So you power up your Desktop PC and you get set to listen to some of your favorite MP3s while surfing the web when you suddenly realize that you have no sound. No Windows® start-up music, no clicks and chime, no nothing. In this Tech Tip we’ll take a step by step approach to try to get your sweet sounds working again. While the first few steps may seem basic, you’d be surprised how often "some relative" got into things and did “something” that messed up the sound.
1)Muted sound/sound turned down. Check to see if the sound is muted. Simply click on the speaker icon in the system tray and see if the “mute” box is checked. If the mute box is checked – uncheck it. Also, check your computer speakers, sometimes they can be muted as well. While checking these, also check your volume levels and turn them up if needed.
- TIP: In Windows XP® if there is no speaker box, then go to the control panel and double click on “Sound and Audio Devices” and check to see if the mute box is checked there.
- TIP: If the speaker icon is missing AND the Sound and Audio Devices “mute box” is grayed out, your sound cards drivers may be disabled or not installed properly.
2)Isolated power source. On a desktop, check to see if the speakers power cord is unplugged from the wall or on a switched outlet. If it is plugged in, unplug it and plug it in again. If it is on a switched outlet, make sure that the switch is on. In addition to this, make sure that the speakers are turned on.
3)Isolated sound source. On a desktop, check to see if the speakers are plugged into the "speaker out" port on the PC (usually light green). Also, if one speaker connects to the other or into a subwoofer, be sure that they are all plugged in as well.
4)Troubleshooting step: On a desktop, plug a set of headphones into the speaker out jack to see if it is working correctly. If you get sound, then the issue is with the speakers.
5)Troubleshooting step: On a laptop computer, plug in a set of headphones into the headphone out jack. If you get sound, it may be an issue with the internal speakers or an incorrect playback device being selected.
6)Check your default playback device. Go back to your control panel’s sound panel (In XP labeled as “Sound and Audio Devices” and in Vista and Windows 7® it is simply labeled as “Sound”) and make sure you have the correct “playback device” is enabled.
- TIP: In Vista and 7, it’ll be the one with a check mark by it, usually it’ll be labeled something like “speakers and headphones.”
- TIP: In XP, it’ll be under the "Audio" tab and the “Sound Playback” box. Simply use the drop down menu to choose the sound card that the speakers are attached to.
- TIP: This is also the area where you can manually enable your HDMI audio output – for example, when plugged into a HDTV.]
7)Check your audio drivers installation. In the control panel go to your "Device Manager" and check the settings for your “sound, video and games controllers” area. If you have something there that is not installed correctly, you’ll see either a red “x” for a disabled device or an exclamation point for a device not installed properly (it may also be listed under “Other Devices” as an unknown device). Enable the device if it has a red ‘X” on it or reinstall the drivers for the sound card if it has an exclamation mark on it.
- TIP: You may need to download drivers from the manufacturer of the computer or the manufacturer of the audio card. In a worst case scenario, you may need to go the actual audio chipset manufacturer’s website and download reference drivers.
By following these steps you will fix a vast majority of audio issues without having to pay a computer technician, however if you do continue to have problems, you may want to consider hiring a technician to take a look at your computer. We hope that you find this Tech Tip helpful in getting your sweet sounds going again so you can rock out with your PC.