How to Troubleshoot the Sound on My Computer

Most home computers are now bundled with sound support. However, speakers and sound cards sometimes fail, which causes poor sound quality or none at all. There are several ways to troubleshoot sound to find the source of the problem. Sometimes, the sound card just needs updated drivers or the speaker wires have come loose. Troubleshooting sound on a Windows machine can save you money before you go out and buy another sound card or speakers.

Things You'll Need

  • Spare sound card and speakers
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Instructions

    • 1

      Check the cables from the speakers connected to the sound card in the computer. Sometimes, pets or other people accidentally remove the speaker wire from the connection on the computer. Ensure the speaker wire is still connected before changing software configurations on the computer.

    • 2

      Connect a spare set of speakers to the computer with the problem. This helps you determine if the problem is the speakers or the sound card. If speakers that normally work on one machine do not work on a second machine, then the second machine's issue is not the speakers.

    • 3

      Swap out the sound card using a known, good device. If you have a spare sound card, you can install it on the machine. If the replacement sound card works, then the issue is a faulty card or problematic device drivers.

    • 4

      Reinstall the device drivers. Right-click the "My Computer" icon on the desktop then select "Properties." In the "Hardware" tab, click the "Device Manager" button. Click the section labeled "Sound, Video and Game Controllers." This expands a list of sound devices. Right-click your sound device then select "Uninstall." Reboot the machine and Windows will reinstall the device drivers.

    • 5

      Download the newest sound device driver from the manufacturer and install it. If you've upgraded your operating system or your device drivers are outdated, you may need a new version. Sound card manufacturers have the latest versions of device drivers available on the company's website. Download the file and install it on the machine. This can clear up conflicts with device drivers that are not supported by your operating system after you upgrade.

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