The article below is from John Dotson.
How can I record audio on my computer? Have you tried using Windows Sound Recorder? Only to find that it will only record one minute of audio? We will fix that in just a bit.
One minute of audio? What were they thinking?! Beats me but, there is a work around. You will need a microphone connected to your PC. Please check your owner’s manual for the specifics for connecting one to your machine. In general the record jack on the back of your computer (front if your lucky) will be a small female plug of the same color as the male plug end on your microphone (Usually pink in color.)
These microphones often-cost as little as five dollars US in stores that carry computer supplies. Fancy microphones costing up to hundreds of dollars can be obtained and may give a somewhat better tone. But, these less expensive ones will get you started just fine.
First, find Windows Sound Recorder, it may not be easy to find. In Window XP, go to Start/ All Programs/Accessories/ Entertainment Sound recorder. Once, you have found it you can create a shortcut to your desktop by clicking your right mouse button and choosing copy. Your next step is to click on your desktop with the left button and the again with the right mouse button. Choose paste. If everything went ok you will now have a speaker shaped icon on your windows desktop.
Double-click the sound recorder icon that we just put on the desktop. A small window opens with a flat green line and menus for File – Edit – Effects – Help a green line some black arrows and a red circle.
Now that we have a microphone on our machine we need to create a template that will allow us to record more than one minute of audio. Click record (red circle) and let it run silently for 55 or so seconds or until it at the end of the line where the indicator is moving. Click stop, press record again, keep doing this until you have a silent recording of about 3 minutes of length, this is your template. Go to File Menu and select Save as . Save your file as Template. If you have a microphone already you may have recorded 3 minutes of your local weather from the TV! That’s ok. Save your 3 minutes of whatever to the desktop.
If you want to put your sound files on a CD you need to start the Windows Recorder with a format quality of 44,000 Hz and 16 bit stereo and you’ll end up with approx. a 40 Mb file for each track. You can then record them onto a CD. The large size of the .wav files on a CD is why you can only get around 21 songs per CD. Always set up Windows Recorder Audio Properties before you begin your session and as appropriate to your use. IE: set up the recorder to 44,000 Hz (Hertz) when you are ready to make a final recording for creating a CD. I hope this will help you to make quality recordings without fancy and expensive software.
Good luck and make beautiful music!