Knowledge Base

Sound Problems in Microsoft Windows


Table of Contents:

  1. Troubleshoot Windows Sound Problems
  2. Check Speaker Connections
  3. Update Drivers
  4. Run a Computer Diagnostic
  5. Update Windows
  6. Microphone Troubleshooting

This article helps to resolve audio and audio recording issues on a Windows-based computer.


Step 1: Troubleshoot Windows Sound Problems

Dell Recommended: Microsoft has created a detailed step-by-step troubleshooter for common audio problems. The troubleshooter detects the version of Windows your computer is running and adapts troubleshooting to match.

Run the Sound Troubleshooter

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Step 2: Check Speaker Connections

Make sure that the computer speakers are connected correctly. Refer to the User Guide for your specific speakers for information on connections.

Note: To access User guides, browse to the Dell Product Page. Under Enter your Service Tag, enter the information. Under Product Support, click on drop down for Manuals. For information on how to locate Service Tag, click here.

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Step 3: Update Drivers and BIOS

Drivers and BIOS settings can often be the cause of minor issues when playing back sound. Be sure to update your drivers regularly to take full advantage of your computer.

Get the Latest Drivers for Your Dell Computer!

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Step 4: Run a Computer Diagnostic

To determine if your computer is experiencing a hardware problem, run the Dell Preboot System Assessment (PSA) Diagnostics. For information on how to run Diagnostics, and to determine the issue, refer to Dell Knowledge Base Article Pre-Boot System Assessment (PSA) Diagnostics Error Codes


Step 5: Update Windows

Be sure that your computer is running with the latest updates for Windows. Visit the Windows Update website to be sure your computer is fully updated.

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Step 6: Microphone Troubleshooting

If your microphone is not producing sound, check under the specific version of Windows listed below for troubleshooting steps:


Windows 7:

Dell Recommended: Microsoft has created a detailed step-by-step troubleshooter for common audio recording problems in Windows 7. Click the Fix-it link below to begin the troubleshooter.
Run the Audio Recording Troubleshooter


Windows Vista/Windows XP:

Test the Microphone

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Sound Recorder.
    In Windows XP, you will need to select Multimedia (or Entertainment).
  2. Click the Record button, and speak into the microphone.
    The green waveform should react to your voice.
  3. To end the recording, click Stop.
  4. To hear your recording, click the Play button.

Check physical connections

  1. Verify that the microphone is connected to the red microphone jack for the sound card on the back of the computer and not the microphone jack for the modem. The microphone will not record if it is connected to the Mic jack on the modem.
  2. Test the microphone on another computer using Sound Recorder as in Step 1.

Check the volume control and mute properties.

  1. Double-click the Speaker icon in the System Tray.
  2. Make sure the Volume Controls (or Master Out controls) are at least midway on all levels.
  3. Make sure there are no checks in the Mute boxes.
  4. Test the microphone using Sound Recorder as in Step 1.

Set Recording to Mic/Microphone

  1. Double-click the Speaker icon in the System Tray
  2. Click Options in the menu at the top of the window.
  3. Click Properties.
  4. Choose Recording in the Adjust Volume For section. Do not choose Playback in the Adjust Volume for section. Choosing Playback in conjunction with unmuting the mic may cause loud feedback during recordings.
  5. Ensure that Mic/Microphone has a checkmark next to it.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Test the microphone using Sound Recorder as in Step 1.

Reinstall Sound, Video and Game Controller Drivers

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click System and then click the Device Manager tab.
  3. Click the plus (+) sign next to Sound, Video and Game Controllers.
  4. Click each entry one at a time and then click Remove, repeating the steps until the Sound, Video and Game Controllers category is removed.
  5. Close all open windows.
  6. Reboot the computer.
    The sound card will be detected and you will be prompted to reinstall its drivers.
  7. Test the microphone using Sound Recorder as in Step 1.

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Article ID: SLN146399

Last Date Modified: 10/31/2014 05:32 AM


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