a simple microphone solution that worked for my HP laptop running Windows 10 [after tearing my hair out for hours and trying all the fixes i found on the internet, to no avail; after I did this, VOILA! a working external mic]

Click the [Start Button]
Click on/select [All apps]
Scroll down and click on [Settings]
In upper right search box [i.e., Find a setting], type in "microphone"
Click on/select [Microphone privacy settings]
Turn on [Let apps use my microphone]

Happy holidays ...