How Do I Test Surround Sound in Windows?

By Aaron Parson

Use the speaker configuration in Windows' Sound Control Panel to test your surround sound speakers or change the number of speakers.

Many music files and applications don't make use of more than two speakers, making it hard to tell if your new surround sound speakers are correctly placed, plugged in and working. Windows 7 and 8 have a built-in speaker test, so you don't need any extra software to test your setup. If your sound cuts out entirely, and you haven't touched your speaker setup, reboot your computer first to try and fix the problem.

Step 1

Right-click the speaker icon in the system tray on the Windows taskbar -- or in the taskbar's hidden icon section, which can be revealed with the up arrow -- and choose Playback Devices.


If you can't find the speaker icon, search for and open the Sound Control Panel using the Start menu or Start screen.

Step 2

Click Configure.

Select the audio device you want to test and click Configure. On most systems, you'll want to select the device labeled as the "Default Device."


If you aren't getting any sound out of your speakers, you might have the wrong device set as the default. Choose a device, click Set Default and restart any open programs to switch devices.

Step 3

Pick a number of speakers.

Select how many channels (speakers) your surround sound system has. Click Next if you had to change from the selected number of channels originally displayed in the setup.

If you don't see the correct number of channels as an option, your sound card or sound device might not support that many channels. Another possibility is that you need to install, update or reinstall the drivers for the device.


When you click Next, Windows asks other questions about your speaker setup, letting you disable any speakers you don't have or set which speakers have full-range sound. Usually, you won't need to change anything, so click Next on each page, and then click Finish.

Step 4

Test one or all speakers.

Click a speaker icon to test an individual speaker, or click Test to test each speaker in order. As each speaker plays, its icon animates to help you identify broken or misplaced speakers.

If the correct number of channels is selected, but you still don't hear audio from every speaker, check the connections. Surround sound speakers require either three or four color-coded cables; if you only plug in the regular green cable, you'll only get stereo sound.

Step 5

Click Cancel to close the window after testing.