You turn on your computer with the intention to listen to some great music or to a watch a super hit movie of the latest release, but suddenly your hope starts to fade away as you realize your computer is not producing any sound! Well, this can happen occasionally and there could be several reasons why this would happen. If you have the patience and a little bit of basic knowledge on computer repair and troubleshooting, often you can fix this sort of problem on your own.
Why Sound Problem Occurs?
Every computer needs a sound processing technology installed or embedded into your system that can modulate and demodulate audio signals of different media into a PC recognizable format. This sound processing technology comes in the forms of a sound card or an integrated sound device. For desktop computers, a separate sound card is normally used and inserted into a PC slot that is attached to the motherboard (main circuit board inside your PC).
In a laptop, there is no sound card, instead they come with a built in sound processing systems within the motherboard. Often that is the reason why you wouldn’t get Hi-Fidelity sounds in laptops because of its limited capability.
But in desktops, you can use any type of sound cards based on your needs, and some of the available sound cards today with simulated surround sound capability, crystallizers and dynamic processors can produce amazing sounds of professional studio quality that will rock your home computing environment. You also need great speakers or headphones hooked up into your sound card, so that the sound that is being generated inside the PC could be channeled into your ear with significant enhancement. A sound card generally has several I/O ports and when you are plugging your speaker, you need to make sure it is going into the right port where it is really supposed to go. Otherwise, you would be left with the “sound of silence”!
Main Sound Problems
Root causes for sounds not being generated in your PC are as follows:
- There is no sound card in your PC, sound card is not properly inserted into the slot, audio cable of the CD/DVD drive is not connected to the sound card or the sound card has gone out of order.
- Sound drivers are not properly installed in your system.
- Speakers are not properly connected to the sound card.
- Speaker is out of order or speaker cables are bad.
- Speaker or Microphone sound is muted in your sound control panel.
How to Identify and Fix PC Sound Problem?
Different people, based on their level of expertise, will take different measures to try and fix any computer problem. I normally try out the easy and pragmatic steps first than heading for a more complex route immediately. Let’s follow some of the following activities to identify and fix the “no sound” problem of your PC;
#1. A Fresh Restart to Get The Sound Working Again
Always do a fresh restart – It takes care of the problem most of the time.
#2. Check Your Sound Connections
If no use, check that your speakers are connected to the right port in the sound card. Every audio cord, whether it is from the speakers or the headphone, will have at least two cords – a) One output cord to bring sounds from the PC to the speaker so that the speaker can boost it and you can hear what your computer generates and b) One input cord to stream in your voice or any other sound to the PC through a microphone or another external device. Therefore, to hear sound generated by your computer, you need to make sure the output cord (often marked with a headphone symbol on it) is connected to the output port of the sound card.
#3. Is Sound Muted?
If connections are perfect, click on the speaker symbol on your taskbar as shown in image 1 and check that your speakers are not muted. If muted, unselect the mute option – that should bring back the audio feature.
#4. Check Device Manager
If nothing has changed, let’s head straight to the PC’s control panel – and then device manager like we have done several times in the past. And then expand “Sound, video and game controllers” under device manager as shown in image 2. You will see your sound card listed there with the manufacturer’s name like “Creative Sound Blaster 16”, or “Asus Sound Card” etc depending on the card you have, provided you have a desktop PC. If you have laptop, then you will see something like what is showing right now in the image 2.
#5. Sound Card Connection
If you see nothing at all under “Sound, video and game controllers” – It means there is no sound card getting detected in your PC or there is a major problem in the main motherboard. If that is the case, either you open the CPU box and check if the sound card is properly inserted into the slot or try another slot right next to it, then reboot and recheck in the device manager or you can call your computer specialist to check it out for you.
#6. Audio Driver Problem
If the sound card is detected but there is an exclamation mark with a yellow tattoo on it, it means problem with the sound driver. In Windows XP, right click on the sound card – select “properties” – “driver” – and then “update driver”. In Windows 7, you can do the same by right clicking on the sound card and then – “update driver”. You need to have the software CD that came with your sound card inserted into your CD or DVD drive to do this. Your software CD might have an “Autorun” program that will automatically launch the driver and related software installation program. You can go ahead in that way also after aborting from the control panel.
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Once the driver is installed, you should reboot the PC. If no error massage was generated during the installation process, the exclamation sign with the yellow mark has gone for good, and the card’s property says “this device is working properly”, then you are all set to get sound! Even then, sometimes you need to increase the speaker volume or recheck the cable connections. You may have a faulty speaker cable also. You may try with a new cable or another set of speakers or a headphone just to make sure you are not fooling around with a silly mistake there.
#7. Faulty Sound Card
If doing all that didn’t change anything at all, and your sound card is still showing error in device manager, you probably have a faulty sound card! In that case, you know what to do – replace the trouble maker with a groovy latest model sound card. To test this you can take out your sound card and try the onboard sound, if your computer has this option. You can also add another sound card into the computer to test. If you have a laptop it is simply best to take it straight to a professional to test.
No Sound When You Play a CD in Your Computer
It also happens that you are getting sound in your PC but when you play an audio file from your CD/DVD drive, you won’t hear anything. This is because your CD/DVD drive’s audio cable is not plugged into your sound card! You have to take the CPU cover off and connect the audio cable coming out of the CD/DVD drive to the designated pins on your sound card. You can always refer to the user manual of your sound card to see how that is done.