How To Fix Sound Problems in Windows 10 | Digital Trends (2023)

Whenever you update to the latest version of Windows 10, you can find cool new features and fixes. Unfortunately, big updates can bring with them new problems, and some of the most common are audio-related.


  • Run the audio troubleshooter
  • Keep checking your updates
  • Check volume sliders and make sure your system is fully updated
  • Check your output device
  • Update your sound card drivers
  • Restart Audio Services
  • Use a generic high-definition audio device driver
  • Fixing Cortana and microphone problems

These audio-related issues can leave people unable to play videos, use certain apps, or hear anything at all from their speakers. That’s not fun, especially when learning your way around the operating system’s new features, so let’s do some troubleshooting. Here are the ways you can fix Windows 10 audio issues to remove the dreaded sound of silence.

Run the audio troubleshooter

How To Fix Sound Problems in Windows 10 | Digital Trends (1)

Windows 10 now has a full audio troubleshooter that can examine your sound system for any signs of trouble and recommend solutions. Because this troubleshooter can automatically find and take care of some of the issues we discuss below, it’s a great way to save time and should probably be your first stop.


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Step 1: Use the search box on your taskbar and search for “troubleshoot.” In the results, you should see an option that says Troubleshoot Settings. Select this.

Step 2: In the following window, look at the Get Up and Running section for the option that says Playing Audio, and select it. Then, select Run the Troubleshooter.

Step 3: A new troubleshooter icon will open up on your taskbar. Select it to open the new window. You will now have an option to troubleshoot different kinds of connected speakers, including built-in speakers and headphones. In most cases, you’ll want to choose your default speakers, but you can customize this to your device. Select Next when you are done.

Step 4: Let the troubleshooter run, and then see what it has to say. The troubleshooter may offer advice on improving your sound quality or pinpoint issues with your drivers that need to be taken care of. Try what it suggests to see if this helps fix your problem!

Keep checking your updates

How To Fix Sound Problems in Windows 10 | Digital Trends (2)

Windows 10, just like all modern operating systems, is constantly being updated with new fixes and improvements — especially for Insider Program users. Sometimes all it takes to fix a sound problem is with a simple driver update, but sometimes it takes a little time. The necessary driver update might not appear right away, so you might have to be patient. One of the recent June 2021 updates fixed a problem Windows users were having with certain apps playing high-pitched squealing noises, so a full update may be the solution to solving a variety of problems. Specific driver updates can help target issues with a particular device.

Certain drivers can be found straight from sound card makers like Realtek, while others can arrive packaged into Windows 10 updates. To reverse your sound issues, keep an eye on your Windows update icon or consider reaching out to your sound card’s manufacturer to see if any updates are available. Fixing your problem could be as easy and straightforward as updating your device. That said, if your device is considerably outdated, an update may not do the trick. Consider buying a new computer with compatible drivers.

Check volume sliders and make sure your system is fully updated

How To Fix Sound Problems in Windows 10 | Digital Trends (3)

So far, the 2020 updates to Windows 10 have caused a plethora of sound problems, including audio that just won’t work and third-party app audio that’s too low to use properly.

If one of your recent Windows updates has caused sound problems like these, you should first look at your volume mixer and see if anything has changed. Look at your taskbar and you should see a speaker icon on the right. Right-click it and choose to Open Volume Mixer. Check your sliders, especially for any third-party apps, and make sure they look normal. Some of the sliders may have been turned down extra low and will need to be adjusted to fix your volume.

Unfortunately, other recent sound issues have proven harder to fix. If you have systematic volume failure due to a recent update, even rolling back those updates has rarely proven successful in fixing sound issues. Your best option is to watch for any new updates and apply them quickly so that you’ll know when Microsoft patches the problem.

Check your output device

If you don’t have any sound at all, it could be something as simple as Windows trying to output sound to an old device, like someheadphones you forgot are plugged in, or a Bluetooth speaker that’s just not turned on right now. To make sure Windows is trying to send sound to the right device, you need to check your output.

Step 1: Click the small Up Arrow in the bottom-right corner of your screen, next to the clock and calendar.

How To Fix Sound Problems in Windows 10 | Digital Trends (4)

Step 2: Right-click the small Speaker icon and select Open Sound Settings.

Step 3: In the settings menu, look to the top entry that reads Choose Your Output Device. Use the drop-down menu to make sure that your correct device is selected, whether that’s your speakers or a connected set of headphones. While you’re there, double-check that the volume isn’t at zero.

How To Fix Sound Problems in Windows 10 | Digital Trends (5)

Update your sound card drivers

One of the most common sources of sound problems is poor communication between Windows 10 and your sound card or chip of choice. This often leads to your sound failing to work at all. Fortunately, there are ways to make Windows 10 and your sound hardware compatible. All you need to do is find the right updates for the job.

Step 1: Open theStart menu and search for “device manager.”Click the relevant result.

Step 2: Inside the DeviceManager, you will see a list of icon options. Choose Sound, Video and Game Controllers. If you have a sound card, it will show up there.

