I have no sound on my laptop. It was making a crackling sound, so I turned my sound off. Now it won't turn back on or do anything. I went to control panel to the sound section it says there is "No Audio Device". When it went out there was a icon that poped up on my desktop "hs_err_pid4020_Notepad.
I'm not familiar with that error code. You might want to state the model of your Inspiron. Meanwhile here is my troubleshooting list. I suggest you perform #2 through #9.
1. Check the volume. Open Audio Properties (right click on the volume icon on the taskbar, or go through the Control Panel/Sounds & Audio Devices). Select the Audio tab. Click on 'Volume' under 'Sound Playback'. Also check the volume control of the audio apps or players you use.
2. Try System Restore. Go to Start/Help & Support/System Restore and tick 'Restore my computer to an earlier time'.
3. Run Dell Diagnostics audio test. If that fails then it is a hardware problem which would need to be fixed by Dell, or you could get an external soundcard. To run Diagnostics restart, 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.
4. The audio drivers might be corrupted. There is no way to tell if the drivers are corrupted except by uninstalling and reinstalling them and then trying to use your audio again. Go to Control Panel/System/Hardware/Device Manager. Find the audio driver under Sound Controllers and 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 drivers for it. If this wizard does not appear, reinstall a new driver manually.
5. Re-install drivers manually. If you do not have the 'Drivers and Utilities' cd then
> Look above in the blue bar and hoover mouse on 'Notebooks', then click on 'Inspiron' and then on 'Drivers & Downloads'.
> Enter your Service Tag number and click on the arrow next to the number. (If you don't know your Service Tag number then leave that box blank and instead select your Product model from the 2 dropdown boxes.) Click on the arrow.
> On the next page select your operating system and system language. Click 'Find downloads'.
> The next page will have a list of all of the drivers and some applications that Dell is currently providing for the model and operating system you selected. Click on 'Audio Drivers'.
6. If the driver won't install, physically remove the modem and again try installing the driver. This tip comes from AussieChris, a regular on the Audio board and a technician, who discovered that on some models with a bad modem the drivers won't install. Chris says, "The symptoms range from saying no audio hardware present, to running with no sound. Typical is the audio icon goes away, and the settings are greyed out." If you are able to install the driver after removing the modem then you might need to replace the modem.
7. In Services (Start/Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Services) check that Windows Audio is enabled, set to automatic, and running. Audio won't work without this Service.
8. In Device Manager (Start/Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Computer Management/System Tools/Device Manager/System Devices) check that 'Plug and Play Software Device Enumerator' is installed and running. It will be listed alphabetically if there. If not , then you need to reinstall it.
9. Go to Start/Run and type in sndvol32.exe to make sure the system mixer is installed and running. The audio drivers won't stay installed without this application being installed and running correctly.
10. If you have performed an OS reinstallation, you have to install Dell Notebook System Software (find it under System & Configuration Utilities), then Intel Mobile Chipset (find under Chipset), then the audio and other drivers. Find all of these on your downloads page.
Tip from rpilT2005: If still having problems installing the driver, check in the Device Manager for a "PCI Device" with a yellow question mark next to it, under the "System Devices" grouping. Hit 'update driver' on that one, and it should find a driver.
Jim Coates -- 14 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04
Have you checked to see if you can get sound through head phones. If you can and you are good on the audio side of a Diagonastic test, then you may have to reset you laptop back to factory settings, WARNING make sure you back up any files you have on your computer that you may want later.