Fixing microphone problems for Discord on PC

Not long ago my wife Kit had some issues with her microphone not working with Discord. Kit plays World of Warcraft and Discord is the “go to” chat program for the popular MMO, as well as other games.

As with most technical issues, the first part is isolating the problem. This blog post should help some of you out there that have been experiencing issues with Discord and gaming headsets.. In Kit’s specific case the microphone device of her headphones was completely absent in the recording part of Windows 10.

Right clicking on the sound icon allows you to select Sounds, which will bring up the Windows 7/10 sound settings. Then click on the Recording tab. If you see a default device that looks like your headset’s, then you may find most of the steps not necessary in order to fix your particular issue.


If you don’t see anything in the Recording tab, it means your drivers are not installed properly for your headset. Note this picture does shows a recording device.

In Kit’s case, the recording microphone device was missing completely. For the record Kit uses an Arctis 5 SteelSeries Gaming Headset, and apparently one of the later Windows 10 updates can interfere with the headset’s drivers. The playback devices were fine, but the recording one (ie, microphone) was completely absent.

The best way to fix this is to do a full clean install of your headset drivers. This includes uninstalling all existing drivers first, before rebooting and reinstalling using the latest driver file for your gaming headset.

To uninstall drivers for your device, the best thing to do is unplug your headset (particularly if it is a USB one). The trick here is that when you remove the headset from the USB port, the sound devices become hidden in the Device Manager because they are not currently being used.

To bring up the Device Manager, you’ll need to right-click on the Windows icon in the bottom left of your screen (Windows 10). Then left click on the Device Manager option. Most gaming headsets have their devices listed under the Sound, Video and Game Controllers section. Click on the > to expand the device list.

device manager

Note the View menu up the top. This is where you can find the hidden device items that may not currently be in use. These are partially transparent as shown above.

Chances are you will not see anything related to your gaming headset if it is a USB one. In order to uninstall the devices that are hidden click on the View tab in the Device Manager window, and select Show Hidden Devices. You should be able to see your headset devices listed now. Right click on each of them and go to the Driver tab. Then Uninstall Device. Do this first, before going to the Apps menu and uninstalling the full driver package.

Reboot your machine. Then install the latest version of your gaming headset drivers, and the microphone should re-appear.

The last step is to make sure the microphone volume in Discord is high enough. Often setting it to automatically detect is the best option if you are unsure as to what the microphone volume level should be. You now should see the flashing green light to indicate you are talking in Discord.


In summary:

  1. Uninstall all drivers and devices via Device Manager and the Apps menu.
  2. Reboot the computer.
  3. Reinstall the latest gaming headset drivers.
  4. Check the microphone is installed under recording devices.
  5. Tweak Discord.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this. If you have any other PC issues and you would like some advice, please feel free to leave a comment as I’d be happy to assist.

2 replies »

  1. If you have an xbox controller on pc via usb with a 3pin headset plugged in and discord mic does not work but windows mic does, try to change your audio subsystem to legacy instead of Standard in the video and voice settings

    Liked by 1 person

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