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Windows Vista hints and tips

Select the audio input device

At one time computers used to have a single line in and a single microphone socket at the back of the computer's case. They were difficult to access because you couldn't see where they were without moving your PC and when the rear of the computer was up against a wall the situation was even worse.

Many modern computers are much better and they often have sockets on the front of the case where they are easy to access in addition to the usual sockets at the back. When you want to record something with the microphone or use a VoIP application like Skype, which socket do you plug the microphone into? Which input will the application use by default? How do you change the default from the awkward to reach rear socket to the more convenient front socket?

Windows Vista recording devicesIt's actually quite easy when you know how. Right click the speaker icon at the right-hand side of the taskbar (it's called the notification area). Select Recording Devices on the menu that is displayed.

What you see in the dialog depends on the hardware you have installed in your PC, so it might not look exactly like the one shown here.

You can see that there is a Microphone and a Font Mic. The Microphone has a green tick to show that it is the default. You can select either of the devices and click the Default button to make them the default. The default is always used when an application doesn't have any options - some applications will allow you to choose the input using their own options and configuration settings.

Double click any of the devices to access its properties. In the case of the microphone you can set the volume on the Levels tab and the recording format on the Advanced tab. Applications might let you set these from within the program, but it's useful to set the defaults here.

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