Why can’t my computer play sound after installing a Windows Vista service pack?

After you install a Windows Vista service pack, you might experience one or more of the following problems with sound:

  • No sound is produced when you play audio files or run programs that have an audio feature.

  • The speaker symbol next to the clock in the notification area displays the message "No audio output device is installed."

  • The sound controller in Device Manager displays a yellow exclamation point.

  • The sound quality changes (for example, if you previously had surround sound, you might now have stereo sound).

There are two ways to fix this problem: automatically or manually.

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To fix the problem automatically

  1. Click this button:

    Picture of a Fix it button
    Fix this problem

  2. In the File Download dialog box, click Run, and then follow the steps in the wizard.

To fix the problem manually

Follow the procedures below in the order they are given. After you try each procedure, determine whether you can hear sound by playing an audio file.

Note

  • If you have external speakers, make sure that they are plugged in and turned on. Also, make sure that the speakers aren't muted and that the volume is set high enough so that you can hear sound.

Restart the computer

  1. Restart your computer at least one time after you install a Windows Vista service pack to verify that all processes related to the installation are complete.

  2. After you restart your computer, determine whether you can hear sound. If you can hear sound, the issue is resolved. If you can't hear sound, go to "Try another audio device."

Try another audio device

  1. If possible, try plugging a different audio device into your computer. For example, if you were using speakers, try a different pair of speakers or a set of headphones to make sure that the problem isn't related to the audio device.

  2. Determine whether you can hear sound. If you can hear sound, there is a problem with the original audio device and the issue is resolved. If you can't hear sound, plug the original audio device back into the computer, and then go to "Unplug the external speakers."

Unplug the external speakers

  1. Unplug the speakers or other audio devices that you might be using, such as headphones, from the computer, and then plug them back into the same jack. Most sound cards that are compatible with Windows Vista include a feature that detects audio devices plugged into an audio jack. This procedure might prompt the audio detection feature to detect and configure the audio device automatically.

  2. Determine whether you can now hear sound. If you can hear sound, the issue is resolved. If you can't hear sound, go to "Verify that the default audio device is set correctly."

Verify that the default audio device is set correctly

After you install a Windows Vista service pack, you might find that the default audio device, also known as the playback device, was changed. You might also find that the sound quality has changed. Make sure that the default audio device is set correctly for the audio device that you are using. To set the default device, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click Control Panel, click Hardware and Sound, and then click Sound.
  2. Click the Playback tab. Make sure the correct default audio device is selected. (For most users, the default audio device is Speakers.)

  3. If your default device isn't set to the correct audio device, on the Playback tab, select the correct device, click Properties, click the Advanced tab, and make sure that Default Format is set to the value that you expect. When finished, click OK.

  4. On the Playback tab, select the playback device, click Configure, and then make sure the configurations are set correctly.

    If the sound settings are set correctly, and your speakers are already set as the default device, go to "Verify that an audio driver is installed" now.

  5. Select the audio device that you want as the default audio device, and then click Set Default.

  6. Click OK to save your settings.

Verify that an audio driver is installed

Without an audio driver, you won't hear sound. To make sure that an audio driver is installed, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click Control Panel, click System and Maintenance, and then click Device Manager. Se requiere permiso de administrador Si se le solicita una contraseña de administrador o una confirmación, escriba la contraseña o proporcione la confirmación.
  2. In the Device Manager dialog box, double-click Sound, video, and game controllers.

    If there is a speaker icon next to the audio driver, the driver is installed. If there is a yellow question mark next to the audio driver, the driver isn't installed or working properly.

    Go to "Reinstall the audio driver" to reinstall the audio driver and test for sound.

Reinstall the audio driver

If the audio driver isn't installed or working properly, try reinstalling the audio driver by following these steps:

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click Control Panel, click System and Maintenance, and then click Device Manager. Se requiere permiso de administrador Si se le solicita una contraseña de administrador o una confirmación, escriba la contraseña o proporcione la confirmación.
  2. In the Device Manager dialog box, double-click Sound, video, and game controllers.

  3. Right-click the audio device that was included with the computer, and then click Properties.

  4. Click the Driver tab, and then click Uninstall.

  5. Make sure that the Delete the driver software for this device check box is cleared, and then click OK.

  6. In the Device Manager dialog box, click the Action menu, and then click Scan for hardware changes.

  7. Determine whether you can now hear sound. If you can hear sound, the issue is resolved. If the audio driver didn't reinstall, or if it did reinstall, but you still can't hear sound, go to "Update the audio driver."

Update the audio driver

  • If the audio driver doesn't seem to be working, check to see whether there's an updated audio driver that you can install. To request an updated audio driver, contact the manufacturer of the audio driver or the device.

    For information about how to contact hardware and software vendors, see Hardware and software vendor contact information.

Note

  • In some cases, the manufacturer might instruct you to uninstall the current audio driver and to delete the driver files. To do this, follow the steps in "Reinstall the audio driver," but at step 5, select the Delete the driver software for this device check box.