Your Dell Latitude laptop includes an internal microphone that is used for webcams, speech recognition and audio recordings. If the microphone doesn't work, it is likely a misconfiguration with your software or operating system. Using a simple recording program such as Windows 7's built-in Sound Recorder will isolate the microphone's function without worrying about misconfiguration of another complex program. If the microphone still doesn't work, then you know a problem exists outside of the original program.
Enabling the Microphone
The Dell Latitude's internal microphone must be enabled before it can properly function. By default the microphone is enabled, but another program or mischievous user could have disabled it. Right-click the speaker icon in the Windows 7 notification area and select "Recording Devices." Right-click "Microphone" from the Sound window and select "Enable." If you see "Disable," then the microphone is already enabled.
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The internal microphone won't work if its levels are too low to pick up sound. Likewise, if the Dell microphone is muted, it will not work. Right-click "Microphone" from the Sound window and select "Properties." Click "Levels" from the Microphone Properties window. If the speaker displays a red slashed circle, the microphone is muted; click the icon to unmute it. Drag the level slider to the right to increase the microphone's sensitivity.
The microphone piggybacks on the Dell Latitude's audio drivers. If the drivers became corrupted then the microphone may not work property. Uninstalling the drivers and rebooting your system forces Windows 7 to reinstall the drivers. Click the "Start" button, type "Device Manager" and click "Device Manager from the search results. Right-click the audio driver under "Sound, Video and Game Controllers" and click "Uninstall." Restart your computer.
If the internal microphone still does not work, you could be experiencing hardware issues. If your system is still under warranty, Dell Support will be able to repair or replace the laptop. Call Dell Support at 1-877-293-1197 or visit support.dell.com to open an online support chat session.
If the internal microphone is dysfunctional, the easiest fix is to purchase an external microphone. Dell Latitude computers offer a dedicated microphone jack on the right side of the laptop as well as a USB port. Virtually any external microphone can be plugged into the Latitude and be automatically detected and enabled.