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Information Technology Help Desk

Troubleshooting a computer which plays no sound at all

Problem: Your Windows XP/Vista/7/8 desktop computer does not play any sound, such as a music cd or a .wav file


Consider the following questions when trying to resolve this issue:
  • Are your speakers plugged in to a working outlet, the appropriate jack on your computer, and also turned on?

  • Are your speakers connected to each other?

  • Is the speaker's volume control turned up?

  • Do you need to adjust your computer's Volume Control (click the speaker icon in your task bar and adjust the slider)?

  • Do your speakers work when you plug them into another computer?

  • Is your sound device turned on in Device Manager? 
    • In Windows XP/Vista/7:  To open Device Manager right click My Computer, click Manage and in the left hand pane click Device Manager.  Once in Device Manager double-click Sound, video and game controllers, right-click your sound device, and then click Properties. In Windows XP, look under Device usage and make sure that Use this device (enable) is selected. In Windows Vista/7, click on the Driver tab and click on the Enable button if it is available. Click OK. Restart your computer if you are prompted to do so.
    • In Windows 8: If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search. If you're using a touch screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. Type Device Manager in the search box, click or tap Settings, and then click or tap Device Manager.
  • Can you run the Windows Sound Troubleshooter?
    • In Windows XP: Click Start, and then click Help and Support. Under Pick a Help Topic, click Fixing a problem. In the left pane, click Games, sound, and video problems. In the right pane, click Sound Troubleshooter.
    • In Windows Vista: Click Start, and then click Help and Support. Click Troubleshooting. Scroll down and click Troubleshoot Sound Problems.
    • In Windows 7: Click Start, and then click Help and Support. Type sound problem in the search box and then click the magnifying glass to search for relevant topics.
    • In Windows 8:  Use Microsoft's audio troubleshooter.