Ask The Experts

How To Fix Intermittent Sound Problems In Windows

Bruce Epper 04-11-2015

Sudden sound loss while watching a movie or video on your PC can be a frustrating experience. When the problem is intermittent, it just makes it that much more difficult to track down and resolve. While we have covered multimedia playback problems How to Troubleshoot Video & Audio Playback Issues on Your Windows PC No video, no sound, how frustrating! Luckily your problem is likely to be a common Windows issue that we can help you troubleshoot right here, right now. Read More and Windows 10-specific audio issues No Sound in Windows 10? Here's How to Quickly Fix Digital Deafness Got Windows 10 and having some sound problems? You're not alone. Thankfully there are some simple, effective troubleshooting steps you can follow. Read More recently, we have not directly addressed items that may have transient effects. This reader’s query changes that.


Our Reader’s Question:

I have a four year old laptop that worked perfectly until recently when sound dropped out of all videos I tried playing. Strangely enough, the time the video plays until sound stops differs. I can watch for 20 minutes until I lose sound. After that it happens more frequently, until eventually sound falls away after about 30 seconds.

The problem exists with VLC media player, Windows Media Player, PowerDVD, different games, and YouTube.

In YouTube, when I pause the video and wait a while, the sound starts but falls away again shortly. Also, when I click on the progress bar and the video reloads, sound comes back as well. This problem does not affect the headphones.

I have reinstalled the audio drivers How to Update Audio Drivers in Windows 7 & 8 Wondering whether you need to update your audio drivers? In short, don't fix a running system. If you're having issues, however, re-installing or replacing the driver could do the trick. Read More and checked the speakers Computer Speakers Not Working? How to Fix Having No Sound Sound issues on a Windows PC are annoying. If your speakers aren't working, here's how to fix it and get sound back on your computer. Read More . They are all working okay. I also checked my mixer settings. I am not receiving error messages or popups.

Bruce’s Reply:

Multimedia problems can be irritating little gremlins to track down and eradicate, but it looks like our reader has a good handle on the basics that need to be checked first. Here are the actions I take for any sound issues I encounter.

The first stop is Device Manager to check the sound devices (Control Panel > Device Manager > Sound, video and game controllers). Take a look at the Other devices category too, if it exists. Device errors shown here need to be investigated and fixed before moving on.


Next we check the mixer settings to ensure the correct output device is selected as the default. The output device and sound sources (Applications) volume control sliders should be above 20% and not muted. Playing an audio file or a video with an audio track will allow you to see whether the mixer’s meters indicate playback is happening.



Moving on, the signal connections to the speakers are checked ensuring they are in the correct jacks, they are not loose, and the wires are undamaged.

The power source for powered speakers whether from a wall-wart, USB port, or batteries is the next item on our list. Make sure the speakers are turned on and the volume is around the middle of its range. The internal speakers of some laptops also have an external volume control. Make sure this is close to its midpoint.

If it still isn’t working at this point, run the Audio Troubleshooter. The latest versions are available online for Windows XP/Vista, Windows 7/8.1, and Windows 10. It will fix most audio-related software issues with drivers, services, and other components automatically. If you don’t have Internet access, the troubleshooter can also be reached from Control Panel > Troubleshooting > Troubleshoot audio playback.



At this point, a review the system log (Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Event Viewer or Win+R > eventvwr.msc) is warranted. Expand Windows Logs and select System. Set a filter for Critical, Error, Warning, and Information levels from both the Audio and AudioUI sources.


Finally, look for updated audio drivers for the system and also ensure the codecs necessary for playback of the problem files are installed.

Based on the information we have, we can eliminate or downgrade the following possible culprits:

  • Codecs: A codec problem would prevent audio from playing at all.
  • Audio drivers: Again, a driver issue would normally keep all sounds from working.
  • Most audio hardware in the system: Since the headphones don’t exhibit the same symptoms, we can eliminate almost all of the audio hardware in the laptop as the problem. It also strengthens the argument against the audio drivers and codecs being contributing factors.

