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Why Won’t My Computer Play Sounds Anymore?

Posted By Ty On March 16, 2013 @ 11:00 AM In Hardware & Peripherals,System Tune-Up Help | 4 Comments

Mary from Tallahassee, FL writes:

A few months ago, my computer lost its ability to play sounds (yes, I have been mute for that long). Over that time I’ve checked everything I can find that appears to have anything to do with sound. Every device, driver, etc. states that they are functioning properly. Still I have no sound. Do you have any idea what could have caused me to lose sound or how to fix it? Any light you can shed on this problem will be most appreciated.

Sound that has suddenly gone out, especially when you’ve already checked the drivers and they are functioning properly, may be caused an overlooked culprit: the hardware itself. Before going through a potentially lengthy troubleshooting process, there are a couple of quick and easy issues you can check that may be the root of your problem. First off, simply unplug your speakers and plug in a different set, as there’s no reason to be playing around with your settings if you have an issue as basic as dead speakers that need to be replaced.

If the hardware isn’t the issue, it’s time to move onto to the software side of the troubleshooting process. Many computers feature a keyboard shortcut that lets you quickly change the volume, such as tapping“FN” and the “4” key to raise the volume. Try tapping this keyboard combination a few times to ensure the volume hadn’t been lowered through your computer’s operating system.

If you aren’t sure what your computer’s keyboard shortcut consists of, click the speaker icon in the taskbar at the lower-right corner of your screen.

The Volume Bar

Check to see if the small image of a speaker in the pop-up menu has a red line through it. Click the image if the line is present to turn off the “Mute” feature, and then drag the volume bar up to raise the sound level.

Click the “Mixer” link at the bottom of the menu if volume was already up and the “Mute” feature wasn’t turned on. Check to make sure all of the volume bars in the “Mixer” panel are raised up loud enough that you can hear sound. Click the “Speakers” icon located directly underneath the “Device” heading to bring up a new window featuring additional speaker settings.

The Mixer Window

Locate the “Device Usage” drop-down menu at the bottom of the window. Open the menu and make sure the option is set to “Use this Device (Enable)” and click “OK.”

Enabling The Speakers

If the problem persists, return to the window and navigate to the tab labeled “Levels.” Drag the volume bar towards the right to manually raise the system volume, and click the speaker icon to turn off the mute setting if the button has a red line through it.

The Levels Tab

To continue troubleshooting, close the window, open the “Start” menu, and click the “Control Panel” button.

Control Panel

Click the green heading named “Hardware and Sound,” which is located below the “Network and Internet” heading at the middle of the screen.

Hardware and Sound

Scroll down to the “Sound” heading and click the blue link named “Manage Audio Devices” at the far right side of the window.

Managing Audio Devices

Highlight the option for your computer’s speakers and then click the “Configure” button at the lower-left corner of the window.

Configuring Audio

Look through the options in the “Audio Channel” box and locate the configuration that matches your speaker system, such as “Stereo” for a two-speaker setup or “Surround 5.1” if you use five speakers and a subwoofer. Click the appropriate option, and then click the image of the speaker to test the sound. If you have the wrong configuration chosen, your speakers won’t play sound correctly. Click “OK” to save the change and use the appropriate speaker configuration.

Selecting Audio Configuration

If you have a 5.1 or larger speaker system, you may have to select the correct audio configuration using the software that was included with your speakers, rather than the Microsoft Windows sound settings. The software for your speakers should be located in the “Start” menu under the “All Programs” heading.

~ Ty Arthur


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