How Can I Identify My Sound Card?

by Contributing Writer

Sound is an important part of the overall computing experience. Whether you depend on your speakers to alert you to new email or you are an experienced computer gamer, sound is an integral part of your machine. The hardware within your computer that provides sound output is known as the sound card. You should know how to identify the type of sound card installed in your computer, and how to find your sound card outputs so you can connect your headphones or speakers.

Locating the Control Panel

To identify your sound card in Windows, begin by opening the "Control Panel" window, found in the "Start" menu. If your computer is set up to display category view, select the "Sounds, Speech, and Audio" icon, and then click the "Sounds and Audio Devices" link. If your computer displays the classic view, select the "Sounds and Audio Devices" icon. Either of these steps will display the "Sounds and Audio Devices Properties" window.

Locating the Sound Card in the Control Panel

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In the "Sounds and Audio Devices Properties" window, click on the "Hardware" tab. The sound card is listed under "Devices," and will be identified by the name name or type of sound card. Also listed in this section are the audio codecs, drivers, and DVD and CD drives. Double-clicking on the sound card entry will open the "Properties" window and provide more information on your device.

Locating the Sound Card Outputs

Most sound cards have a standard headphone jack to connect to computer speakers, headphones or a stereo system. Depending on the model and type of your computer, you may have one or more audio outputs. Desktop computers usually have a sound card output jack on the back of the machine, and it is either identified by a green ring around the jack or a headphone icon. Newer desktops may also have a sound output jack on the front of the machine, or even on the monitor. Laptops will often have a sound output jack on the front or side of the machine, labeled with a headphone icon.