Internal Speakers

There are a few possible issues regarding the speakers themselves. Since our reader says he checked the speakers, at least one set must be external speakers or the mentioned headphones. I am assuming that he is using the internal speakers as the default output device since it is a laptop. Because the sound drops out after a video has been playing for a bit of time, we also need to consider that the problem is likely to lie with the hardware and may be related to temperature.

This means the problem is either with the headphone jack on the computer or the wiring to the internal speakers. Since the issue seems to exhibit when the device is warm, the resulting expansion of the metal conductors could be causing the problem either by shorting the bypass in the headphone jack or by creating an open in the circuit to the speakers, especially if the connection is loose in the first place.


In either case, you will need to open up the laptop to fix it. It is generally a simple matter to check the speaker connections and retest for efficacy. If one has sufficient experience soldering, you may also be able to replace the headphone jack yourself but if there is any doubt, have it done by a professional.


This type of issue may be helped also with the use of a laptop cooler if it is proven to only happen above a specific temperature.

Bluetooth Speakers

After a few hours of testing, I was able to produce a similar effect using a Bluetooth speaker placed close to its range limit (just over 32 feet). I set this speaker as the default output device and artificially increased the temperature of the laptop to 162 degrees Fahrenheit as measured by HWMonitor. This is approximately 18 degrees over its operating temperature while running a 1080p video in full-screen but still below its T-junction max of 194 degrees. This caused the audio to switch to the internal speakers which were muted for this test indicating that the temperature of the laptop does affect the power/sensitivity of the Bluetooth transceiver.

I would have preferred to be able to see system temps, but the only sensors available in most laptops are those for the processor.


Again, a laptop cooler can help prevent this switching from occurring. Keeping the laptop closer to the speakers would also prevent this from happening in this test scenario.

Problems With Flash

I have seen several accounts in forums where it appears that an old version of Flash Player Security Alert: You Need to Uninstall Flash Right Now Flash is so full of security holes and vulnerabilities, it just doesn't make sense to keep it installed anymore. Here's how to get rid of it. Read More (v13) caused similar problems on some laptops. I would hope that this isn’t the problem in this case since it is currently up to version with a massive pile of security fixes between the versions.

How About You?

So, what have I missed? Have you encountered intermittent audio problems with your computer? How did you go about fixing it? Please tell us your experiences and share your knowledge with your fellow readers.

Meanwhile, check out the best Windows equalizers The 7 Best Windows 10 Sound Equalizers to Improve Your PC Audio Do you want to tweak Windows audio to your liking? Here are the best Windows 10 sound equalizers to do just that. Read More to improve your PC’s audio.

Image Credit: Input (CC by 2.0) by Memphis CVB, Koss BTS1 Bluetooth Speaker (CC by 2.0) by Nan Palmero

Related topics: Drivers, Speakers, Troubleshooting, Windows.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. dayan
    February 13, 2019 at 11:08 am

    Can I ask a question?? I am watching a movie on my laptop while its charging then after a while it suddenly stop working and produce a sound. how to fix this issue??

  2. Jakub
    June 15, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    I'm trying to fix an identical problem on my friend's Asus K52F for a few days already.
    Windows is quite recently installed and fully up to date.
    What I tried so far:
    -BIOS upgrade
    -Audio driver update
    -Audio driver downgrade to a generic one from Windows
    -Clean boot with only MS services on
    -Unchecking the exclusive mode in speaker properties
    -Installing FFDShow codecs
    -sfc /scannow
    -Reading the event logs
    -Checking the temperatures in HWMonitor
    -Windows audio troubleshooter :)
    -Different programs for playing sound
    Nothing helped and I didn't notice anything suspicious in the logs nor in the hardware monitor.

    My observations:
    -Problem occurs with any program using the sound, including Skype and it affects the whole system
    -The sound is lost within 3-6 minutes since the start of a song etc.
    -Sound comes back when you change the volume using icon in Systray (up or down)
    -Sound comes back when you mute and unmute using the checkbox in Systray
    -Sound comes back when you pause the song for a few seconds and resume
    -The microphone isn't affected
    -Problem doesn't occur when using headset or external speakers

    I found a couple of articles on the internet describing identical symptoms but the publishers were never helped despite lots of suggestions.

