How to Fix the Audio on My Laptop Computer
By Shannon Burton
Most laptop computers come with speakers built in, making audio problems particularly frustrating because it is difficult to inspect the speakers and see if there are any obvious problems with power supply or wiring. Most likely, though, the problem is with your computer settings or perhaps an outdated or faulty driver, and not with the speakers. Checking to see if any settings or drivers can fix the problem is a good idea before attempting to open the laptop or giving in and buying external speakers.
Test the audio in more than one program. If audio works in some programs but not others, the “mute” setting might be on in one or more programs and should be unmuted.
Turn up the volume on the external volume control. It may be on the side or on the front of your laptop, or even on the keyboard (some models have a touch-sensitive strip at the top of the keyboard that you might not have realized controls the volume). Also look for any “mute” shortcut keys you might have accidentally pressed (the symbol looks like a speaker with a diagonal line through it) and try pressing it again to see if sound is restored.
Go to your volume controls ("Control Panel," "Hardware and Sound," "Audio Devices," "Sound" and "Adjust System Volume"), and under "Main Volume," make sure the slider is slid up and that the volume is not set to “mute.”
Restart the computer, especially if you have recently made any changes such as installing updates or service packs. Sometimes, a restart needs to take place to reset devices such as speakers.
Plug a pair of headphones into the headphone jack on the laptop and see if you can hear sound that way. If you hear noise in headphones or external speakers but not the built-in speakers, either your drivers or the speakers are the problem. Try uninstalling the drivers for your speakers in "Device Manager" and reinstalling them by visiting your laptop maker’s website and downloading any updated drivers you need.
Open "Device Manager" by going to "Start," "Control Panel" "System" and "Maintenance." Open "Sound "Video, and Game Controllers," and see if a sound card is detected. If there is but there is a yellow question mark next to it, right click it, and go to "Properties," "General" and "Device Status" to see how to fix any problems. You may need to update or install new drivers from your computer maker’s website. If there is no yellow question mark, uninstall and reinstall the drivers to see if this fixes the problem.
Reinstall your audio device drivers from your laptop brand’s website if a sound card is not detected. It is possible some recent changes removed the drivers and made your speakers undetectable, so reinstalling the drivers should fix the problem.
- Make sure to uninstall any existing drivers before reinstalling, if you must. If this does not fix the problem, you may need to replace your speakers or buy external ones.
- Some computer makers, such as Toshiba, have lengthy help pages related to commonly losing speaker functionality after Windows Updates. Check your maker’s website for specific support if nothing in this article has worked for your computer.
Shannon Burton is a high school teacher. She has been writing articles about fitness, health, technology and education since 2007 and has been published on many websites. Burton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of the Virgin Islands.