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PC Troubleshooting - No Sound

Troubleshooting a problem with PC sound is difficult because there are many points of possible failure. Below is a list of some possible points of failure.

1. A physical connection
2. A volume control setting
3. Sound circuit disabled
4. Application sound feature
5. Sound circuit driver

Physical Connection

The first rule of troubleshooting is to check the obvious first.

1. Check that the speakers are plugged to the AC outlet.
2. Check that AC outlet is actually live.
3. Check the wiring between speakers.
4 Check if the speakers are plugged into the proper jacks on the PC.

A Multitude of Volume Controls

An individual who shares my computer didn't like sound so they turned down the volume control all the way down every time they used my computer, and this never failed to convince me that my sound card was dead. The problem is that there are so many sound volume controls. Which one is turned all the way down?

1. Physical volume control on speaker.
2. Volume control in Control Panel.
3. Volume control on specific audio device (HDMI output, CD or DVD drive, ...).
4. Windows Media Player or other media player's volume control.
5. The application's (video, power point, ...) volume control.

As you can see there are many places where someone could have turned down a volume control and following the first rule of troubleshooting you should check these first.

Sound Circuit Disabled

Most of today's motherboards have on-board sound circuitry. But some people desire better quality than the on-board sound circuitry can deliver, so they disable the on-board circuit in Control Panel and install a sound card. Then, for some reason, maybe they want to use the sound card in a different PC, they remove the sound card. Now you have no sound.

In Control Panel's Device Manager, expand the "Sounds and Audio Devices" branch and make sure the sound device you want to use doesn't have a mark next to it. Below is a list of the meanings of some Device Manager marks.

Red X - The device has been disabled by the user.
Yellow ? - Windows can't find the device, it was probably physically removed without being properly uninstalled.
Yellow ! - Windows has identified a problem with the device.

Driver Problem

If Device Manager indicates that it can't find the device, or that it has identified a problem with the device, you may need to reinstall your sound circuit drivers. Try locating the latest drivers at the motherboard or sound card manufacturer's website.

To update the sound circuit driver:

1. In Control Panel's System and Security group, under System, click on Device Manager.
2. In Device Manager, expand the "Sound, video and game controllers" branch.
3. Right-click on a sound device, and in the popup menu that appears, select "Update Driver Software..."
4. In the Update Driver Software dialog box that appears, click on "Search automatically for updated driver software".

Follow the Update Driver Software Wizard to update the sound circuit driver.

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