It is a common issue when after updating your Windows or installing it on a laptop or desktop, your devices cannot play any sounds. Even though something is definitely off, the speaker icon on the taskbar seems to be ok. Furthermore, the Device Manager tool for Windows 10 indicates that your sound controller «is working properly» and its drivers do not need updates.
In most cases (but not always), you can see that your sound controller in the Device Manager menu is shown as «High Definition Audio» device. This is the easiest way to tell that you are missing proper drivers for your sound controller. Usually, it happens with sound chips by Realtek, Conexant SmartAudio HD, VIA HD Audio as well as on Asus and Sony laptops.
Installing audio drivers for Windows 10
What can you do to fix this problem? Here is a tested and easy method that will most likely help you. Just follow these simple steps:
1. Open a browser and search for «your_laptop_model support» or «your_motherboard_name support.» We would strongly advise against searching for drivers on chip manufacturer websites, for example, Realtek. You need to find sound drivers written specifically for your device, not for the audio chip.
2. Find the audio drivers you need to download in the support section. You may find drivers for previous Windows versions – those are fine as well. Just remember that those drivers you are downloading must match your operating system – whether it is a 32-bit or 64-bit version.
3. Download and install the drivers.
It looks very simple indeed, but even after doing this, some users won’t get positive results and nothing changes with sound. It happens because the driver installation wizard just cannot install drivers on your device (it can be checked in the Device Manager menu). You may not even receive a notification that something is wrong in some cases.
There are several ways to solve this audio problem:
- You can set the Compatibility Mode settings for the sound driver install wizard to run as Windows 7 or 8. This works in most cases. We see it as the best option for installing Via HD Audio and Conexant SmartAudio on laptops (Compatibility Mode set to Windows 7).
- Delete your sound card (from the Device Manager menu called «Sound, video and game controllers») and all devices from the menu named «Audio inputs and outputs» (if possible – with all drivers). After doing that, you should immediately run the audio driver install wizard (in both – standard and Compatibility Modes). If drivers fail to install again, then you should look for the «Action» menu and click «Scan for hardware changes.»
- If it does help and gets the older driver installed, then proceed and right-click on your sound device and select «Update Driver Software,» then «Browse my computer for driver software.» In the next menu, you will be able to check the list of installed device drivers on your PC that can be compatible with your sound controller.
Even if you cannot find official drivers for your sound controller, we still recommend you to try the second option on the list above – remove all sound device in the Device Manager and scan hardware changes.
Playback devices in Windows 10 and their settings
Some users can forget to check parameters of playback devices in Windows 10. While this is a thing that should not be neglected. This is how you can do that:
1. Right-click on the speaker icon on your taskbar and select the «Playback devices» menu. Alternatively, you can go to the Windows settings and search for a setting for sound.
2. Make sure that you have your main playback device set as default. If it is not, then right-click on the right one and select «Set as Default Device.»
3. If your speakers or headphones are set as default device already, then just right-click on them and select «Properties». Then go to the «Enhancements»
4. Check «Disable all sound effects».
These sound effects could be the reason for blocking audio playback. After completing all the steps mentioned above, you should check maybe your sound is fixed already.
How to fix other sound issues in Windows 10: low sound volume, audio distortion, automatic volume changes
Sometimes when you get your sound back, you may find that it is not played correctly. It may be stuttering, be to low (what is more, Windows changes volume automatically), and other problems of this nature. We give you a few solutions to the most popular issues with sound.
- Go to the «Playback devices» menu using one of the methods we described above.
- Right-click on the sound device you are using right now and have issues with. Click on the «Properties»
- Go to the «Enhancements» tabs and check «Disable all sound effects.» Clicking the «Apply» button will bring you back to the list of playback devices.
- Now go to the «Communications» tab and uncheck volume reducing options by setting it to «Do nothing.»
Apply all these new settings and check if your sound problem is still here. If it didn’t work, here is another method that might work. Go to the Device Manager menu, select your sound controller, go to its properties, update drivers, and install «non-native» audio driver (can be selected from the list of the installed driver software). Windows 10 automatically suggest compatible drivers, so you can choose one to see if it works. Sometimes installing «non-native» drives fixes audio problems such as sound distortion and stuttering.
In addition to everything we mentioned above, we would advise you to check if your Windows Audio service is up and running (press Win+R, type services.msc, find the name of the service on the list and make sure that it is active and its startup type is set to «Automatic»).