Hi, I have a Dell Inspiron 600m. Tonight, as I was wathching a DVD on my laptop, the sound zapped off for no reason. I can't seem to get it back on; I tried to reinstall the sound driver to no avail. I also tried restarting the computer and that didnt help either. Any suggestions??
1. System Restore. Go to Start/Help & Support/System Restore and tick 'Restore my computer to an earlier time'. Try to get the Registry back to a time before the problem first occurred.
2. Listen through both speakers and then headphones to determine if one is working. If no sound through either then test with Dell Diagnostics.
3. To run Diagnostics restart the computer and as soon as it starts to boot up hold down f12. Select 'Diagnostic' from the boot menu. The computer will run its pre-boot assessment tests for 3 or 4 minutes before the Dell Diagnostic starts. These pre-boot tests play some beeps and tones through the system speaker but this doesn't test the rest of the audio hardware, so you still need to let Dell Diagnostics run after the pre-boot tests finish.
When Dell Diagnostics opens, select 'custom', then the audio test. This 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 do hear the audio that means the hardware is okay but there is a problem with the software or configuration.
Click on the + sign next to 'Audio Drivers'. Download it but before installing it 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.
Jim Coates -- 14th year on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04