When you try to configure your microphone via Ease of Access or Speech Recognition from Windows 10 Control Panel all of a sudden it shows that the Assistant could not start the microphone in Windows 10 with a description that says “Make sure your audio hardware is working properly and check your audio settings in the Audio Devices and Sound Topics control panel.”
The problem can sometimes occur after a major Windows 10 update where there is a high probability that the hardware drivers on your computer will get messed up by the update or new features that were introduced causing a conflict between these devices.
I have listed several solutions below, including the one that fixed mine, to help you fix your microphone problem, particularly the Assistant could not start the microphone on Windows 10 error.
Solution: The wizard was unable to start the Windows 10 microphone
Check microphone privacy
In most cases, when this error appears, it is because the microphone was disabled in Windows 10 privacy settings. Here’s how to check if you have the settings enabled.
In Windows 10, press the key Win + i to open the application Setting . Choose Privacy . From the left panel, select Microphone . In the right pane under Allow apps to access the microphone, make sure it is toggled on and ready to be activated. Please try the voice settings again and see if the wizard was unable to start the microphone. The Windows 10 error will still appear.
Update or reinstall the microphone driver
When there is a new Windows update, devices like the microphone may be incompatible with the latest update and therefore need a driver update. If you know how to find or where to download the microphone driver, download and install it and see if it fixes the problem.
If you don’t know if your microphone driver is up to date or even works, try uninstalling it and running Windows Update again to allow Windows to install the latest driver for you. Here we’ll explain to you how to do it.
- Go to the Windows Start / Search menu.
- I searched Device Manager and open it.
- In Device Manager, expand the audio inputs and outputs .
- Right click on your microphone. We will try to let you update the driver first. Click on update driver .
- If there is an update installed, try setting up your microphone again and see if it works.
- If no update was installed, right-click again and select uninstall device .
- Restart your PC. Windows should automatically find the best driver from the Microsoft driver repository and install it for your microphone.
Update your sound card driver
This is the solution that actually solved my problem with The Wizard was unable to start the microphone problem with Windows 10. Whether you are using a specific sound card or the sound drivers built into your motherboard, you will need to make sure they are up to date and work as intended. A sound card is a device that enables communication between your microphone and your computer. If it stops working, neither your speaker nor your microphone would work.
To update the sound driver, go to Device administrator as shown in the steps above. Expand sound, video and game controllers . Right-click on the sound driver you are currently using, then select Update driver . Then select Search automatically for updated driver software . Windows will automatically search for and download the latest compatible sound driver that best suits your device for your PC.
In most cases, we use Realtek High Definition Audio. For some people who use specific sound cards, it will be something else like Nvidia High Definition Audio or USB Audio Device. If you’re not sure which driver you’re using, just right-click each of them and update them.
If updating or reinstalling the driver doesn’t work, or if you don’t see your microphone or sound card driver listed in device manager, try the next solution.
Move the microphone plug from the front connector to the rear connector or vice versa.
Try reinserting the microphone connector first to make sure it is not due to a loose connector connection. If it doesn’t work, try moving the microphone plug from the front to the back, or vice versa if your microphone was using the back. Then try setting up the microphone again.
Check if your preferred microphone is enabled and set as default
Windows update will sometimes cause hardware conflicts, especially when you have multiple devices of the same type. For example, if you have more than 1 microphone (this often happens on a laptop as most of them have a built-in microphone), Windows will sometimes not be able to identify which one to use.
To check if your microphone is selected, enabled and set as default, go to the start menu. Look for the sound . Go to the Recording tab. Right click on your preferred microphone and select Activated . While selected, at the bottom, click Set as default . Then go on to set up your microphone again.