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No Sound or Audio on Windows

Many experience the problem of missing sound on Windows after formatting. Continue reading to discover how to resolve this issue. The steps described in this article are specifically for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8, but may also work for other systems.

What Causes Computer Sound Problems

If your computer has sound problems, it could be caused by a number of things. Often, it is caused by the hard drive formatting process. Other possible causes include: the presence of a virus that has infected your system; the improper installation of your sound driver; a configuration problem with your sound card; and a problem of compatibility between your operating system and the sound device that you are currently using.

How To Fix Windows Sound Issues

Confirm that Audio Controllers Are Functioning

To check that your device's audio controllers are working properly, start by opening Device Manager.

Next, click Start, then right-click on My Computer. From the menu that opens, choose Properties. A window will appear, in which you should click Hardware > Device Manager.

N.B. Under Windows Vista and Windows 7, you will need to click the blue circle at the bottom left, right-click on Computer, select Properties, then click Manage. Under Windows 8, you will need to move the cursor to the bottom-right corner to open the Charm Bar, then select Settings, PC Info, then Device Manager in the upper-left corner.

Another window will appear with a list. Under XP, the yellow warning signals (! and ?) indicate an incorrectly installed device. Under Windows Vista and Windows 7, a yellow triangle will appear before the incorrectly installed device.

If no yellow warning signal appears, then you must check: your speaker Connection (i.e. that the jack is properly threaded into the green socket on the PC, power control, etc.); the Windows mute feature, indicated by the small speaker in the task bar; and everything under the Sound heading in the Control Panel.

If the audio controller appears as the name of the Device High Definition Audio Controllers under the Audio/Video tab and in the Device Manager, this means that a driver for the audio controller is missing or not properly recognized.

N.B. With some modified versions of Windows, such as Windows XP Ultimate, Windows LSD, and Windows Gold, it is impossible to correctly install the audio device. (For example, the audio device will appear to be installed, but no sound will come out.)

Check that the Windows Audio Service Starts Automatically

To check that the Windows Audio service starts automatically, access the Services panel by going to the Start menu > Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > Administrative Tools > Services. You can also go to the <bold>Start menu > All Programs > Administrative Tools > Services.

For Windows Vista or Windows 7, click the blue circle at the bottom-left, type Run in the search bar, and confirm with Enter. In the Run window, type services.msc, and confirm with Enter. For Windows 8 (also valid for Windows Vista and Windows 7), press [Windows] + [R] on your keyboard simultaneously to display the Run window, type services.msc, and confirm with Enter. In the Services window, check that the Windows Audio service is set to start automatically. If it is not, right-click it to start it.

Reinstalling Audio Controllers

If there is a yellow ? or yellow triangle in Audio Devices, there may be a sound driver that was updated automatically by Windows Update but that does not suit the hardware installed on the computer. Sometimes, you can go back to the previous version of the driver. Right-click on the yellow ? or the yellow triangle, and look for Go back to the previous version from the context menu.

If you cannot do this, try to look on your computer's manufacturer's website to find the download for your sound card driver. The driver will likely be there, unless you have migrated your OS since purchasing the computer.

Here's a list of the popular sound card manufacturers' websites:

Hewlett Packard (HP)

For integrated sound cards, you can try:


N.B. At present, on virtually all PCs, the sound card is not physically apparent because it is built into the motherboard.

Otherwise, if you have a CD with your computer's drivers, install the driver that is missing. You may also locate the drivers on your backup partition, if you have one.

If you do not see a yellow ? or a yellow triangle and your audio device does not appear in Sound, it may be that your audio device is disabled in the motherboard's BIOS.

Audio Driver Installed Correctly but No Sound

If you are sure that your audio device has been correctly installed but you are still not receiving any sound from your computer, check that the audio device is selected for audio playback in your computer's settings.

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1 Comment

Easy instruction that took only one minute to apply. Thank you so much because I know I would have been on the phone for hours trying to get tech support help.