Why Doesn't My Computer Make Any Sound?

You click on a video, a sound file, or a favorite musician's MySpace page, but you hear nothing! What's wrong, and how do you fix it?


Simple as it may seem, make sure your volume is turned on and up. In order for your computer to emit sound, the volume must be on in several locations.

First, check your speakers. Is the power on? Is the volume turned up?

Next, check the volume settings for the computer as a whole. Find and double-click on the round speaker icon on the status bar (usually the lower, right-hand side of the screen). Make sure none of the "Mute" boxes are checked, and that the sliders that control volume level are all the way up.

Finally, check the volume in the software program you're using. Most multimedia software comes with mute and volume controls. Find them (if you can't, try the "Help" section) and make sure the sound isn't muted and the volume is up.

Proper Connections

Make sure all the cables associated with your speakers are connected firmly and properly. Most speakers have a power cable and a cable to connect to the computer. Make sure the cable connected to the computer is inserted in the jack for speakers or headphones, and not the jack for a microphone.

Some speaker sets also require you to plug in a cable that connects the individual speakers to each other.

Sound Settings

If the sound you're missing is the beep of a notification or a short tune when the computer boots up or shuts down, check your sound settings.

Go to the "Control Panel" (through the "Start" button), and choose "Sounds and Audio Devices" (or just "Sound" in Windows Vista). Under the "Sounds" tab appears a list of sounds that accompany actions you perform on the computer. To hear a sound associated with an action, double-click it. If an action has no speaker icon next to it, no sound accompanies that action.

You can add or change the sound associated with an action by clicking once and highlighting the action. Then click "Browse" and find the .wav file that you would like to hear when you perform that action.

Sound Card

If the previous steps haven't fixed your problems, check your sound card. Go to your sound settings as described in the previous section, but click on the "Hardware" tab (or "Playback" in Windows Vista) instead of the "Sounds" tab.

Highlight your sound card and click "Properties." Windows should tell you if the "device is working properly." If it isn't, click "Troubleshoot" and follow the step-by-step instructions that appear.

Other Possible Fixes

Other possible solutions include downloading all Windows updates, the latest versions of the software in use, and the driver for your sound card.

If all else fails, contact the technical support for Windows and/ or the program which refuses to make noise.