Why Won’t My Audio Devices Work After a Windows 10 Reset?

A computer reboot can usually reset a nonresponsive computer, but if an audio device fails to work, a software or hardware issue may be at fault. If you’re experiencing no sound from your headset and speakers, or if your microphone stops working, continue reading on.

Check Your Audio Device

It’s possible that your audio device is not configured correctly. Make sure it is not a hardware issue first:

  • Check that your device is powered on and try a different outlet if needed.
  • For speakers, check your volume levels – turn your volume levels all the way up. Be sure to check your device manuals for specific instructions.
  • Check for loose connections and loose cables.
  • Try connecting your device to a different USB /Audio Port.

Tip: Keep in mind that headphones will normally prevent speakers from turning on.

Try Different Audio Qualities

Your audio device might be trying to play sound at an audio level that it is not designed for. Try changing the audio quality. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Start menu and search for Sound
  2. Right-click your device and click Properties
  3. Navigate to the Advanced tab, change the Default Format and click Test
  4. Cycle through each Default Format until one works

Check Your Drivers

Outdated audio drivers can prevent your devices from working, as drivers are needed for the operating system to communicate to its hardware devices. Drivers can update sporadically, so automatic driver updates are recommended. The process can be manually done as well but may require more steps.

Start in Safe Mode

Before messing with your drivers, it’s best to start in safe mode. Safe mode uses limited computer resources and helps isolate the issue. If your audio devices start to work in safe mode, then drivers are not the issue. Starting your computer in safe mode is simple:

  1. Go to Start and search for Settings
  2. Select Update & Security
  3. Select Open Recovery Settings
  4. Select Reset this PC
  5. Select Advanced Startup and navigate to Startup Settings to restart in Safe Mode

Update Your Drivers

Drivers receive new updates that might fail to install when required. Drivers should be updated so that Windows can interact with your audio devices correctly. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to the Start menu and search for Device Manager
  2. Expand the Sound, video and game controllers menu
  3. Right-click your sound card and select Properties
  4. Click the Driver tab and click Update Driver

Reinstall Your drivers

Drivers may be corrupted and require a fresh install. Reinstalling drivers is easy. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to the Start menu and search for Device Manager
  2. Expand the Sound, video and game controllers menu
  3. Right-click your audio driver and select Uninstall

Note: Windows will automatically reinstall your drivers after restarting

Install a Windows Generic Driver

If your driver still fails to work, a compatibility issue may be at hand. Install the Windows 10 generic drive to resolve compatibility issues. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to the Start menu and search for Device Manager
  2. Expand the Sound, video and game controllers menu
  3. Right-click your sound card and select Properties
  4. Click the Driver tab and click Update Driver
  5. Select Browse my computer for driver software
  6. Select Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer
  7. Select High Definition Audio Device (which is the Windows generic driver) and click Next

If installing the generic issue does not resolve your sound, continue reading on.

What to Do if Your Audio Fails After an Update

Updates can cause unintended system changes and create errors with your device drivers. Try rolling back your drivers or use a system restore point.

How Do You Roll Back a Driver?

Newer drivers may not be compatible with your version of Windows. Try rolling back Windows to an earlier driver version. Here’s how:

  1. Start your system in safe mode (directions in the previous section)
  2. Navigate to Start and search for Device Manager
  3. Navigate to the Sound, video and game controller drop down
  4. Right-click your device and select Properties
  5. From the Driver tab, select Roll Back Driver

Consider a System Restore

Microsoft will automatically create restore points to resolve any issues that arise. If your audio device was previously working, try a system restore. Keep in mind that any apps or drivers that were installed after the restore point will be removed and personal files will remain. Performing a system restore is easy:

  1. From the Start menu, search for Control Panel
  2. Select System and Security
  3. Select Security and Maintenance
  4. Select Recovery
  5. Select Open System Restore
  6. Click Next
  7. Select a System Restore point and then Scan for affected programs. If you’re comfortable with the list of changes, select Next and

Check Your System

The Windows operating system contains multiple features that may prevent your audio device from registering. Windows audio enhancements and multiple devices are some of the settings that might need adjusting to detect your audio device correctly.

Try Running the Windows Audio Troubleshooter

Windows provides an automated troubleshooter. It does not always detect the issue but may help provide a quick fix. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to the Start menu and search for Audio Troubleshooter
  2. Click Find and fix audio playback problems (for speaker issues) or Find and fix audio recording problems (for microphone issues) and click Next
  3. You will have the option to troubleshoot Speakers or Headphones and click Next

Check that Windows Is Using the Correct Device

Multiple audio devices can misdirect your system audio and prevent the correct audio device from being selected. Set your system to the correct audio device and start listening to you your audio now. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to the Start menu and search for Sound
  2. Select the device you’re using and click Set Default

Note: If sound cannot be heard, try a different audio device (if available).  A device that is incorrectly connected can easily be creating the issue. If not, read on.

Check Audio Enhancements

Audio enhancements are used to improve audio performance but maybe cause issues as well. Try turning them off. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to the Start menu and search for Sound
  2. Right-click your device and select Properties
  3. Select the Enhancements tab
  4. Select Disable all enhancements and click Apply

Tip: Enhancements must be disabled for each device being tested. Your sound card may provide additional enhancements that can be used instead. Check your sound card’s documentation.

Let’s Keep Your Audio Devices Running

Audio devices that fail to start can be problematic and often arise from software or hardware issues. After troubleshooting your audio device, you may find that a Windows setting or device driver was preventing your audio device from working clearly.

Just remember, if your audio stops working, be sure to check your audio settings first. Audio settings can be accidentally changed, and you definitely want the correct audio device set to default. Keep your drivers updated, and the correct audio device selected.

To save the stress and to keep your audio devices running, let automatic driver updates keep your audio hardware updated. Download Driver Support and stop hardware issues from interfering with your music.

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