What are the settings to simply record the PC's sound?

I want to record just what is playing on the PC’s sound card (and would be playing, if not muted, out of the PC’s speakers). But, of course, I do not want to record by playing it on the PC speaker and then picking it up on the PC microphone, but rather, just, digitally, I would like to record what “should” be playing on the PC speaker (even if the speaker itself happens to be muted). This, I’d like to record in Audacity. What settings do I need to set to do this? I suspect they are in the Preferences…Devices, possibly for “Interface Host” and/or “Recording Device”. I’ve tried several settings, but upon careful listening, I suspect that I am just recording on the PC microphone, as I am picking up other background noises not coming from the PC.

So, if you can tell me what settings to use to accomplish this goal, either in Preferences…Devices, or anywhere else, I would appreciate it.


Quite a lot of Vista and Win 7 computers do not have the option to record sounds that are playing on the computer.
There’s an article that explains how to enable it if it is available, and some suggestions of alternative methods if the system does not directly support it: http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Mixer_Toolbar_Issues#cp

If all else fails, “Sound Leech” will capture any sound being played on your system (http://www.milosoftware.com/en/index.php?body=soundleech.php). It is free.