Windows 11 may be the most stable and bug-free operating system upon release in Microsoft’s history, but some people are still experiencing issues with their sound not working or behaving in strange ways just like they did on Windows 10.
With so many computer configurations and third-party sound hardware, Windows 11 will inevitably run into sound issues on some systems. If you’re having trouble hearing anything from your Windows 11 PC’s speakers or other audio device, try these troubleshooting tips.
If you just upgraded to Windows 11 or completed a clean install and have no sound from the start, install the appropriate software for troubleshooting.
Windows 11 has access to a comprehensive set of sound drivers and can automatically download drivers for your sound card. Still, it’s almost always better to go to the laptop or sound card manufacturer’s website and download the latest official version than to rely on generic device drivers.
Check the basics first
Before you get carried away with all the technicalities of solving your audio problem, check the basics first:
- Restart your PC.
- Turn off the computer and make sure the volume is not set to zero.
- Make sure your speakers are turned on.
- Make sure your speakers are connected to the correct audio output.
- Unplug anything from your sound card that is not your desired output device.
- Check if your built-in audio is enabled in the UEFI or BIOS menu.
Many audio issues turn out to be something simple that you’ve overlooked, so go through the basics, even if it seems obvious.
Windows 11 has an automated audio troubleshooter that can fix Windows sound problems without complicated steps. We recommend that you run the troubleshooter first before trying any of the more advanced solutions below:
- Select the Start button
- Open Settings (the gear icon).
- Open System†
- Go to Resolving problems † Other troubleshooters.
- Select Run in addition to the Play audio problem solver.
Here, choose the audio device you want to check and let the troubleshooter run its course.
It indicates whether problems have been found and whether it can solve them.
Windows 11 has an audio enhancement feature that enhances the audio coming out of your speakers or headphones. It consists of Bass Boost, Headphone Virtualization and Loudness Equalization function.
By default it is disabled as it can cause problems with some sound devices. Someone may have enabled audio enhancements without your knowledge, so it’s worth making sure the feature is turned off.
- Open the Home menu†
- Select the Gear settings†
- To elect System†
- Select Sound†
- Below the Output section:select speakers (or the appropriate device).
- Next Improve audiomake sure the setting is enabled Out†
If the setting has been changed, try playing the audio again and check if it works properly.
If your computer has more than one audio device, you may not hear any sound because the sound is being routed to the wrong output device. A typical example is an audio output on your monitor. HDMI and DisplayPort jacks also carry sound, and many monitors have speaker or headphone outputs. Windows can detect this as the last connected audio device and switch to it.
You can change audio devices using quick settings:
- Rick-click the speaker icon in the system tray from the taskbar.
- Select Sound settings†
- below Choose where to play soundTick the … audio device you want to hear.
To disable an audio device so that Windows never selects it, select the right arrow next to that device under Choose where to play sound† Then select not allowed next Allow apps and Windows to use this device for audio.
Alternatively, you can also change a device to your default audio device here, so that Windows will give it priority over other devices. Just select the drop-down menu next to Set as default sound device and choose to use it as default.
If the sound doesn’t play only for specific applications, the affected app may not be mapped to the correct audio output device. You can try closing the app and opening it again, but if that doesn’t work, you can check if that app is mapped to the correct output.
- Open the Home menu†
- Select the Gear settings†
- To elect Sound†
- Then choose volume mixer below the Advanced Section†
- below appschoose the app you are having trouble with.
- below Output Deviceuse the drop-down menu to choose the device you want to use with that app if it is not the correct device.
Tip: This is also a great way to have different apps play their sound through your headphones and speakers at the same time.
The Windows Audio service may stop working for some reason, which may not be related to your hardware or hardware drivers or any setting. A quick way to fix this is to manually restart the service:
- Open the Home menu and type Services†
- Open Services from the search results.
- To search Windows audio and select it.
- Right click on Windows audio and select Restarting†
- Then do the same with Windows Audio Endpoint Builder and Remote Calling†
Hopefully your audio should be back.
There are more general troubleshooting steps you can take if the audio specific solutions above don’t work for you:
- Make sure Windows 11 is up to date.
- Update or uninstall drivers and then reinstall them.
- Check Device Manager for any errors on your audio devices.
- Roll back your audio driver if the problem started recently.
- If the problem started after that, consider rolling back the latest Windows update.
Any recent change to your computer can be responsible for audio issues, so if possible try to undo the last thing that happened before your audio stopped working.
Try a new audio device
If you can’t get your computer’s built-in sound card to work, using a separate audio device can help determine whether the problem is with Windows or your audio hardware.
If you have a Bluetooth audio device or a USB based headset or speakers, they represent their own separate audio devices. Your motherboard’s sound hardware may be faulty if you’re getting the correct playback from another device and reinstalling the driver doesn’t work.