How to Restore Audio Devices

by Candace Benson

On Windows operating systems, audio devices may experience hardware and software conflicts. Outdated drivers, overwritten driver files and new hardware or software installations may cause your sound card to be disabled. Before assuming that you need to restore your audio card, check the system volume controls and ensure that the sound is not muted or set too low to hear. Also test external speakers on a second system to eliminate speakers as the issue.

Reinstall Drivers

Click on "Start," then "Control Panel." Click on "Classic View" in the left column if applicable.

Select "System." Click on "Device Manager" in Windows Vista or Windows 7. Click on the "Hardware" tab, then "Device Manager" in Windows XP.

Double-click "Sound, video and game controllers" to expand it. Double-click your audio device.

Make a note of any error messages present in the "Device Status" section. Write down any error message codes, and look up the error message code at the Microsoft Knowledge Base site (See Resources). Continue to the next step if you do not see an error message.

Click on the "Driver" tab. Click on "Uninstall." Confirm that you wish to uninstall the driver, then restart the computer when prompted to do so.

Allow Windows to reboot and to re-detect the audio device. Wait while Windows installs the drivers.

Re-enable Device

Select "System." Click on "Device Manager" in Windows Vista or Windows 7. Click on the "Hardware" tab, then "Device Manager" in Windows XP.

Double-click "Sound, video and game controllers" to expand it.

Right-click your audio device, and left-click on "Enable." Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the restoration of your audio device, and restart the computer.

Tip

  • check Update your driver if Windows still cannot use your audio device by returning to the audio device properties in the "Device Manager," clicking on the "Drivers" tab and selecting "Update."

Items you will need

About the Author

Candace Benson has nearly five years of experience as a volunteer coordinator and has worked for non-profits and state agencies. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Benson wrote for a number of video game websites and blogs and worked as a technical support agent. Benson currently writes for eHow.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera computer image by Orlando Florin Rosu from Fotolia.com