Set the Source and Volume
The first thing you need to do is tell Windows which audio source you wish to record, and then adjust the recording volume in order to get the best quality sound. To adjust the recording volume in Windows XP, you will need to get into your Sound settings. There are several different ways this can be done.
First, you can double-click on the little speaker icon in the taskbar. This will bring up a volume control window for all your audio outputs. From there, click Options and then Properties, then select the Recording button and it will show you a list of all the available recording devices. Check what is needed and click OK. It will now show you volume controls for recording.
To record from a device, such as Microphone or CD Audio, you will need to check the Select box underneath. You will see a slider for adjusting the volume and another for the balance. Underneath the Microphone option, there is an Advanced button that will take you to another menu for adding a boost to the recording volume. Some sound cards also let you adjust the bass and treble of the recording, but if these sliders are grayed out then it means your sound card won't support them.
Another way of getting into the Sound settings is to click on Start - Settings - Control Panel - Sound and Audio Devices. This will give you more options than when you just double-click on the speaker icon. If you click on the Audio tab, you will see where you can adjust the recording volume, if needed. You can also select the recording device there.