the volume of the microphone.

The Drivers on your Surface Pro Need an Update

If the drivers on your Surface Pro are outdated then it’s possible your microphone will start playing up.

Luckily, updating your drivers is a quick and painless procedure. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Locate and select the Windows Icon.
  2. Open ‘Device Manager’.
  3. Under the ‘Sound, Video and Gaming’ option, right-click on ‘Realtek High Definition Audio’.
  4. From here you can choose to ‘Update Driver Software’.
  5. Select ‘Search automatically for updated driver software’.

Remember, once the driver has been updated you will need to restart your Surface Pro.

Note: If after following these steps you receive an alert stating your driver is already up to date then you can be confident that the problem is occurring somewhere other than with your microphones drivers.

Please also read our article with easy tips to solve headphones not working on Microsoft Surface.

Background Noise is Interfering with your Microphone

Sometimes background noise can cause problems with the quality of your microphone recording.

Follows these steps to adjust the boost on your Surface Pro’s microphone settings:

  1. Open Start> Settings> Systems> Sound.
  2. On this screen scroll down to find ‘More sound settings’. Select this option.
  3. Locate the ‘Recording’ tab and ensure you have the correct microphone selected.
  4. Select ‘Properties’.
  5. Under the ‘Levels’ tab you will see two adjustable sliders. One will say ‘Microphone’, the other ‘Microphone Boost’.
  6. Try setting the Microphone volume to 50 and the Microphone boost to +24.0 dB. This is a good place to start, but if it does not work for you then you can continue to make further adjustments.
  • Note: not all Surface devices have this setting available.

Can You Use External Microphones with a Surface Pro?

It is entirely possible to use an external microphone with your Surface Pro.

If you have a preferred microphone, such as a gaming headset, then the only question you need to answer is whether it uses USB or Bluetooth to connect to a device.

  • If your microphone device has a 3.5mm jack then it is worth noting that you will need a USB adaptor to use that particular device. The Surface Pro does not have a native port to accommodate devices such as this.

Connecting via USB is Simple

  • If you have a USB headset with a microphone then it should be a case of just plugging it in and allowing it to be identified.
  • It may need to be set as the default device. The steps to do this can be found above in this article.

Using a Bluetooth External Microphone is a Breeze

  • To use an external microphone, such as those found on wireless headsets, is a simple case of just pairing your device via Bluetooth.
  • Headsets vary from model to model, but the procedure is the same:
        1. Just locate the pairing button on your headset and activate it.
        2. Ensure Bluetooth is active on your Surface Pro.
        3. Open up your Bluetooth settings and you should discover your headset is ready to pair.
        4. Choose to connect your headset with your Surface Pro and you will be able to use your microphone on your headset.
  • Remember, applications that use the microphone need to be granted permission.
    It may be that a new microphone will need to be given access. The instructions on how to do this can be found earlier in this article.


Troubleshoot Surface sound and audio accessories 

How to set up and test microphones in Windows

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Surface sound, volume, and audio accessories 

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