    There are 2 things left that I didn't try yet: reinstalling Windows and re-soldering the circuits.

    I repair computers every day at work for the last 8 years and it's a first time that I encounter something like this! I'm starting to feel hopeless and that's very unusual to me... :(

  3. Ramiz Syed
    September 30, 2017 at 8:29 am

    I am also having similar issue in my laptop Lenovo G560
    i have faced this issue before 1 year and my engineer has solve it, now again i am facing same issue.
    but while i increase or decrease sound come back for few second or minutes.
    my engineer told me that was the bios issue.
    anyone has try unistall the bios and install again

    • Shany
      October 31, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      Hello Syed,did you fix your sound on you laptop?I'm to having problems with my Lenovo G560 laptop..and I don't know what to do..have no sound-lose it after 5min when I power..headphone jacket is working..

      Help please-get back to me..

  4. nheng montero
    August 24, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    My kernel crushed bcoz of the application I Installed,when I recognized it no some card detected on my Lenovo a6010,I try to reset factory data reset,nothing changed.i also try to hard reset but still can't detect sim me in this problem to fix my Lenovo a6010

  5. Quran Clory
    July 5, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    I have a desktop and my audio goes out while I play certain demanding games such as PUBG (PlayerUnknown Batle ground) this problem persisted for for years now but is start to really pester me. I have a Ge force gtx 750 ti gpu, amd fx 6300, a GA L8MT-AM3 mobo, not sure about my sound card or anything else. The game usually starts acting up after 2-4 matches of PUBG. I tried everything above but it was to no avail. I usually have to disconnect the microphone USB from the desktop port and switch it around from front to back which doesn't work either. Someone told me that it might be my sound card overheating or drivers. I updated my drivers through windows but idk if I did them correctly. I even tried purchasing a new microphone and it still does it. I'm all out of options and I'm ready to give up playing online. Single player games don't really give me this problem(except when I played thief which was a year back and it didn't do it as often as it does it now.) PS sorry for the typos I'm on my phone.

  6. Kayla
    June 29, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    I've been having a problem where my sound would mysteriously go out and play little snippets every few seconds for months, and I had tried everything but this fixed it. Thank you so much! This was a brand new laptop so I'm glad it was a simple fix.

  7. computer-breakdown
    June 15, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    My laptop has not had any sound for the past 3 days, and I cant figure out what's wrong with it, I have tried 2 websites (this included) and I can't fix it! I can't watch videos on messages or movies. I really need it, so I don't have to borrow someone else's laptop or computer. Plz help. if you have any more, "remedies," please tell me!

    May 29, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    So far, no luck. I've tried at least ten different solutions that I've seen online. My audio works just fine if I play a CD, DVD, .WAV, .MP4, etc. If I try to play audio from a web site using MSIE, FireFox, Chrome or Opera, there's no audio.

  9. Xin
    May 28, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Superb! I was looking the wrong way, I thought it was the Bluetooth settings, but it's the driver of the sound, just an update fixes all.

  10. Abhijit Chakraborty
    May 17, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    I have an ASUS laptop. My laptop can play sound till i dont touch the front part of the keyboard (the speakers are located there) . And the time i touch or press the front part of the keyboard, sound stops working.. And when i restart my laptop again , the speakers also starts working normally.
    I can not figure it out either this is a sofrware prob or a hardware prob...
    I'll be thankfull if somebody help me solving this...

  11. Rostyk
    May 17, 2017 at 12:37 am

    Thanks Bruce,

    that was a helpful post. Solved my problem.



  12. Slogan
    April 15, 2017 at 6:15 am

    Sound drops out after 10 minutes, or so. Did all this already. Guess I'll whistle for awhile, then hit the hay.

  13. sumudu madushan
    February 5, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    my huawei y336 u-02 phone is not rooted,,,my phone is not working,, android damaged,,,,how to can i fix this?

  14. Pane
    February 5, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    I've got exactly the same problem on my Desktop. Gone through all the steps and the problem is still there. Sometimes it magically fixes itself and stays well for a day or two, and then again...

