Headphones not working on laptop: Windows 11, Windows 10

Headphones not working on laptop: Windows 11, Windows 10

This article discusses the solutions that worked for our users, so keep reading.

Have you ever encountered the following problem: you plug your headphones into your laptop but no sound comes out? If this issue persists after restarting your laptop and disconnecting the speakers, then you are at the right place.

What to do before you start?

Before trying our solutions, make sure your headphones work. To do so, you can plug them into another device (mobile phone, or another computer, for example). Another thing you can do is to try other headphones on your computer and see if you have the same result. If this is your case, then you should consider the options in this article.

Headphones not working on laptop under Windows 10: what to do?

Realtek HD Audio Manager

The most common solution to this problem seems to be related to the Realtek HD Audio Manager. Here is what you need to do:

  • Go to the Control panel.
  • Click “Hardware and Sound”.
  • Scroll to the bottom and click ”Realtek HD Audio Manager”.
  • Click “Device advanced settings”. It is in the top right corner and it’s written in blue.
  • Select “Multi-stream mode”.
  • Then click “Okay”.

Your problem should be fixed!

But if this solution doesn’t work for you, we recommend you to try the other options in this article.

Headphone jack problems

One audio issue commonly experienced with Windows laptop users is discord between a computer's audio (headphone) jack and its sound system. This issue can be due to one of several factors, including missing drivers, a broken audio jack, or — very simply — a change in your system's sound settings.

Static charges

If your headphone jack isn’t working, the issue may be related to static charges. In order to remove them, try the following:

  • Take out the battery.
  • Press the power button 5 times. This will turn off your computer.
  • Turn back on your computer and test the jack with your headphones.

Approved audio devices

You want to check the approved audio devices to see if your headphones are being rejected by your system.

  • Head to your Control Panel.
  • Click “Hardware and Sound” and then select “Sound”.
  • Next, click Manage Audio Devices.

If the headphones icon is shown, simply set the option as your default sound option. If the icon is missing, it may be a sign that your computer is missing drivers (or that your headphones are out of order - but you already checked that!).

If it's simply an issue of missing drivers, you can try to rectify this by updating your operating system. This will help identify any missing drivers that need installation.

Audio Drivers

Even if they aren’t missing, make sure to update the latest audio drivers from the support site. You can find them on your laptop manufacturer’s website.


Make sure your headphones aren't connected to another device, such as your smartphone or tablet. 

Headphones not working on laptop under Windows 11: what to do?

If your headphones aren't working on your computer (Windows 11), you can try most of the solutions that work for Windows 10, namely: updating the drivers, checking if they are rejected by the system and the connectivity, taking care of the static charges, and changing Realtek Audio Manager's settings. if none of this works, then you can try the following:

  • Default sound output: to set your headphones as a default sound output, open the Task bar > right-click on Sound > Sound settings > Output > Speakers > then select the appropriate device.
  • Use the Troubleshooter: press the Windows + X keys > select Settings > System > Troubleshoot > Other troubleshooters Playing Audio > Run
  • Detect: because sometimes apps can only detect a device when it's opened, you may need to close the app and then open it again. 
  • Update the app.
  • Check the app's settings
  • Add the audio device manually.
  • Update the OS.

Headphones not working on laptop under Windows 8.1: what to do?

Software issue

Note: please consider that the following solution is only helpful in certain cases.

Sometimes, the problem might be due to a software issue. In this case, you might need to uninstall your audio drivers and load generic drivers. Here is how to do so for Windows 8:

  • Press the Windows Key and X at once, from the Start screen.
  • Click "Device Manager".
  • Expand "Sound, video and game controllers".
  • Right click the listed device.
  • Click "Uninstall".
  • Restart the computer to load generic drivers for Windows 8.
  • Check if the audio jack is working.

Headphones not working on laptop under Windows 7: what to do?

Here are some solutions for Windows 7:

  • Restart your PC.
  • Charge your headphones.
  • Update the audio drivers. 
  • Set the headphones as a default device.

If none of this works, you can always try the solutions for Windows 8, 10, and 11. 

Headphones not working on Mac laptop: what to do?

Here are some solutions:

  • Clean the dust of the jack.
  • Restart your computer.
  • Restart the sound controller.
  • Hold the volume buttons while plugging the headphones back.
  • Disconnect other devices from your Mac: the sound may be redirected there.
  • Update the OS.
  • Set the audio output (Apple menu > System preferences > Sound > Output > Headphones > Uncheck the Mute box).

Headphones not working on Dell laptop: what to do?

Issues on Dell laptop have mostly the same solutions as for Windows 10 and Windows 11 - this is why we recommend trying the fixed suggested in those two previous sections. 

Another tip you can try is to open the Task Manager and check if Waves MaxxAudio entry is enabled on the Start-up tab.

Headphones not working on Lenovo laptop: what to do?

If your Lenovo laptop doesn't detect your headphones, you can try all the solutions listed for Windows 10 and Windows 11, namely running the Audio Troubleshooter and setting your headphones as the default device. Refer to those two sections for step-by-step tutorials.

Headphones not working on HP laptop: what to do?

When encountering this problem on an HP laptop, you should know that the same solutions as for Windows 10 and Windows 11 apply: you can find the complete list of fixes in the present article. 

You have more difficulties with your headphones? Ask our forum!

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