I followed your advice as below. My problem is, when you say to "Click the checkbox beneath the microphone heading and raise the volume slider about midway," I find that the volume slider is grayed out and I cannot adjust the volume. Also, I see no checkbox available beneath the microphone heading to check. In addition, where you say to look for a "Microphone" item, I find a "Front Mic" and a "Mic Volume" item, but no item specifically labeled just, "Microphone".
I have Win XP Pro, on two different computers from two different companies, no less, and I cannot record using a microphone on either of them. When I do the test and speak into the microphone, the level indicator does not move, and when I do a recording in Sound Recorder, then go back and listen, nothing has been recorded.
I checked my microphone on another computer and it works there fine.
I find that certain tabs and/or items within tabs of some ofthe audio menus are grayed out, as if there was incomplete driver installation; but I just reloaded Win XP on both of these computers, and still cannot get a microphone to record.
Click "Start", click "Run...", type "sndvol32.exe", and press "OK". This will load up the volume control program. Click "Options", click "Properties", select "Recording" from the "Adjust volume for" options, make sure that "Microphone" has a check mark next to it under "Show the following volume controls", and press "OK". Click the checkbox beneath the "Microphone" heading and raise the volume slider about midway. If there is a button labeled "Advanced" underneath the "Microphone" heading, click it, put a check next to "Mic Boost" (if present), and press "Close".
Try the mic out. See if you are able to get any sounds through it. If you aren't able to, adjust the volume slider up until you get sounds out of it. A good way to test if you get any sounds through the mic is to load up Sound Recorder (sndrec32.exe), press the record button, speed directly into the microphone, press stop, and press play.