I tried all the tricks in the troubleshooting books to make my microphone work again, but it is dead for the laptop. Not the mike (I tried several, and all work fine with my desktop), but I suspect that the sound drives are gone, corrupted, degraded, vanished... Or maybe it is the soundcard? or the port where I plug the mike?
Anyway, before sending the laptop to Dell for costly and lengthy repairs, I wanted to make sure that this is not some kind of software issue. Any ideas are very welcome!