Windows 10 audio not working? Try this.

My power flickered and my computer restarted. Everything seemed OK, but then I noticed my audio wasn’t working. If your experience Windows 10 audio not working suddenly, especially when you haven’t changed anything, here are some things to try.

Sure, the problem could be a driver, or your volume knob, or a cable problem. But if your audio stopped working suddenly, it’s more likely that Windows just decided to change outputs on you, and that takes about 10 seconds to fix.

Try this simple Windows 10 audio solution first

Windows 10 audio not working
More often than not, when Windows 10 audio isn’t working, the problem is the wrong playback device being enabled.

Start with the simplest thing first. In your system tray, next to the clock, you’ll see a speaker icon. Refer to the picture on the right if you’re not familiar with the system tray.If you don’t see the speaker, click on the up arrow to the left, and you should see the speaker there.

Click on the speaker icon and take a look at what comes up. You should see your volume, along with your playback device.

Since you’re staring right at the volume, make sure the volume isn’t set to 0.  This setting may be independent of whatever your speakers are set to, so you could have your speakers cranked up to 11 and not hear anything because your computer’s volume is set to 0.

Next, take a look at the text above the volume. Your speakers and your headphones are usually separate audio playback devices, as far as Windows 10 is concerned. Usually when I experience Windows 10 audio not working, or my kids experience it, it’s because Windows decided to switch from speakers to headphones for some odd reason.

Turn your volume down so you don’t give yourself a sudden blast of loud audio. Then click the text, choose your speakers, then you’re golden. No need for a reboot or anything else.

This problem happens to me or one of my kids about once a year or so, it seems, and this is always the solution. I don’t know why everyone goes right to device drivers about this.

Run the Windows 10 Audio Troubleshooter

Windows 10 audio not working
You don’t run the Windows 10 Audio Troubleshooter directly. It’s a button in the sound settings applet.

If that didn’t fix your issue, it’s time to run the Windows 10 Audio Troubleshooter. If your Windows 10 audio issue is more than just the wrong output device being selected, this will usually find it.

To run the Windows 10 audio troubleshooter, click Start, then type audio, and click the audio settings. Look down below the volume setting. There’s a button called Troubleshoot. Click that button, and Windows will run a wizard to help you step through troubleshooting the issue.

More often than not, if the problem isn’t just that you have the headphones selected, the audio troubleshooter will locate the issue for you and help you fix it. The wizard does most of the work automatically, but will prompt you when it needs to know how to proceed.

Checking your audio device driver

Windows 10 audio not working
This audio driver is working properly. If you see a malfunction here, you might want to reinstall the driver, or try rebooting.

I won’t say the problem is never your device driver, and if it is, the audio troubleshooter will usually find it. But here’s how to check the driver manually. Click your Start menu, then type device manager, and click on the Device Manager control panel when it comes up on your menu. Scroll down to Sound, video, and game controllers and double click to expand it. Your sound driver usually will be called something like High Definition Audio Device. Double-click on it and look at the device status. If the driver is working properly, check things like cable connections and the volume knob on your speakers. It’s unusual for cables to go bad or come unplugged, but it can happen.

If you see an error, you have a driver problem. Click on the driver tab, and you’ll see some options there, including an Update Driver button and a Roll Back Driver button. If you’ve never updated your driver, the rollback option will be disabled.

Audio drivers don’t change all that frequently, so even though this is everyone’s go-to, there won’t necessarily be a newer driver for you to install. But it’s worth a try.

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