my sound wont work

I have an inspiron 600. My volume wont work to play any sounds, but I know the speakers are working beacuse when i click on something wrong it beeps at me. I try to click on the volume control and it is light grey, as though not an option, it says the system is workign fine, when I trouble shoot, but I cant hear anythign, my mute button is not on as far as I know, can anyone help me?
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Jim Coates

Re: my sound wont work

Here are some things to check. Please go through this and if you still need help then post which steps you took to try to resolve your problem, and the specific results you got. Always give the Windows operating system (XP, Vista, etc.) whenever you start a new thread.

Software Issues.

There are 3 categories of issues: involving the Audio Driver, Windows, or a Configuration Setting.

1. Audio Driver.

This is the main 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. Go to Control Panel/System/Hardware/Device Manager. Find the audio driver under Sound Controllers, right click on the driver, and then click Uninstall. Shut down the computer then restart. Windows should automatically detect your device and display a wizard that helps you reinstall the driver for it.

Or you can download a new audio driver from your downloads page under 'Audio Drivers'. Your audio driver will be named Sigmatel. Don't download anything with the name 'Creative' or 'Audigy' at this time; that is a software enhancement for some of the laptops, it is not your audio driver.

To find your downloads page use the 'Drivers and Downloads' link on the left, in the bottom section named 'Dell Support Tools'.

2. Windows.

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.

Audio Service. Go to Services (Start/Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Services) and check that Windows Audio is enabled, set to automatic, and running. Audio won't work without this Service turned on.

3. Configuration Settings.

Open Audio Properties (right click on the volume icon on the system tray and click 'Adjust Audio Properties', or go through the Control Panel/Sounds & Audio Devices). Select the Audio tab. Click on 'Volume' under 'Sound Playback'. Make sure volumes are turned up and the mute boxes are not checked.
In addition, each audio application or player you use will have its own settings. Check the volume control on each app and any other settings they might have.

Hardware Failure

To check for defective hardware on the motherboard, run Dell Diagnostics audio test. If the test fails then there is a hardware problem that would need to be fixed by Dell. Usually the fix is to replace the motherboard.

To run Diagnostics restart the computer and as soon as it starts to boot up hold down f12. Select 'Diagnostic' from the boot menu. It will run some tests for a couple of minutes before the Diagnostic comes up. When it does select 'custom', then the audio test. This will test your audio system independently of Windows and drivers. 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 Diagnostics option isn't shown in the boot menu (f12), run it from the Drivers and Utilities (Resource) CD if you have one. If you don't, you can download the Diagnostic from your downloads page under 'Diagnostic Utilities'.]

The Diagnostic 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. It can't pinpoint the exact component that has gone bad but that doesn't matter because the 'repair' is to replace the motherboard with a new one (if you are still under warranty), so all possible defective parts are replaced. If you are no longer under warranty, the best workaround in this situation is to get an external soundcard.


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

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