Microphone only working while recording with audacity

Using windows 10 home 1803
Using audacity 2.2.2

Strange issue I’ve never had with audacity before. My microphone will only record/pick up sound when using Audacity. The change can be seen in the sound control panel. Can’t seem to find anyone else struggling with this but maybe I’ve used the wrong search terms. This continues even after restarting my PC.

Please don’t double post. Your message has to be read by a forum elf before it is accepted.

My microphone

Which is a what?

Your microphone has to be accepted in Windows before Audacity can see it.

So close Audacity and open the Windows sound panels by right-clicking the microphone lower-right. Is the microphone there and does the sound meter jump?

Close the panels and open Audacity. Do you have the right device in the Audacity setups? This can get messed up two ways. If you like to use Skype or Games, they can scramble the sound settings. They’re supposed to put them back where they found them, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. It can really be wacky if you leave Skype running while you try to do something else.

If you like to record internet sound, sometimes that can de-rail recording. the settings for recording YouTube are different from recording your guitar solo.

A microphone can also get lost if you unplug it while Audacity is running. Audacity will forget the microphone even if you plug it back in. Restart Audacity or Transport > Rescan.

Any of that ring a bell?