First, make sure your speakers
Next, plug your microphone into the appropriate port.
Double click the speaker icon on the taskbar (go to Start: Settings: Control Panel: Sounds and Multimedia to check the Show volume control on the taskbar checkbox if it is not already there), which will open the Play Control window. Make sure the Microphone is not on Mute. If there is no volume control for the Microphone, go to the Options menu and select Preferences. In the new window, find the checkbox for Microphone and select it, then click OK. Test the microphone. If it works, Mute the Microphone in the Play Control window.
Under the Options menu, select the Recording Control radio button. In the window, be sure that the checkbox for
Microphone is selected. Click OK.
You should now have the Recording Control window open. Select Microphone as your recording device.
You should now be able to record wav files.
Windows comes with a program called Sound Recorder. You can reach it through Start Menu: Programs: Accessories: Entertainment: Sound Recorder
To begin recording press the dark red button. To stop press the square. To Playback press the right arrow.
Now you are equipped to do such things as send voice messages over ICQ, use the Talk option in AOL Instant Messenger or use an internet phone service such as Net2Phone to make long distance calls without paying long distance prices.
Original text can be found at http://andara_bledin.tripod.com/Microphone.html and was written so that I could stop schooling the people I sent microphones to in how to make them work.