No Audio dell inspiron 6000

i have a dell insporion 6000 and i had sound before but now i have no sound and i have tried doing the control panel and doing all that is there something i can buy or download so i can get sound because when i hit sound it wont let me chose settings and it will beep really really loudly at me for hitting it so PLEASE HELP

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6 Replies
Jim Coates

Re: No Audio dell inspiron 6000

The Inspiron 6000 has the old AC '97 audio codec on the motherboard, so some of the things below don't apply to it. You don't have a sense pin, and you cannot restore back to the original factory configuration. If none of the steps below help resolve your problem, you can buy an external usb audio interface or usb sound card, but those will only work with headphones or external speakers. They will not play through the laptop's internal speakers.

I. General Steps to Resolve
Perform these general steps in any order

1. Configuration Settings

a. Make sure the volume is not turned down or the speakers muted. Open the Audio Properties and check each setting for proper configuration. In addition, each audio application or player you use will have its own settings. Use a common audio file player when testing audio, such as Windows Media Player instead of itunes for example, and play files from the hard drive, not off the internet. The idea is to keep it as simple as possible in order to reduce potential configuration issues and problems with the applications themselves.

b. Check the default audio device setting and make sure it is set to your device (Sigmatel, IDT or Realtek) and not usb audio, HDMI, etc..

2. Use System Restore
Windows System Restore backs up certain system files (exe, dll, etc) and also backs up the Registry and many drivers. Sometimes reverting back to an earlier Restore Point can fix a "no audio" problem. Using System Restore will not delete any data files.

 In XP, go to Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Restore
and tick 'Restore my computer to an earlier time'.  Choose a date before the problem first occurred.

In Vista and 7, type "System Restore" into the Start menu search box, and then, in the list of results, click System Restore.

3. Re-install the Audio Driver

a. Do a simple reinstall. Open the Device Manager and find the audio driver under Sound Controllers (it will be named Sigmatel, IDT, Realtec, or Crystal). Right click on it then click "uninstall" and do not select the option to delete the files. Restart the computer and Windows will reinstall the driver. The reason this process fixes some "no audio" problems is because it resets the driver configuration to its default settings.

b. Installl fresh driver files. Go to the Dell driver folder on the hard drive  [c:\dell\drivers\]
Expand all folders and all subfolders there. Delete all folders that have a subfolder named "WDM". Those will be the audio driver folders and it is safe to delete them.
Next download a new audio driver package. Go to the Driver & Downloads Home Page  and select your laptop model and the operating system that you are using. Then expand the 'Audio' category and download the audio driver named Sigmatel, IDT, or Realtec. Do not download anything named "Creative Labs" at this time. Next, unzip the files and install the driver. When you unzip the files they will be unpacked by default to a new folder on the hard drive at c:\dell\drivers\Rxxxxxx -- similar to the one(s) you deleted except that it will have fresh files and it will be the newest version of the driver if you did not already have that.

II. Diagnosing "No Audio"
If the general steps did not help, do a diagnostic analysis of the computer to discover the  problem area which is the cause of the symptom. Diagnosing "no audio" is a process of eliminating potential problem areas and eventually narrowing down to one problem area.

1. Hardware Diagnostics
These are tests that will narrow the problem area down to either the software or hardware. This is important to know because if the hardware is shot then no number of software solutions will fix the problem and will just just be a waste of time. When doing the tests do not use usb headphones or usb speakers. Those are separate audio devices which by-pass the laptop's own audio system which is the object of the tests.

a. Sense Pin Test. Connect headphones or external speakers to the output jack and listen for audio. The reason for this test is that if audio comes through the jack but not through the internal speakers, that is one of the symptoms of a failed sense pin in the jack which is a hardware problem that the audio tests in Dell Diagnostics will fail to detect, so you have to test for it specifically. If this test does produce audio from the jack but not the speakers then see the faq "Headphone Jack Works But No Audio From Speakers" to find out how to complete the diagnostic. Note however that the failed sense pin problem will only occur on Dell laptops with HD audio, not the old AC97 hardware codec.

b. Dell Diagnostics Audio Tests. These tests are designed to narrow the problem area down to either the hardware or software, and will detect the existence of any hardware failure except the failed sense pin mentioned above. If the computer cannot pass these tests then there is no need to attempt any software solutions. Do not confuse these tests with the PSA tests which will run first but will not definitively test the audio hardware. See the faq "Dell Diagnostics Audio Tests" for more details and instructions.

c. Original Factory Configuration. If the Dell Diagnostics audio tests cannot be run then an alternate test is to return  the computer to its original factory configuration. This is usually done as a last resort solution, but it is also a diagnostic tool because if it does restore audio functioning then the problem area was the software, and if it does not restore audio functioning then the problem area is the hardware. To return  the computer to its original factory configuration, use PC Restore for XP, or Factory Image Restore for Vista and 7. The instructions are in the Owner's Manuals and Setup Guides. Some models have DataSafe which can be used.
Note that there are 2 problems that this will not correct: the bad sense pin mentioned above, or a problem with bad firmware on an optical drive or other device, because the firmware is stored on the device itself. However bad firmware on a device will not cause the "no audio" problem that is the subject of this faq.

