How to Troubleshoot your Computer Audio System

Long time ago, computers needed expensive and complex audio cards just to reproduce low quality (for today’s standards) audio files. Those days are gone, gladly, and now we can get great sound even in somehow cheap PCs, most of the time however.

But if your sound just happened to stop working, go through these steps to fix it easily.

First: restart your computer.  So you make sure the problem wasn´t you run out of RAM memory, or the processor overheated, and some other problems, you should try this first always.

Check the switches: No seriously, you may inadvertently turn your speakers off, kick the cord of the bocines, turn all the volume down, or unplug your headphones. This is the second most important check in the list.

Run the troubleshooter. In Windows 10 you do it by typing audio troubleshooter In the search box on the taskbar, select Fix and find problems with playing sound from the results, and then click Next.

You may select between many devices that play audio, speakers, headsets and more. then the troubleshooter will do the magic for you.

Reinstall drivers. Get the newest drivers available for your device. You can either install them automatically or manually.

In windows 10, just In the search box on the taskbar, type device manager, then select it from the results.

Select the arrow next to Sound, video and game controllers to expand it. Right-click the listing to find your sound card or audio device, such as headphones or speakers, select Update driver, then select Search automatically for updated driver software

If you don’t find the correct driver, go to the device manufacturer website to download it. Some of them like Dell and  Realtek Audio have created apps to keep your drivers up to date, as well as offering packages with just the driver you need.

Turn your device as the default audio device. Long story short, your pc may be sending the audio output to a device that is not there, missing to send any signals to your headset. To fix this, type control panel In the search box on the taskbar, then select it from the results. 

Select Hardware and Sound from the Control Panel, and then select Sound. On the Playback tab, right-click the listing for your audio device, select Set as Default Device, and then select OK.

Reset your PC. I know, I suggested that first. But if you just got this far, odds are that you´ve made some changes in your settings, installed some drivers, etc. Some of these actions need a restart to take place, so do it again and test your audio devices.

Last tip: double-check your privacy settings. Some years ago a friend heard that Facebook spy on him via his microphone, and mess with his privacy settings to stop it. 

It turned out that he was right on the spying, but he needed to use his microphone anyway, but it became useless for him as well. The sound solution was to go to the Start menu, settings, privacy, and then turn on the  Allow access to the microphone on this device. 

This setting is usually globally set, so another user of your PC or a sysadmin may get it wrong, so checking it is no bad idea always check your Realtek Audio driver for updated support. 

My friend is ok: he now uses a foil hat, but you may as well navigate away from Facebook while discussing important stuff, it doubles as a productivity hack.

Restore your PC to a restore point where it worked.

Everything else failed? well, maybe it is time to restore your PC. If it was working fine last week, maybe an update mess with it. Don´t worry, restores can keep your files as they are (but backing them is a great idea, nonetheless).