How To Fix Sound Problems in Windows 10 | Digital Trends (6)

Step 3: Open the sound card by double-clicking it, then go to the Driver tab and look for the option to Update Driver. This will start an automatic Windows search to find driver updates and download them.

How To Fix Sound Problems in Windows 10 | Digital Trends (7)

Step 4: After the update is finished, restart and see if your audio now works.

Here are a couple of additional points to consider.

  • Windows will not always find the right audio drivers on its own. If the search does not work, consider visiting your sound card manufacturer’s website and looking up the sound card to find a manual method to download any applicable updates.
  • Your driver may just need a kick in the bytes. If updating it doesn’t work, then open your Device Manager, find your sound card again, and right-click on the icon. Select Uninstall. This will remove your driver, but don’t panic. Restart your computer, and Windows will try to reinstall the driver. Allow it to do so, and you may find that your sound is back on.

Restart Audio Services

How To Fix Sound Problems in Windows 10 | Digital Trends (8)

Is your default audio refusing to work at all or does it have serious settings issues that won’t go away? The core problem could be issues with how Windows runs specific services. Here’s how to reboot those processes quickly.

Step 1: Search for “services” in the search box, and select the Services app.

Step 2: The new window will show a lengthy list of services on Windows 10. Scroll down to find Windows Audio specifically. Right-click on Windows Audio, and choose Restart from the available options.

Step 3: Once the restart has finished, go through Services again — do the same for Windows Audio Endpoint Builderand Remote Procedure Call. Restarting these three together can help fix problems that your audio may have run into.

Use a generic high-definition audio device driver

If working on your sound card software has no effect, you shouldtry switching to the generic audio driver that Windows 10 offers. This can often circumvent compatibility issues and restore sound capabilities to Windows activities.

Step 1: Open the Device Manager again and find your audio driver as if you were updating it.

Step 2: Right-click the driver and choose Update Driver.

Step 3: This time, though, instead of letting Windows search for it automatically, select Browse My Computer for Driver Software.

How To Fix Sound Problems in Windows 10 | Digital Trends (9)

Step 4: Then, select Let Me Pick From a List of Device Drivers on My Computer. This will bring up a list that will include High Definition Audio Device. This is the generic Windows 10 driver. Select and install it tosee if this restores your sound.

Fixing Cortana and microphone problems

Windows 10’s built-in vocal assistant, Cortana, can be given all sorts of commands through voice alone. However, that’s no good if your audio isn’t working properly. If Cortana isn’t responding to you the way you hoped, you may have a problem with your microphone — or lack thereof.

First, make sure that your computer has a mic so Cortana can hear you. A microphone is a standard feature for many of today’s laptops and desktops, but it is not guaranteed. Without a built-in mic, you’ll need to use your microphone jack and an external device instead. These are the best headsetswith built-in microphones you can buy right now.

If you do have a microphone, let’s double-check that your Cortana settings are correct.

Step 1: Open Cortana by clicking the icon for it in your Windows search bar, and then select the Settings Cog icon in the bottom-left corner.

Step 2:This will give you several toggle options to control what the voice assistant can do. Make sure that the option for Cortana to listen for Hey Cortanacommands is turned on. If she isn’t listening, your voice commands won’t work.

How To Fix Sound Problems in Windows 10 | Digital Trends (10)

If you have a microphone and Cortana’s settings are alright but the smart assistant still can’t seem to hear you, it’s worth double-checking your recording device settings.

Step 1: To do so, click the Up Arrow in the bottom-right corner of your screen, next to the clock and date.

Step 2: Right-click the Audio icon (it looks like a speaker with sound waves coming from it) and select Open Sound Settings.

Step 3:In the Inputsection of the settings page, make sure that your chosen microphone is selected.

How To Fix Sound Problems in Windows 10 | Digital Trends (11)

Step 4: Double-check the volume settings by clicking Device Propertiesand going to the Levels tab. They should be set to at least 50, but anything from there up to 100 is fine.

How To Fix Sound Problems in Windows 10 | Digital Trends (12)

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Why does my Windows audio sound weird? ›

Make certain your speaker jack is securely inserted into your computer's "Speaker/Headphone" port. If the distortion persists, try switching out your headphones or speakers to determine whether or not they are the cause of the sound distortion. Shorts from worn cables can produce static and feedback in your speakers.

Why is my sound not working after Windows 10 update? ›

Fix 2: Enable the Playback Device

Windows 10 update might have disabled your playback device. The solution to this no audio after Windows 10 update problem is re-enabling it. For this, you need to access the appropriate sound settings.

How do I fix weird audio? ›

Fixing A Distorted Microphone
  1. Right-click on the Sound icon in the bottom right of your screen on the desktop.
  2. Click on Recording Devices. Right-click on the microphone.
  3. Click on Properties.
  4. Click on the Enhancements tab.
  5. Check the 'Disable' box inside the box.
  6. Click 'Ok'.
Mar 24, 2022

Why does my audio sound glitchy? ›

Poor network performance, lack of memory or high CPU usage often causes the audio quality to drop, become delayed or sound robotic. Try closing all applications you aren't using to free up some bandwidth. If you're using a dial-up Internet connection with VoIP, it may cause poor performance.

