Troubleshoot Windows 10 Sound and Audio problems

Microsoft has received good reviews for their latest OS –Windows 10. The OS is packed with new features, apps, and functionality that intends to make your computing experience a smooth affair. However, the OS brings with it its own share of problems, issues, and bugs. Several are reporting sound and audio problems like – Windows 10 sound is not working properly, unable to play videos, use certain apps, or hear anything at all from their speakers. Let’s see how to resolve this, and other Windows 10 Sound and Audio problems.

Windows 10 already includes Playing Audio Troubleshooter and Recording Audio Troubleshooter, which you can easily invoke via the Control Panel, the Taskbar Search or the Troubleshooters tab of our freeware FixWin 10. You can also access from the from the Troubleshooters Page in Windows 10.

Playing Audio Troubleshooter

Windows 10 Sound & Audio problems & issues

Here are some suggestions from Microsoft, which can help you carry out the troubleshooting manually, depending on your specific issue.

Windows 10 sound not working

Next, check the manufacturer’s website for updated drivers. You could also open Windows Update and look for driver updates. If it’s an external device, like headphones or a USB device, unplug and plug-in the device. If your device is a USB, try a different port. Also, disable Audio Enhancements and see if it helps.

If you find that the problem persists, uninstall your audio driver and reboot to let Windows reinstall it automatically or uninstall your audio driver and try using the inbox HDAudio driver.

For other scenarios, try different fixes. Let’s cover them in detail.

Poor audio quality; bad sound

In this scenario, the initial troubleshooting step is the same as above, i.e., check for driver updates from Windows Update. If your device is USB, try a different port or try disabling audio enhancements, if applicable. If all these fail, uninstall your audio driver and try using the inbox driver (HDAudio)

Speakers, Bluetooth, Headphones not working

In this case, it may be so that you can play music over your built-in laptop speakers, but as soon as you plug in your wired headphones, audio continues to be played over the speakers (or no audio plays at all). To solve this, uninstall your driver and reboot to allow Windows to reinstall it. If this fails, uninstall your audio driver and try using the inbox driver (HDAudio).

If you are having trouble with the audio for your headset, and if you cannot hear audio, then then before you begin, open Sound Properties and ensure that Microsoft LifeChat Headset is your system default sound playback device.

Try different Audio Formats

Often, incompatibilities with drivers or the audio software in Windows affect audio playback or recording so, it becomes essential to confirm if audio format issues are the source of your issue.

Switch to Control Panel, and click the “Sound” link. After that, run “mmsys.cpl” in your search box or command prompt.

Right-click on the sound icon in your system tray and select “Playback Devices.”

Right-click your “Default Device” and click “Properties.”

Switch to the “Advanced” tab and try changing your Default Format a few times. This should solve the problem.

Check Device Manager

Device Manager displays information about the driver profile for all the hardware devices present on your system. Verify, if any audio devices have problems already identified by the system. To do so,

Type “Device Manager” in search box adjacent to the start menu, and hit Enter. Expand the “Sound, video and game controllers” tab.

Device manager

Uninstall your audio driver and use the built-in Windows Audio driver (HDAudio).

Microphone does not work

Here, you may discover that Cortana refuses to hear you. You may find that plugging an external microphone into the computer or using a headset works better. Try the solutions mentioned above.

If nothing works for you, you may report your specific problem to Microsoft, including in your question the make and model of your PC, your hardware ID and driver version of your audio device, whether playing  a Test Tone worked, a screenshot of your “Sound, video, and game controller” tab in Device Manager, and report if when your device is trying to play audio by noting whether green volume bars are present in the Sound Control Panel.

How to do all the above? Microsoft has also laid down detailed instructions on that!

How to find Device ID & driver version of your audio hardware

To do this, run Device Manager. Go to Sound, video and game controllers. Here, Double-click your audio device. Next, switch to the Details tab and select Hardware IDs. After that, right-click to copy the IDs and then paste them somewhere. Finally, select Driver version, right click to copy and then paste the contents into a Notepad.

How to uninstall audio driver

Initial troubleshooting step involves identification of your default device driver. For this, go to the Sound Control Panel, click the “Sound” link.

Run “mmsys.cpl” in a command prompt. Right-click on the sound icon in your system tray and select “Playback Devices”.

default device

When done, in the Sound Control Panel, verify which device is your system default and return to your desktop.

Next, type “Device Manager” in your search box and click on the Device Manager app. Expand the “Sound, video, and game controllers” tab.

Now, right click your default audio device driver, and click uninstall.

Windows 10 Audio & Sound problems & issues

How to play a Test Tone

Playing a test tone helps you determine if your machine’s audio subsystem has any function at all.

To play a test tone, go to the Control Panel, and click the “Sound” link. Next, run “mmsys.cpl” in your search box or command prompt. Then, right-click on the sound icon in your system tray and choose “Playback Devices” option.

In the resulting window, right-click on your “Default Device” and select “Test”. If everything is working well, you should hear test sounds playing out of your default audio device.

playing test tone

Check if Green Bars are visible

To do so, navigate to the Control Panel, and click the “Sound” link. Again Run “mmsys.cpl” in your search box or command prompt.

Right-click on the sound icon in your system tray and select “Playback Devices”. Play some audio, and look at your “Default Device”. You should see green volume bars.


Hope something helps you.

These posts offer additional troubleshooting tips:

  1. Sound Distortion issues in Windows 10
  2. Computer sound volume too low.
  3. No sound or Sound is missing on Windows computer.
Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. alex

    great article , I wish you had published it last week I had no end of problems with volume control. my eventual solution was > control panel >Sounds. Go to sounds and use a windows sound. As soon as I had done this it worked, no problems since.

  2. Alberto Gorin

    so fair no problems

  3. Anonymity_x

    It works. Thank you.


    When I click the sound icon it says I don’t have them installed

  5. Jan Davis

    I still have no sound. I have no idea what to do. My computer is 7 months old and I am tired of these issues. I lost sound and have no idea why. Can someone please me me?
    I have done all the steps listed at least three times.Still nothing, It does state there is a driver missing, but I installed Tweak and spent money for no reason since it has not helped. I twas part of the suggestions on this site.

  6. gremlinkurst

    Great article…however, my issue is not here. Every now and then the system generates a sound that is best described as an underwater low-frequency sonar ping. I find this highly suspicious, as there are NO other sound issues. I am running Webroot SecureAnywhere, and it can find nothing.

  7. Michael Schmichael

    I installed win 10 on a dell optiplex and had low sound on headphones but not speakers, so I used a usb soundcard from ebay, £3-4 , it has a mike and headphone jack, and headphones now back to normal, maybe a usb headphone will work also

  8. Lou

    “Require users to press Ctrl-Alt-Del.” is on and I’m trying to disable it. The box is unchecked but still requires ctrl-alt-delete, how do I change this?

  9. Pete Griffin

    Hmmm…. got to the point where I definitely have “green bars” but still no sound. I’ve checked and double-checked the internal volume controls (not to mention untinstalling, reinstalling sound cards) but still no audio from speakers or headphones. Running onto 5 hours now and am nearly at the point of committing a mindless act of gratuitous violence regarding my laptop before sending a threatening anonymous letter to Microsoft.

  10. mrcrunch08

    These are the worst help guides ever. Just another copy and paste article by people who have no clue about the issue.

  11. Gunther Ham

    When I right click on the sound icon I don’t see “Recording Devices”.
    When I go to sounds I see the recording device but it doesn’t pick up sound (no green bars)
    When I tick the “Listen” box, I do hear myself though.
    Microphone not working after some or other update.
    I am freaking out.

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