Your privacy is important, especially when it comes to your computer. One of the biggest possible invasions of your privacy would be if a hacker could activate a microphone in your house. Depending on where you keep your computer, this can be “just” a worrying privacy issue or an appalling invasion of privacy. We’ve collated some top tips to disable your microphone, so you don’t have to worry about anyone listening in.
Disable the microphone
The easiest thing to do is to disable the microphone in the Settings app. Doing so will prevent your computer from being able to use the microphone as an input source until you re-enable it.
To do this, press the Windows key, type “Sound Settings”, then hit enter. Once in the Settings, app, click “Manage sound devices”, then scroll down to your input devices. Click on an input device for the “Disable” box to appear.
Disable the device driver
If you want to further disable the microphone, you can disable the device driver for it. To do this, press the Windows key, type “Device Manager”, then hit enter. In Device Manager, find your microphone in either the “Audio inputs and outputs” or “Sound, video and game controllers” section. Next, right-click on the microphone, then click on “Disable device”.
Doing this will disable the software driver for the device. One of the downsides of using software to disable your microphone is that other software, such as malware is able to re-enable the device. Disabling the driver requires malware to have more system permissions to undo, so it is a bit safer than simply disabling the microphone.
Inline mute switch
Many headsets with built-in microphones as well as many standalone microphones include a mute switch in the cable. This is an excellent way to disable your microphone as the audio is never received by the computer. Additionally, the use of a physical switch means it’s impossible for malware to re-enable the microphone.
Unplug the microphone
Not all microphones have an in-line mute switch, furthermore, it can be easy to accidentally mute and unmute yourself. The most effective way to make sure that your microphone is not listening is to completely unplug it from your computer.