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You're attempting to listen to music or watch a video on your computer.
There's only one problem -- no sound.
Wait, the sound was working yesterday. What happened?
Problems that seem to appear randomly are an unfortunate staple of Windows, but that doesn't mean they're unsolvable.
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And with a snafu like no sound, there are a few ways to troubleshoot the issue, including resetting your audio settings.
Here's how to pull this off in both Windows 10 and 11.
You've probably already checked the usual suspects. But let's review anyway. Make sure the volume level is set properly. Just click the audio icon in the System Tray to confirm.
If more than one potential sound source is available, such as internal and external audio, make sure your PC is pointing to the correct playback device.
To do this in Windows 10, right-click the audio icon in the System Tray and select Open Sound Settings in Windows 10. Click the drop-down menu for Choose your output device and switch to the other source.
In Windows 11, right-click the audio icon in the System Tray select and Sound Settings. Click the entry for Choose where to play sound and select the other source.
After choosing your output device, try playing audio again.
If you use external speakers, double-check for loose wires, unseated connections, and similar physical ailments. (Yes, try unplugging and plugging them in again.) If those all pass the test, then it's time to ask for help from Windows.
The easiest step to take when trying to fix audio issues is to let Windows do the work. And that means running one of the built-in troubleshooters.
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Right-click the audio icon in the System Tray and select Troubleshoot sound problems.
In Windows 10, the Get Help app will ask for permission to proceed with the diagnostics and try automated steps to fix the problem. Click Yes. The Windows 10 troubleshooter will then your system for audio issues. It may try to play a tone and ask if you can hear it. It might also try to update your audio driver. Allow it to take the suggested steps. If the troubleshooter is able to resolve the glitch, great. If not, it will tell you that it couldn't fix the issue and offer some Microsoft support articles that might help.
In Windows 11, the troubleshooter cuts to the chase and automatically starts the quest to detect audio-related problems. Depending on your audio setup, you may be asked which device to troubleshoot. Choose the correct device and let the troubleshooter proceed on its mission.
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The troubleshooter may offer some suggestions along the way. Again, if the troubleshooter is successful, hooray. If not, it will likely tell you that it couldn't identify the problem.
Another way to run the troubleshooter in both versions of Windows is through sound settings. In either version, right-click the System Tray audio icon and select Open Sound settings or Sound settings.
In Windows 10, click the Troubleshoot button under Master Volume. In Windows 11, click the link for Output devices in the section for Troubleshoot common problems. In both cases, the Get Help app pops up seeking your permission to troubleshoot the issue.
In Windows 10, right-click the System Tray Audio icon and select Open sound settings. Scroll to the bottom of the sound settings screen and click the setting for App volume and device preferences.
In Windows 11, right-click the System Tray Audio icon and select Open Volume mixer.
Both versions of Windows show you the volume levels for different devices and applications. Review each level to make sure it's set properly. If all looks good and you're still unable to hear any sound, click the Reset button at the bottom. That will reset all the devices and apps to their recommended Microsoft defaults.
At the Windows 10 sound settings screen, click the link at the right or bottom for Sound Control Panel. At the Windows 11 sound settings screen, click the option at the bottom for More sound settings.
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Select your default audio source and click Configure. Click the Test button to hear if any sounds come out. Finish the test. If there's still no sound, select the Properties button.
At the Properties window, click the Advanced tab and uncheck the box for Enable audio enhancements. Then click the Test button. Next, click the tab for Spatial sound and made sure this option is off.
If the sound still isn't working, close all of the sound settings windows. Right-click the Start button and select Device Manager from the menu. Click the right arrow for the entry for Audio inputs and outputs and double-click your default audio source. Then click the tab for Driver.
First, try updating the driver. Click the Update driver button. Permit it to search your computer for drivers and then search Windows Update.
Still no luck? You can try uninstalling and then reinstalling the driver. Click the Uninstall Device button. Confirm that you want to uninstall it.
To bring back the driver, either reboot your PC or right-click on the entry for Audio inputs and outputs and select Scan for hardware changes. The audio driver is then reinstalled.
Finally, stopping and restarting the Windows Audio service is one more step to try. Click the Search field on the Taskbar and type the word "services."
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Scroll down the Services window until you see the entry for Windows Audio. Right-click it and select Stop. Right-click it once more and select Start.
Hopefully, by going through these different Windows troubleshooting steps, you'll be able to get sound back.