  15. Eran
    January 19, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    I have a brand new Win10 PC (high end) and for some weird reason the audio seems to cut out for 2-3 seconds every now and then.

    Very annoying to say the least.

    The time between cut-outs is only 1-5 mins, so it's fairly regular, if not 100% predictable.

    I have no idea why this is happening, but if you can suggest any way of figuring out what is causing this, beyond the above options, I would be most grateful.

  16. Droid User
    September 16, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    my rooted micromax canvas 2 a110 automatically shut down when i was charging it and i tried to switched on my android phone but it stuck on android logo and after someseconds automatically it shutdown it self and i was thinking to repair it by using sp flash tool but my computer didnot recognized my mobile usb driver...what should i do ....i need help:-((

  17. Sijaja
    September 1, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Hello, i have this problem on windows 10. Every time i pause any YouTube video for a little bit the sound goes after i resume the video. The sound comes back only after i set the System sound volume to 0 then raise it again.

    • Bob
      January 12, 2019 at 4:58 am

      i found that if i went into 'Control Panel' -> 'Sound' -> double click speaker/headphone device -> 'spatial sound' tab -> uncheck the box for virtual surround sound -> apply then test the videos it should function normally and if you go back and check the box and hit apply the problem should go away not sure if this is a fix or a happy coincidence but worth a try

  18. bob
    August 12, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Windows 7 - When youtube video is playing, wmp stops playback, when i pause youtube video, wmp continues playback ? This seems like it should be a really quick fix but google search has not helped me ? Please help :)

  19. Richard L Shank
    May 19, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    What about the sound not cutting off when you drop a connection: sound is still playing and no live feed video is running?

  20. Christopher
    May 17, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    I have a different issue that sounds like it could be related. After a flash update, my computer speakers work simultaneous to my headphones, but the headphones don't register at all in their manager. What I noticed was that it occurred after a program that imperfectly uses Flash crashed. I'm wondering if the user was utilizing flash or HTML5.

    Unfortunately there was no solution for my problem yet. If you have a solution to fix that I'd love to hear it

  21. Partlys4int
    May 4, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    I have more or less a similar issue. My audio- whatever program or website is playing- distorts after a while (after an hour or so, or sometimes longer). I have none of the issues listed above and my laptop's temperature never reaches above 70° celsius.

    • Bruce Epper
      May 5, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      Is it only audio or does it affect video as well (artifacts, stalling, etc.)? If it is primarily streaming that is affected and it only happens after it has been in use for a time, it is more likely a network issue that may be resolved by better buffering which you may be able to adjust based on the program being used for playback.

      • bob
        August 12, 2016 at 9:13 am

        Windows 7 - When youtube video is playing, wmp stops playback, when i pause youtube video, wmp continues playback ? This seems like it should be a really quick fix but google search has not helped me ? Please help :)

    December 23, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    download kindle app

  23. Anonymous
    November 10, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Most Sound Hiccups Are Due To Too Many Tasks Running At The Same Time.

    Replacing Your CPU With A Faster One May Prevent That, Most Of The Times.

    Install Enough RAM, So You Can Completely Disable Virtual Memory, Too.


    • Bruce Epper
      November 10, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      Possible issues:

      1. Replacing the CPU is not an option for many (most?) laptops.
      2. Completely disabling virtual memory may negatively affect other applications used on the laptop depending on how much RAM can be installed in the device. Since the laptop is 4 years old, its maximum may be 8 or 16 GB. If it is only 8 and the user uses Photoshop or similar programs on it, disabling virtual memory will cause performance problems when editing images. So you may end up merely swapping problems.
      3. Issues arising out of being processor-, memory-, or IO-bound tend to be random, yet temporary issues which effectively resolve themselves once the load is reduced (disk operations completed, unused memory is recovered or RAM is paged out, etc.). When playing a video, this would affect both the audio and video elements of the stream, not just the audio.

      • computer-breakdown
        June 15, 2017 at 7:14 pm

        So the problem may just be that there's not enough space on my/our laptop(s)?