Can't find an explanation for "grayouts" in manual

I operate with a Windows Dell laptop with all updated drivers and BIOS and a 64 bit bus with Windows 8.1. I am running 16 gigs of Ram with a terabyte of mostly empty disk space. I also have the latest version Audacity 2.1.2. I have a Realtek audio soundcard and am interfacing with WASPAPI, not the standard MME.

My device settings are all perfect, yet I keep getting error messages telling me to “check the sampling rate” which I have never varied from the default 44100 and could always get my recording and playback monitors to come on with my ATR 2100 USB mic. All of a sudden the monitors are grayed out and will not come to life with a right click when I am ready to record. I have not otherwise messed with their settings before this began happening. I have checked Windows Sound in the control panel and set those right as well. The spkr icon in Windows lower front toolbar shows the spkr/headphone connection active. Why are the meters not firing up all of a sudden and the program is asking me to chcck the sampling rate?

When you say you have updated drivers, have you been to the Dell site and checked there for 64-bit audio drivers meant for Windows 8.1 and your particular computer model?

Why are you interfacing with WASAPI? It is less compatible than MME. It may fail when choosing 1 channel (mono) recording in Device Toolbar. Also if you have made changes in Windows Sound you must restart Audacity or you will get error opening. See

Are you talking about the recording and playback meters in Audacity? If there is no recording or playback, and the sound card will not open, then the meters are empty.

What recording and playback devices are you choosing in Device Toolbar? And are you recording the mic while playing another track in Audacity? In that case you have two sets of sample rates to consider.

You should be monitoring in the headphones of the ATR 2100. If you connect the ATR 2100 after Audacity is open, Audacity won’t see the device unless you use Transport > Rescan Audio Devices at top of Audacity.

If you pull the USB cable out by accident and reconnect, you might also have to use that rescan item.

Yes we do have a FAQ for “error opening”:

Thanks Gale, I will try all of these and get back