Fix sound problems in Windows 10 and get the audio working again

Poor sound on your desktop or laptop PC? No sound? Here are the fixes

If the sound is poor or does not work at all in Windows 10, what can you do? Follow these steps and hopefully they will restore the audio to full health. Fix sound problems fast.

Problems with the sound in Windows can sometimes appear after an operating system update. These tips and tweaks will fix the audio if it is not working.

Windows 10 was a massive update that changed almost everything in the operating system. There have also been several big updates to Windows 10, including the Anniversary Update and Creator’s Update.

Any one of these big updates could cause problems with the sound on your desktop computer or laptop because old drivers might be incompatible, replaced or even deleted. Audio software might be removed too. Windows 10 disables apps it thinks will not work, but is it always right?

Here are the steps you need to take to get the sound working again.

Configure the speakers

There may be settings related to the speakers that can solve audio problems and it is the first place to start when trying to figure out what is wrong.

Right click the speaker icon at the right side of the taskbar and select Open Volume Mixer. This has sliders for things like the speakers and system sounds. Check that all the sliders are at the top for maximum volume.

Right click the speaker icon again and this time select Playback Devices. Select Speakers. There are two buttons - Configure and Properties. Select Configure and go through the setup steps.

Afterwards, select Properties and check each tab. The Enhancements tab might help to improve the sound and it is worth experimenting with the settings.

Speakers Properties in Windows settings

Check for newer audio drivers

  1. Right click the Start button and select Device Manager
  2. Expand the Audio inputs and outputs section
  3. Right click Speakers and select Update driver
  4. Click Search automatically for updated driver software
  5. Expand Sound, video and game controllers
  6. Right click High Definition Audio Device and select Update driver
  7. Click Search automatically for updated driver software

Update Windows drivers using Device Manager

This method searches Windows Update for drivers and these are the safest and most compatible to use. They work on most computers. However, they may not be the latest or the most feature-packed.

Advanced driver update

Utilities to find and install drivers for the hardware inside your computer are available and Driver Booster from IObit is one example. Download IObit Driver Booster Free and run the installer.

Do not click Accept and Install. Click the Custom Install link. Make sure there are no bundled extras and if you see any, opt out.

Run Driver Booster and scan the system. Do not click Fix All in the pop-up window and do not click Update Now in the main program window. Not yet anyway.

Clear the ticks against all the items to deselect them and look specifically for audio drivers. If you see one, click the Available link and then click Update.

Driver Booster Free downloads and installs updated drivers in Windows

It is best if only one driver at a time is updated and any drivers that are working OK should be left alone (if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!) Restart Windows if any drivers are updated.

Check the manufacturer’s site

The computer manufacturer might have bundled specific audio software with the computer and this may be available as a download from the website. I can’t give specific details and URLs because there are so many computer brands and models.

However, it should not be difficult finding the manufacturer’s site and once there, look in the support section or search for your computer model. Many PC suppliers make it easy to find drivers and software these days.

If you are not sure what model your computer is, turn it off and look for labels and logos. They could be on the front, back, side or base. In Windows 10 press Windows+I to open Settings and click System. Select About on the left and the computer model can often be found on the right.

View the computer model in the Settings app in Windows 10

If there are no drivers or no audio software for Windows 10 at the PC manufacturer’s website, try the drivers for Windows 8.1. They are not guaranteed to work, but sometimes they do and many Windows 8.1 drivers are compatible with Windows 10.

Sometimes Windows 10 blocks old software or drivers because it is not compatible and there isn’t much you can do about it.

Run a troubleshooter

Windows contains troubleshooters, which are utilities that check for problems, mainly with the hardware, and fix them. Well, they try to fix them and sometimes they do, but not always.

  1. Type ‘Control Panel’ into the search box on the taskbar and then click Control Panel in the results
  2. Switch to Small icons view if necessary and click Troubleshooting
  3. Click View All
  4. Run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter
  5. Run the Recording Audio troubleshooter

Windows 10 Creator’s Update has put troubleshooters in the Settings app.

Troubleshooters in the Windows 10 Settings app

  1. Press Windows+I to open Settings
  2. Click Update & security
  3. Select Troubleshoot on the left
  4. Click Playing Audio
  5. Click Run the troubleshooter
  6. Click Hardware and Devices troubleshooter
  7. Run it

Buy some speakers

People with thin and light laptops and hybrid computers, such as laptops with removable screens so they can be used in tablet mode often have audio problems.

No amount of tweaking of software and updating of drivers can compensate for the tiny speakers in these computers. If the sound is poor then maybe you need a set of powered speakers. There are speakers that can plug into the headphone socket, USB or even connect wirelessly, such as through Bluetooth.

There are a wide range of speaker systems for computers and prices range from $20 to $2,000, depending on your budget and the audio quality required.

External speakers make a huge difference to the sound. Browse Amazon and other online stores and you will find dozens of models.

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