Computer sound problems are often difficult to troubleshoot. There are a lot of components that can affect the playback of sounds on your PC. These can be either hardware or software related. So diagnosing the source of the problem is the first step in repairing your computer’s sound capabilities. If you have a major brand name PC, such as a Dell, HP, Acer or similar, you should should be able to quickly find troubleshooting information of those respective websites. The tips you’ll find below might require the installation of drivers, which you can also find on those sites. Follow these steps to fix computer sound problems.
Steps to Troubleshoot Sound Cards
It’s easy to accidentally turn off or mute your sound. If you have a laptop, check for any function keys (FN) that might be used to disable sound. For laptops and PCs, be sure to check the speaker icon in the system tray by your clock. Double-click the icon and make sure all levels are up and not on Mute. It’s also possible to turn off the sound card altogether. To confirm this is not the case, press the Windows key on your keyboard along with the Pause key in the upper left. This will open the system properties screen. Click the Hardware tab, then Device Manager. Scroll down and find your sound card and make sure there are no red “X”s or error messages associated with the sound device. If the device has an “X” over it, right-click to enable it. If there is an error, click through and read the error message for more details.
When troubleshooting computer sound problems, you should also rule out problems with the speakers. If you have powered speakers, ensure they are turned on and properly connected to your PC. Generally, computers will use a green connector, but your PC may vary. You should also connect a spare set of speakers or even a set of headphones to the back to make sure there is not a problem with the speakers themselves.
If everything checks out so far, try going to Start>Run and in the dialogue box type dxdiag and hit return. Next, click the Sound tab and then click the Test DirectSound. You may not hear anything or you may see error messages displayed. This diagnostic displays the sound device and the driver version for your computer. Write down this information, then visit the manufacturer of the computer or the sound card and look for an newer driver version. The driver can then be updated through the Device Manager.
Windows also has a troubleshooter included in the Operating System. To run through it, click Start>Help and Support and then look for Fixing a Problem. You then need to find Games, Sound and Video Problems. This will walk you through several things to try with your PC.