Missing volume icon on taskbar

Inspiron 1150.  One day I noticed that the volume icon was missing from my taskbar so I went to the control panel to adjust the volume and everything on the "volume" tab under Sounds and Audio Devices is dimmed so I can't even adjust it.  Has anyone experienced this before and would anyone have any suggestions where to begin to bring back the icon.  Thanks!!

5 Replies

Re: Missing volume icon on taskbar

Did you try right clicking on taskbar and go to properties..on the tabs on top go to Notification area and make sure volume is checked? Just a thought..

Good Luck!

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Re: Missing volume icon on taskbar

Hey sparkles,

I tried doing that and only "hide inactive icons" and "show clock" is there.  What gets me is that I can't even access the volume through the control panel.  I'll keep trying. Thanks!


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Jim Coates

Re: Missing volume icon on taskbar


Mike, assuming your operating system is XP and that you have not recently reformatted the hard drive, here are some things to check.

> System Restore
First try using System Restore to get the Registry back to a time before the problem first occurred. Go to

Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Restore
and tick 'Restore my computer to an earlier time'. 

> Audio Driver
Often this is the cause of problems. It might be not installed, incompletely installed, or corrupted. Often there is no way to tell if the driver is defective except by uninstalling and reinstalling it and then trying to use your audio again.

First delete the audio driver files from your computer to ensure a clean new driver installation. Go to the "Add/Remove Programs" in the Control Panel and remove the current "Sigmatel" if it is there in the list of programs and restart the computer.

Next download and install a new audio driver from the 1150 driver downloads page. Expand the 'Audio' category and download the driver named Sigmatel STAC9750.

(An easier method but sometimes not as good, is to go to Control Panel/System/Hardware/Device Manager. Find the audio driver under Sound Controllers, right click on it, and then click Uninstall. Restart the computer. Windows should automatically detect your device and display a wizard that helps you reinstall the driver for it.)



If the new driver will not install, there are several things to consider:

> Dell Diagnostics Interactive Audio Test
Run Dell Diagnostics interactive audio test to check for defective hardware on the motherboard. To run Diagnostics restart the computer and as soon as it starts to boot up tap f12. Select 'Diagnostic' from the boot menu. The computer will run its pre-boot self assessment tests (PSA) before the Dell Diagnostic starts. These PSA tests play some beeps and tones through the system speaker but this doesn't test the rest of the audio hardware adequately, so you still need to let Dell Diagnostics run after the PSA tests. (Dell Diagnostics plays an instrumental piece of music complete with drums, so if you only hear some tones then you have only run the PSA.)

When Dell Diagnostics opens, select 'custom', then the audio test. It will test your audio system independently of Windows and drivers, meaning it doesn't matter if they are working correctly or not. Alternate between using headphones and listening to speakers in case only one is working.

[If you have ever reformatted your hard drive then the Diagnostics partition might have been wiped off. If the Dell Diagnostics option fails to open, run it from the Drivers and Utilities (Resource) CD if you have one.]

Dell Diagnostics will play some audio and ask you whether you heard it. If you answer 'no' then the test generates an error code that means you indicated you did not hear the sounds it played, but it doesn't pinpoint the exact component that has gone bad. If you don't hear the music during the test it definitely means there is a hardware failure somewhere in the system. In this case Dell will repair the computer if it is still under warranty.

If you do hear the audio that means the hardware is okay but there is a problem with the software or configuration.

If the audio test passes but you get error messages when you attempt to re-install the audio driver, there are a few things to check:

> Audio Service
Go to Start/Run and type "services.msc" then hit the 'Enter' key (or click 'ok'). The Services window will appear. Scroll down until you find "Windows Audio" towards the bottom of the list. Check that it is enabled, set to automatic, and running. If it isn't, double click on it and change the Startup type to Automatic, then click Start, Apply, and OK.

> Software Device Enumerator
 If you get a message like "no audio device detected" or "driver is enabled but has not been started", go into the Device Manager (Start/Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Computer Management/System Tools/Device Manager/System Devices) and check that 'Plug and Play Software Device Enumerator' is installed and running. It will be listed alphabetically if there.

> Modem
In some models the modem can have an undetectable problem that prevents the audio from working properly. AussieChris, a regular on the Audio board and a technician, first told me about this. Symptoms include inability to get the audio driver to install, getting an error message saying no audio hardware present, and audio properties settings being grayed out. To test this you have to physically remove the modem, not just uninstall the driver. With the modem removed, try again to install the audio driver. If the audio works after removing the modem then you might need to replace it.


Jim Coates -- 14 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

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RE: Missing volume icon on taskbar

Inspiron 17R 5737 I have the same problem, I opened the notification icon area and the volume icon doesn't show the little speaker. I clicked turn system icons on or off at the bottom and the volume button is the only one dimmed and unable to turn on. I don't know where to get help about it.

RE: Missing volume icon on taskbar

I just fixed mine now. I opened my System Mechanic and went to history clicked undo on registry optimization for the past few days prior, restarted my PC and got it back.
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