Fix: Skype Problem with Recording Device

Skype is one of the most popular communication mediums out there. But for all of the advantages that it brings, it can also trigger a lot of frustration when things refuse to work as they should.

One of the most annoying Skype problems is the “Problem on Recording Device” error message when trying to make a call. Usually, users encounter this error message after the call is hanged up automatically. Some users have reported that this problem happens rarely while others face the issue every time they try to make a call.

The causes for this error message are multiple, so be prepared to a few troubleshooting steps if you want it fixed. If your configuration is in order, the most likely cause is a recent update that caused Skype to lock itself out of the hardware. Some users have started to encounter the “Problem with recording device” error right after upgrading to Windows 10 to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. This issue mainly happens with headsets – error doesn’t appear when using the built-in laptop mic.

Below you have two methods that have helped Skype users to bypass the “Problem with recording device” error. Please follow each fix in order until you encounter a solution that works for you.

Prerequisites

Before you start following the methods below, it’s important to go over a few things to make sure that your hardware is properly configured.

Since the “Problem with recording device” error can also be caused by a hardware error, let’s start by making sure that your microphone is actually working. To do this, press Windows key + R, type “mmsys.cpl” and press Enter to open the Sound and Audio window.

If you’re using a headset, you need to make sure that its microphone is the default choice. In the Sound window, go to the Recording tab and make sure the headset microphone is selected as the default. If your headset mic is not the default choice, select it and click on Set Default.

Finally, say something into the microphone and see if the level bar on the left-side of your mic entry is rising. If it is, your microphone doesn’t have a hardware problem.

If you determined that your headset / built-in mic doesn’t have a hardware problem, follow the methods below until you find a fix that works for you.

Method 1: Disable Exclusive Control for your mic

Most of the time, the error “Problem with recording device” surfaces after a Windows update. Apparently, a setting change can cause Skype to lock itself out of the hardware and trigger this error when it’s unable to make use of the microphone. The culprit is a sound priority setting called “Exclusive Control” that gets overridden by some updates performed by WU (Windows Update).

Fortunately, this issue can be easily fixed by going into the sound settings and reverting to the default behavior. Here’s how:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open a Run window. Type “mmsys.cpl” hit Enter to open the Sound settings.
  2. Navigate to the Recording tab and select the microphone that you use. With the microphone selected, click on Properties.
    Note: In case you’re using a headset, make sure you select its microphone and not the built-in one.
  3. In Microphone Properties, go to the Advanced tab and uncheck the box next to Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device. Hit Apply to confirm your changes.
  4. Open Skype and go to Tools > Options.
  5. Go to Audio Settings and use the drop-down menu next to Microphone to select the microphone that you previously disabled Exclusive Control for. Then, uncheck the box next to Automatically adjust microphone settings and set the Volume bar as high as possible. Note: If you find that your mic’s volume is too high after this (but it’s working), you can return to this screen and tone down the volume bar.
  6. See if the modifications have been successful by clicking on Make a free test call in the bottom section of the window. You’ll need to wait for a beep before recording a message that will be played back to you.

If you were able to hear yourself during the test, your problems should now be fixed. You can try calling a real contact to confirm. If you’re still encountering the “Problem with recording device” error, move down to Method 2.

Method 2: Reinstalling/updating sound card driver

If the steps above have been unuseful in getting rid of the “Problem with recording device” error, there’s a high chance that the issue is related to a problem with the audio codecs or the Audio driver on your system.

In the event that you have this problem on a laptop, check to see if you have generic audio Realtek drivers installed. These are known to conflict with some laptop models that normally require dedicated audio drivers provided by their vendor. Vendor-provided audio drivers are configured specifically for your computer model and normally don’t have problems such as the “Problem with recording device” error.

If your microphone doesn’t have a hardware issue, reinstalling the proper audio drivers will surely eliminate the issue.

Follow the step by step guide below on updating your audio driver signatures and installing audio drivers from your vendor’s website (if required).

  1. Press Windows key + R to open a Run window. Then, type “devmgmt.msc” to open Device Manager.
  2. In Device Manager, go under Audio inputs and outputs and identify the microphone that is giving you trouble. Right-click on it and click on Update Driver, then select Search automatically for updated driver software.
    Note: If the search determines that you have the latest driver, right-click on the driver and select Uninstall device. This will uninstall the driver signatures associated with this input source and force Windows to reinstall the required drivers. You might need to unplug > plug back in your headset for Windows to install the drivers again. If that doesn’t trigger it, restart your system.
  3. After the restart, check to see if you still have the same problem on Skype. If you don’t encounter the “Problem with recording device” error anymore when making a call, you’ve successfully fixed the issue. However, if the issue is still there, return to Device Manager via Step 1 continue with the steps below.
  4. In Device Manager, scroll down to Sound, video and game controllers. Once you’re there, identify your Audio driver. Then, right-click on it and select Uninstall.
  5. Check the box next to Delete the driver software for this device and hit the Uninstall button.
    Note: If you use a headset, you will also need to uninstall the driver for it. You don’t have to worry about downloading it since it will get reinstalled the next time you connect it to your system.
  6. Now that you’ve successfully removed the audio drivers, it’s time to install them again. Start by checking if you can install vendor provided audio drivers. You can do this easily visiting your manufacturer website and downloading the audio driver from there. If you’re having trouble finding the download section, do an online search with “*your laptop/desktop model* + audio driver*” and look for an official link. Then, download and install the audio driver.
    Note: If you weren’t able to find vendor-provided audio drivers, download and install the Realtek High Definition Audio Driver. You can download the latest version from this official link (here).
  7. After the audio driver is installed, restart your computer and try to make a call on Skype again. The “Problem with recording device” error should now be removed.

Kevin Arrows


Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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Fix: Skype Problem with Recording Device

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