2. Headphone Jack. As explained above, a jack can have a failure of the sense pin. However that is not the only possible jack problem --  particularly on older models that do not have a sense pin.

3. Modem. In some models the modem can have a problem that interferes with the the audio system. 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. This issue is more likely to occur on older models.

4. Loose or Broken Speaker Wires. A connection to the speakers can be loose, or on some models the connection to the palm rest which houses the speakers can become loose and cause the speakers to stop working but still allowing the headphone jack to work. Wires are more likely to come loose than to break, but in a few models like the Inspiron 700m & 710m where the wires are routed through the hinges, the wires can pinch during the opening & closing of the display screen and break. Often you can hear some audio through the speakers when the screen is partially closed as the frayed wire ends make contact.

5. Speakers. The speakers themselves can stop working. This is somewhat rare but not unheard of. I don't know of a way to diagnose this other than by trying a different set of speakers.

III. Software Problems
If the laptop passes the hardware tests then logically the problem area is the software.

1.  Audio Driver
Often the driver is the cause of the "no audio" problem. This topic is complicated so I made a separate faq for it: Audio Driver Facts. It is divided into 12 sections.

  1. Basic Un-install & Re-installation
  2. How to Find and Delete the Driver Files
  3. Download a Fresh Copy of the Driver Files
  4. Download an Older Version of the Driver
  5. How to Fix a "File Not Found" Error When Downloading the Audio Driver
  6. How to Install the Generic Audio Driver
  7. How to Install the Audio Driver After Re-installing the Operating System
  8. You Installed Windows 7 But Can't Find a 7 Version of  Your HD Audio Driver
  9. You Installed Windows 7 But Can't Find a 7 Version of  Your AC97 Audio Driver
10. You Installed Windows Vista But Can't Find a Vista Version of  Your AC97 Audio Driver
11. You Installed Windows XP But Can't Find an XP Version of  Your Audio Driver
12. Crystal Drivers for Inspirons 8200 & 2650, Latitude C840, Precision M50

Note that If there is no audio after reinstalling Windows operating system it is usually because the drivers were not installed in the correct order. Skip the other sections of the fact and go directly to Section 7.

2. Windows Operating System Problems
I am not a Windows expert and do not know all that can go wrong with it, but here are a few things that can adversely affect audio.

a.  Audio Service
This has to be running to get any audio. 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.

b. Windows Audio Endpoint Builder
If you try to start Windows Audio Service and get an error message about the Audio Endpoint Builder, it may because of a failed installtion of the Creative Labs software that can be downloaded from the driver pages of some of the laptop models. This software has several names, similar to "Integrated Sound Blaster Audigy Advanced HD Audio". The software should be removed but that alone will not solve the problem.Create a System Restore point, then Go to Start>Run and type regedit to open the Registry editor. Navigate to

and in the DependOnService line remove all entries except RpcSs [double click on the line DependOnService to open the edit box for that line] and then restart the computer.

c. 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 and check that 'Plug and Play Software Device Enumerator' is installed and running. It will be listed alphabetically if there.

d. Automatic Updates
Windows Automatic Updates is a Microsoft service that runs in the background and installs security updates and other enhancements into your computer. In the past occassionally some of those changes have led to a permanent state of "no audio" until Windows was re-installed. My own solution is to have the updates set to "ask me" each time for permission to download or install any changes. I only allow security updates to be installed.

e. Viruses
Windows is vulnerable to viruses and malware.Run an anti-virus program and have it routinely scan for viruses. Keep the Windows firewall turned on. Keep the Microsoft security patches up to date.


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

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Bay Wolf

Re: No Audio dell inspiron 6000

Jim, that is an excellent troubleshooting guide!


Forum Member since 2000

Please share your experience with the forum.

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Jim Coates

Re: No Audio dell inspiron 6000

Thanks. It is a re-write of my earlier diagnostic guide, The "No Audio" Symptom FAQ. I am in the process of re-writing the faq but still some rough edges so the above is not yet the finished product.

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

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Bay Wolf

Re: No Audio dell inspiron 6000

I hope you don't mind that I steal (borrow) it until you get the finished product done.


Forum Member since 2000

Please share your experience with the forum.

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Jim Coates

Re: No Audio dell inspiron 6000

Sure. I wrote the faqs more as a resource for forum regulars who lack a specialized knowledge of laptop audio than for visitors to this board. For them too of course but some of the faqs might be too detailed for someone with only a casual interest.

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

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Re: No Audio dell inspiron 6000

I am in the process of re-writing the faq but still some rough edges so the above is not yet the finished product.

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