Try MusicMatch Jukebox.
I used my Windows sound recorder with a decent external mic on two different computers and was really disappointed with the quality of the recording.
The first machine was a new HP ze5730 notebook (Win XP home, 2.8 celeron). I got some crackling noise throughout the recording. I assume this is a problem with the mic jack (because that was what it sounds like). I think this is a warranty complaint for HP!
I then tried to record on my desktop (clone with Win XP home, 2.4 celeron) using the windows sound recorder. I guess I was right about the mic jack, becuase now the crackle was gone - but I still thought the sound quality was weak.
My question is simple - is there a better piece of software that will give me quality recordings, be intuitive to use (because I never read the manuals) and give me controls that allow easy editing, sound level correction, and more? Every review I read on various software offerings said: "Buy this one - its great!" The prices all seem to range from $0 - $30, so cost isn't really a factor.
...And then I read about people installing some of this software and having issues with their sound cards not working after installing or uninstalling. Can someone recommend a good recorder that won't harm my system?