1 Copper

Voice recording - how?

Glad to make everyone's aquaintance.

Help.  I need to find out how to record audio (voice) onto my Dell Inspiron 8600, preferably in MP3 or WAV format.  What is the simplest/bare bones way I can do this.?  My users manual makes no mention of a built in microphone, does that mean there is none?  Also, I heard that I need something called Windows Recorder, which apparently I don't have, according to a file search.  I didn't find it on Microsoft's Downloads page either.

What to do?  Can anybody set me straight?  I am still running XP, Servicepack 2.

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8 Krypton

Re: Voice recording - how?

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1 Copper

Re: Voice recording - how?

Thanks, I'll check it out.

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8 Krypton

Re: Voice recording - how?


The Dell manuals have always been deficient indescribing and explaining the audio features. The 8600 has a built-in mic but I'm not sure where it is located. There should be a small hole somewhere in the plastic surrounding the keyboard. When you select "microphone" as the recording source then it should be enabled except when there is an external mic plugged into the mic jack. If you still have the original hard drive that came with your computer and it has never been wiped then you can run the mic test within the audio tests in Dell Diagnostics.


To run Dell Diagnostics

1. Restart the computer and tap the f12 key as soon as it starts to boot up .
2. Select 'Diagnostic' from the boot menu. The computer will run its pre-boot assessment tests (PSA) before Dell Diagnostics starts. During the PSA you will hear some tones through the system speaker but this does not adequately test the audio hardware. Dell Diagnostics plays an instrumental piece of music complete with drums, so if you only hear some tones then you have only run the PSA.
3. Dell Diagnostics should open after the PSA tests, or you should see an option to open it. If you have ever reformatted your entire hard drive then Dell Diagnostics will no longer be there as an option. In that case run it from the Drivers and Utilities (Resource) CD if you have one.
4. Select 'Custom', then the audio tests. (At this point - after you have opened Dell Diagnostic custom - if you can't find the option to select the audio tests that is a symptom of a failed audio chip.)
5. The tests will run. Alternate between using headphones and listening to speakers in case only one signal path is working.
The tests will play some audio and ask you whether you heard it.

The tests will continue and eventually the mic tests will come up. On models without a built-in mic the test offer to test the external mic instead.



Windows Sound Recorder should be under Accessories/Entertainment as you know from the link that iee488 posted for you. The thing about Windows Sound Recorder is that it only records for 60 seconds. There is a way to get around that if you want to, but there are free recorders available on the internet. You do need a recording program to be able to record. Despite the time limitation, Windows Sound Recorder is a good program to start with because it is relatively simple to configure. Sometimes when things don't work you don't know whether its because the hardware is defective or because the software is configured wrong. After you get good results with Windows Sound Recorder then you might be interested in trying one of the more full featured recording applications.



Open Windows Sound Recorder under Start/Programs/Accessories/Entertainment.

Click on the Edit menu, then on Audio Properties.

Click on 'Volume' under 'Sound Recording' (not Sound Playback).

Click on the 'Select' box underneath the 'Microphone' control.

Push the mic volume slider all the way up.

Click on 'Advanced' under the microphone select box. Check the mic boost box.

Now you are configured for mic recording. Close all of the Windows boxes except Windows Sound Recorder.

Click on the red Record button and then speak into the mic. If the green line moves then the mic is working. To hear the recording click on stop and then the 1st arrow to go back to the beginning. Click play.

If the sound is distorted then the recording level is too high. Go back to the Audio properties and lower the mic recording level. You can judge the level by the green line in SR. If it jumps beyond the bounderies of its window then the level is too high.

Sound Recorder will only record for 60 seconds but it can be made to go for as long as one likes.

When you have made a recording you like, you click on the File menu and Save As. You would name it and save it somewhere in the computer. To make a cd, you open one of the cd burning programs, and select 'music' cd. Then you browse to the file you saved and burn it onto a cd.




I adapted this trick from the Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 82215. It is just a common sense workaround.

To increase the maximum recording time in Sound Recorder from the built-in 60 second limit:
1. Open Sound Recorder. Click on File menu / Properties / Convert Now.

Select 'CD Quality' in the dropdown list under the word 'Name'. Click ok and ok again.

2. Click Record and then let Sound Recorder run for 60 seconds.

3. After Sound Recorder stops recording, click Save As on the File menu, and name the file Blank.wav.

4. Click Insert File on the Edit menu, and then insert the Blank.wav file that you saved in step 3. When you do this, the maximum recording time is increased by 60 seconds. You can repeat this step once for each additional minute of recording time that you want to add. For example, for a 5-minute recording time, insert the Blank.wav file five times. Save the file when you're finished. 

5. To use the extended length, open Sound Recorder and click Open on the File menu. Browse to where you saved the file Blank.wav and open it. You can now record a new file into Blank.wav. At the end of your recording click 'Delete After Current Position' on the Edit menu to get rid of all the leftover seconds of Blank.wav.

6. Be sure to use Save As on the File menu to save the results with a different  name, not 'Blank.wav', to ensure that Blank.wav remains unchanged.


To have Sound Recorder open with Blank.wav already loaded:

1. Click Start / All Programs / Accessories / Entertainment
2. Right-click Sound Recorder, and  then click Properties.
3. Click the Shortcut tab.
4. In the Target box, press the END key, press the SPACEBAR, and  then type the location of the Blank.wav file.

For example, if the target is "C:\Windows\sndrec32.exe", and the location of the Blank.wav file is C:\Blank.wav, the new line in the Target box is "C:\Windows\sndrec32.exe C:\Blank.wav"


Jim Coates -- 15 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

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1 Copper

RE: Voice recording - how?

Really grateful.  I would not have found it without you folks, yet I knew it was there, somewhere.


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1 Nickel

RE: Voice recording - how?

I always capture audio with a web-based software calls Acethinker Audio Recorder, free and works fairly well. And here are the steps to record audio with it.

Step 1. Run your web browser and visit Acethinker Audio Recorder website (acethinker.com/record-audio ), this app compatibles with IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc.

Step 2. Click 'Start' to open the screen recording app.

Step 3. Select the audio sound you want to record: system sound, microphone sound or both.

Step 4. Click on the red button to start the audio recording.

Step 5. Once you stop the recording, you can click on "Show in folder" to find the recorded audio.

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