How to Find Information on a Computer's Sound Card

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One of the most common problems that can confront you when setting up a computer is the mysterious disappearance of sound coming from its sound or audio card. And, many times, the solution isn't as simple as just checking to make sure your speakers are attached correctly.

In Windows XP and Vista

  • Click on the "Start" button on your desktop.

  • Proceed to "All Programs," "Accessories" and "System Tools."

  • Navigate to "System Information," click on it and then click on the "+" next to "Components." This expands to list all of the components installed on your computer.

  • Locate "Sound Device," and click on it. This displays all of the information on your sound card including drivers, the manufacturer, the type of card it is and other pertinent information. An "OK" should be displayed next to the status of your sound card. If not, contact the manufacturer to resolve the problem.

In Older Versions of Windows

Digging Deeper

  • Call up the "Control Panel" after clicking on the "Start" button.

  • Select the "System" icon and then "Device Manager."

  • Look for "Sound, Video and Game Controllers," and click on the "+" to open up a list of components installed on your computer.

  • Scroll down to "Audio," and right-click on it to get a drop-down menu. Click on the "Properties" tab to display all of the information. You can also install an updated driver and make other changes here.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may see a red or yellow icon displayed next to the audio device listing. If this happens, you need to reinstall the sound card or contact the manufacturer to solve the problem.
  • If there is nothing listed under "Audio," check the yellow question mark ("?") to see if your sound card is listed. This is where Windows puts things it doesn't recognize. If this happens, either reinstall the card or contact the manufacturer.
  • Be careful when using the device manager. It's extremely easy to change settings when using it. If you erroneously make a change, hit the cancel button and everything will be returned to normal.
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