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You’ve booted your PC or brought it out of sleep mode. But for some reason, there’s no sound. You’re not greeted by the Windows chime when you sign in, or there’s no audio accompanying your videos.
So, what’s the problem? It could be an issue with the audio settings, or with the speakers themselves. If you’re using a headset, the issue might be with that.
Here’s how to fix the sound on your computer when your speakers stop working.
No Sound From Your Computer Speakers?
Using a PC without the sound is an odd experience; you won’t notice how important sound is until it’s gone.
You essentially lose a chunk of your PC experience, particularly jarring when watching videos, playing games, or listening to music.
So, what’s the answer?
Several things can be checked, from accidentally muted audio to defective speakers. You might even have a headset connected that you’ve forgotten about.
If a simple reboot doesn’t fix things, here are several possible issues, and a fix for each.
Have You Muted Audio?
One of the easiest ways to end up with no audio in Windows is to accidentally mute the sound.
This can happen easily by just hitting the wrong button or keyboard shortcut. It can even happen by lowering the system volume too much.
To unmute your audio, start by playing an audio or video file. This will help you spot the audio is working again.
Next, identify the mute button on your keyboard, and tap it. On a multimedia style keyboard, this will usually be along the top, alongside other playback controls.
Using a laptop? The mute function is typically found by pressing Fn and the corresponding F key.
Check the Speaker Jack
Next, check the speaker jack on your PC (a laptop will typically have its own audio).
Whether you’re using wired headphones or a set of speakers with your PC, they will be connected to the computer with a traditional 3.5mm jack. This should be connected to the audio out socket.
Correctly plugging the jack into the correct port is vital for getting some noise out of your computer. On older systems, a microphone port can be found beside the speaker/headphone socket. As such, it’s worth taking the time to make sure your speaker isn’t acting like a giant microphone!
Note: In modern systems, particularly laptops, microphones and headsets share the same multi-use port.
With desktop PCs equipped with sound cards that are not integrated with the motherboard, you should also check if this device is correctly seated. This will mean opening the case and identifying the soundcard, found in one of the PCI or PCI-e slots.
If the card is correctly attached to the motherboard, and its power LED appears when the PC is powered up, everything should be fine. However, if you have been using the front audio jack on your PC case, check this is internally attached to the sound card.
Still No Sound From Your Speakers? Check the Power!
Also, if you’re using external speakers, be sure to check that these are powered on. A small red or green LED should indicate that the speakers are receiving power. Check they’re connected to the mains electricity, too.
If everything is okay here and there is still no sound, it’s worth connecting the speakers to another device. This might be a different PC, or even a phone or tablet. Just as long as it has a suitable audio port, you should be able to connect your PC speakers or headphones.
Confirm HDMI Audio Is Selected
Some HD displays don’t support audio over an HDMI cable, even when the cable does. As such, there could be a scenario in which you’re using an HDMI display that won’t play audio.
The solution to this is to run an audio cable from the PC to the display, ensuring the audio jack is connected to the display’s audio in port.
You should also confirm in Windows that HDMI audio is selected. Do this by opening Settings (Windows key + I) > Ease of access > Audio > Change other sound settings and selecting the Playback tab.
If an HDMI audio device is connected to your PC, then you should see the option Digital Output Device (HDMI). Select this and at the bottom of the window, click Set Default.
Audio should now play to your HDMI TV.
Check Your Windows Audio Device Drivers
Made all the checks to your hardware and cabling, and still no sound from your computer speakers? Then it’s time to look at a software solution.
A Windows Update may have caused your sound card drivers to fail. The solution here is either to update your drivers or rollback to a previous setting.
Access your hardware via the Device Manager. Find this by right-clicking Start and selecting Device Manager. Expand Sound, video and game controllers then identify your audio device. This is typically Intel(R) Display Audio unless you have specialized audio hardware.
Right-click the device and select Update driver. The updated driver should then be installed. If not, use the Uninstall device option first, then Action > Scan for hardware changes to prompt for a new driver to be installed.
The same fix can be used to update USB drivers if you use a USB headset or USB sound card.
Could a Bluetooth Headset Be the Problem?
When a cable is plugged into your computer, it’s obvious that a device is connected. With Bluetooth, however, it’s easy to forget.
For example, I use Bluetooth headphones with my laptop. When I’m not using them, I don’t always remember to swap the playback device. The result is that audio is streamed to the headset, not my computer’s speakers.
So, if you use a Bluetooth headset, remember to switch off or disconnect the device from your computer when not in use. Also, take a moment to click the speaker icon in the system tray, and choose a different audio output.
Your Computer Speakers Just Aren’t Working
You’ve checked the mute and volume settings of your speakers and the integrity of the speaker jack. They’re powered up and correctly connected to your computer. You’ve even checked the device drivers and checked the speakers work on another device.
Made it this far and there’s still no audio? Well, it looks like it’s time to find some new speakers for your PC.
Sure, you could take the time to get your speakers repaired, but unless they’re top-end pieces of audio gold, it will probably be cheaper to just buy a new set.
Got Your Computer Sound Back?
By now, you should have got the audio working on your computer. Your speakers are blaring with the latest items in your iTunes library, a new movie trailer, or even a video game. Of course, speaker audio issues aren’t limited to Windows 10, so here’s how to fix common sound issues on macOS.
It’s unusual for speakers or headsets to fail, but it does happen from time to time. But if Windows sound problems are still causing a headache, it’s time to check our Windows 10 sound troubleshooting tips.
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