We report on a study of ESR and conductivity on a series of hot-wire CVD microcrystalline silicon samples prepared with different hydrogen dilution of silane. We observe two different types of dangling bond defects in ESR in different microscopic environments. One type of defect is located at outer surfaces accessible to oxygen and/or chemicals, the other is located at inner boundaries presumably at columnar structures. We correlate changes of the defect density induced by either annealing, exposure to air or wet-chemical treatment with the morphology and electronic properties of the films. We find that annealing at 200 °C induces irreversible changes in donor concentration as monitored by an ESR signal at g = 1.9981±3.