What causes audio glitching? ›

Typically the receiver's connection is stalling due to over-utilization. Alternately, the listener's audio equipment may be malfunctioning due to a faulty cable or jack that is injecting noise or gaps into the stream. If there is no problem playing back other types of audio, then the problem is network related.

Why do I hear distorted sound? ›

The most common cause of hyperacusis is damage to the inner ear from ageing or exposure to loud noise. Hyperacusis is often associated with tinnitus (buzzing, ringing or whistling noises in the ears) and distortion of sounds. Usually both ears are affected, although it is possible to have it in only one ear.

Why is my computer sound fuzzy? ›

If your system volume is set too high, any audio you play might sound scratchy or distorted. If you had to set your volume high to listen to a quiet video or audio file but didn't change it back, try lowering the volume.

Why does my speaker sound fuzzy? ›

Verify the speakers are properly connected to the system. If applicable, try changing the sound mode on the system. Try changing any controls that are on your system, such as the balance control, tone control, volume control, etc. Try playing a different source (CD, TAPE, RADIO, etc).

How do I reset my Windows sound settings? ›

  1. Check your audio and sound source. ...
  2. Go to sound settings. ...
  3. Check external speakers. ...
  4. Turn to a Windows troubleshooter. ...
  5. Go to sound settings to run troubleshooter in another way. ...
  6. In the sound settings screen, check the Volume mixer. ...
  7. Click the Reset button. ...
  8. Check the sound control panel.
Dec 26, 2022

How do I reset Windows sound scheme? ›

  1. Select Start and Settings.
  2. Select System.
  3. Select Sound.
  4. Select App volume and device preferences under Advanced Sound Options.
  5. Select Reset under Reset to the Microsoft Recommended defaults.
Nov 8, 2022

What is distortion sound? ›

Distortion is the changing of the appearance or sound of something in a way that makes it seem strange or unclear. Audio signals can be transmitted along cables without distortion.

What is Phonophobia? ›

Introduction. Phonophobia is defined as a persistent, abnormal, and unwarranted fear of sound. Often, these are normal environmental sounds (e.g., traffic, kitchen sounds, doors closing, or even loud speech) that cannot under any circumstances be damaging.

Why does my audio sound muffled Windows 10? ›

Muffled sound can be caused by several things, including incorrect speaker placement, bad or outdated audio drivers, problematic sound cards, incomplete updates, or other software issues. Moreover, the new Windows update is a possible reason for this sound problem on Windows 10.

How do you fix static sound in speakers? ›

Loud static noise randomly heard through speakers
  1. Be sure the system is set up properly and all connections are secure. ...
  2. Be sure the external audio device is connected properly. ...
  3. Replace the cables used to connect your product. ...
  4. Try connecting a different audio device. ...
  5. Reset your product. ...
  6. Your system may need service.

How do I get rid of static sound in my speakers? ›

Make sure that the speaker wires are properly connected to both the speakers and audio device. Turn off any nearby electronic devices that may be interfering with the speaker sound. Move the speaker wires away from any electrical cords. Try to play from a different source.

How do I fix muffled audio? ›

Preventing the muffled sound by recording without effects, in an open space (i.e. NOT a closet) with a good microphone, and. If the voice is already recorded, apply some EQ to the vocal track. Just reducing the low and low-mid frequencies should do the trick.

How do I reset my Realtek audio? ›

Fix Realtek Audio Issues with a Rollback
  1. Find Your Realtek Driver in Device Manager. Open the Device Manager and go to your Sound, Video and Game Controllers. ...
  2. Manually Rollback to Previous Versions. With the driver information up, click the Driver tab at the top of the menu. ...
  3. Restart Your PC Again.

What is Realtek audio? ›

Restart required. This package contains the Realtek High Definition audio driver. Audio driver is the software that helps your operating system to communicate with audio devices such as internal sound cards, speakers, headsets, and microphones. Recommended.

How do I reset my audio driver? ›

Double-click "Sound, Video and Game Controllers." Right-click the sound driver and click "Enable" to restart the device.

How do I fix my glitchy audio on my computer? ›

  1. Disable Audio Enhancement. Audio enhancement is designed to make your system sound perfect. ...
  2. Change Audio Formats. If your audio driver or software doesn't support the current audio format you have, sound issues such as static or stuttering would happen. ...
  3. Reinstall Audio Driver. ...
  4. Update Audio Driver.

How do I reset my PC audio? ›

  1. Check your audio and sound source. ...
  2. Go to sound settings. ...
  3. Check external speakers. ...
  4. Turn to a Windows troubleshooter. ...
  5. Go to sound settings to run troubleshooter in another way. ...
  6. In the sound settings screen, check the Volume mixer. ...
  7. Click the Reset button. ...
  8. Check the sound control panel.
Dec 26, 2022

How do I reset my sound drivers Windows 10? ›

Uninstall Sound Driver from Device Manager and Restart (Windows will attempt to reinstall the driver, if not, try the next step) Update or Roll Back Sound Driver from Device Manager. Change default sound format. Restart Audio Services.


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