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External Speakers Not Working

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms, Hardware & Peripherals, Multimedia, Uncategorized

Aaron from Chicago,IL writes “My wife is using Vista on her computer and now all of sudden her speakers has stop working. I check the properties and it says these devices are working properly but she still can’t get  sound. Yes, I made sure that they were plugged into the right port. What do you think might be the problem?”

Hi, Aaron.  Thanks for the great question.

So here’s how we troubleshoot this for you, because there are a number of factors that might cause this issue.

Speakers Main Image

The first thing that always occurs to me in a situation like this is equipment failure.  Could be your machine, but it’s probably the speakers.  So step one in this is to try another set of speakers.  Borrow a set from a friend.  If you don’t have any friends with speakers that you can borrow, buy a new set.  You can always return them if it turns out that your speakers weren’t the problem.  If the new speakers work, then your problem is solved.  You can also try plugging your speakers into another machine.  If they work on the new machine, then your speakers aren’t the problem.

If you borrow/buy new speakers and they STILL don’t work, the good news is that we’re one step closer to solving the problem.  So the next thing is to troubleshoot your machine and connections.  If your computer has internal speakers, unplug the externals completely and see if the internal speakers work.  If they don’t, it’s probably a bad sound card.  Try unplugging them completely if your computers If they are USB speakers, try plugging them into a different USB port.  One as far away from the original port as you can get, so you get them on a different card.  If it’s a desktop and you had them plugged into the front, try plugging them in the back instead.  If it’s a laptop and you had them plugged in on the right, switch them to the left.  If they work on the new port, then you’ve got a bad USB port. 

So, out of all of this you should find a solution.  If none of these work, then it might just be a matter for your friendly neighborhood computer tech.  Oh, and one more thing… when the device manager says that the device is working correctly, it simply means that the driver isn’t corrupt and is interacting correctly with Windows.  It doesn’t really test the device.

I hope that this helps!

~ Randal Schaffer


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7 Responses to “External Speakers Not Working”

  1. Jadesqr says:

    Hey Aaron,
    Your post doesn’t say, properties may say ‘This device is working properly’ but the first thing to check is that the ‘volume’ is turned up to 100%. Check either in ‘Control Panel’ or click on the ‘Speaker icon’ in the notification area in lower right hand corner of the window, if its there. Good luck, hope this helps.

  2. Keith Monson says:

    I had this problem with a Vista laptop, turns out it was the speaker properties in Windows Media Player. Check those first.

  3. Randal says:

    Thanks, guys. Your comments both hit an area that i neglected in my article. In tech support, the first thing to try is the simplest (and the one that frequently makes the user say “duh”), which, in this case, would be checking the properties. Not only for the volume, but to make sure that the device that you want to use is selected as the default device.


  4. Jose Caceres says:

    Don’t forget that the simplest thing might be that the speaker icon in the taskbar was clicked inadvertently and the speakers were set to “Mute”, in which case just clicking on the speaker icon and then on the little speaker at the bottom of the volume column to “Unmute” the speakers.

  5. Michael P Russell says:

    Had the same Problem when I upgraded from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 back in August 2015.
    My External speakers didn’t sound like they used to. The More i messed with the sound properties the worse it got. Finally last week November 2015 I called Microsoft Support & told them of the problem. This link corrected My Sound Problem C:\Users\MichaelP\Downloads\Realtek High DefmAudio Driver Download _6.0.1.7634.

  6. John P says:

    One day my wife told me the sound wasn’t working on our computer. The speaker bar has an on/off/volume control on its side, it had inadvertently gotten turned “off”.

  7. Andy Anderson says:

    Good advice! I would recommend going to Control Panel and then clicking on Task Bar and Start Menu, then click on Notification Area and make sure that the speaker box is checked. If it is grayed out, then he may have a bad Sound Card. I was having the same problem and ended up putting a new Sound Card in my Desk Top.

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