So I got a microphone the other day, it wasn't working on my laptop, so I decided to download the Dell audio driver to make sure I hadn't missed an update or anything. It didn't make the microphone work (it was a cheap *** mic anyway), I wasn't super surprised by that. What DID surprise me was after downloading Dell's driver, from Dell's own site, the audio coming from my speakers was cut by about 2/3rds. So now playing any audio has to be done at 80 - 100% volume rather than 20 - 30% like before. Is there any way I can fix this? After all, it only happened AFTER using Dell's provided software.
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Is there any way I can fix this?
If the audio driver you installed is the Realtek driver, go to the Device Manager (type device manager into the Windows search box), expand the Sound Controllers category, and right click on Realtek High Definition Audio Device, to open the context menu.
Click on Properties, then the "driver" tab at the top, then "rollback driver". That process should undo the new driver installation and re-install your previous driver. If that does not work for some reason, you should be able to do it by using Windows System Restore if there is a restore point dated before you installed the new driver.
The "rollback driver" feature is there just because it is not uncommon for new drivers, which are basically untested software, to cause problems. Because audio drivers are more finicky than most drivers, I don't recommend updating one unless there is a problem.
About the mic, if your laptop has a single combo audio port (I don't know because I don't know its full model name -- there are five or six i17 5000 models), then it won't work with a regular computer mic -- only with a smart phone headset mic.