You notice that your computer is not playing any sound. You might see the Speaker icon in your taskbar with a red x on it. So, you think that you probably turned down the volume too low or set it to mute. However, when you place your mouse over the Speaker icon, you see a message that says, ‘No audio output device is installed.’ What a bothersome sight.

You won’t enjoy your PC very much when it does not play sounds, and neither can you use your microphone for voice input. Now, there are two primary reasons why this problem might occur. Either the operating system has disabled your audio output device, or you have outdated/corrupt/missing driver software. It is also possible that the audio card itself is faulty and you have to replace it.

Whatever the reason may be, you will find out soon enough. There are sure-fire fixes that will help you get your speakers working again. Take a look:

  1. Run the built-in audio troubleshooter
  2. Re-enable your audio device
  3. Update your audio driver
  4. Reinstall your audio driver
  5. Update the Intel Smart Sound Technology Audio Control driver
  6. Check for hardware faults
  7. Contact PC support

You might not need to attempt all the above solutions. Take them from the top until sound returns to your computer.

Fix 1: Update Your Audio Driver

Updating the software for your sound device is the first port of call. Software is the soul of your computer. Without it, your PC is but a shell. In that note, when the required driver for audio output is not present or is now outdated, the system will simply stop producing sound.

Now, there are different ways of updating your drivers:

  • Downloading the Executable File from the Manufacturer’s Website: This method involves visiting the official website of your computer manufacturer to download and install the latest version of the drivers you need. Some OEMs have a very user-friendly wizard (for example, HP Support Assistant) to help you get the correct driver for your hardware devices.
  • Installing the Driver from Windows Updates: In addition to security improvements, bug patches, among several other things, Windows Updates also contains the recent version of all drivers that your computer needs to function normally. Follow these steps to update your audio driver:
  • Open Windows Settings. To do so, press the Windows + I keyboard combination. Alternatively, go to the Start menu (Hit the Windows key) and click on Settings (represented by the cogwheel icon).
  • Head to Update & Security.
  • Click on Windows Update from the options in the left pane.
  • Click the button that says, Check for Updates to run a full Windows update. Alternatively, you can click the ‘View optional updates’ link below the Check for Updates button and see if you will find the audio driver under Driver Updates. If the driver is available, tick the box and click the ‘Download and Install’ button.
  • Restart your computer to complete the process.
  • Using the Device Manager: The Device Manager is a utility in Windows that enables you to work on all devices on your PC. You can enable/disable them and update or uninstall the driver software—whatever it is you need. So, here is how to update your audio output driver via the Device Manager:
  • Press and hold the Windows key on your keyboard and then press X. Doing so opens the Power-user menu.
  • Click on Device Manager.
  • Scroll down and locate ‘Sound, video and game controllers.’ Double-click on it to reveal the items it contains.
  • Right-click on your audio device and click on Update Driver Software from the context menu.
  • Choose to allow the system to search for the updated driver software automatically. Make sure that your internet connection is active.
  • Restart your computer when the process is complete.
  • Employing a Specialized Updater Program: This is the easiest way to keep all drivers on your computer updated at all times. An app, such as Auslogics Driver Updater, monitors your computer to let you know when a driver becomes outdated, corrupt, or missing. The tool then obtains the driver from the original manufacturer and installs it for you. Driver Updater ensures that you only get the driver software that matches your PC since incorrect drivers cause dire issues.

Here is how to use Auslogics Driver Updater to update your audio driver:

  • Download and install Driver Updater.
  • Once the program launches, it automatically detects your PC specs, including the Windows version.
  • Click the Start Search button to discover all the hardware devices on your computer that require drivers.
  • Once the search is complete, locate your audio device and click the Update button beside it.
  • Wait for the Driver Updater to download and install the latest software for your device.
  • Restart your computer.

After you have successfully updated your audio output driver, the red x on your speaker icon and the ‘No audio output device is installed’ message will be gone. Your speakers will play sound again.

Fix 2: Re-Enable Your Audio Device

You might be seeing the ‘Audio output device not installed’ error message because your sound device is not enabled. You can enable it via the Device Manager. Here is how to enable an output device on Windows 10:

  1. Go to the Windows Start menu by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard or clicking the icon on your screen.
  2. Type “Run” (no quotes) in the search bar and click on the option when it appears in the search results.

Tip: You can open the Run dialog box more quickly by using the keyboard combination. Simply press and hold the Windows key and then hit R.

  1. Once the Run command opens, type “Devmgmt.msc” (no quotes) and hit Enter on your keyboard or click the OK button on the accessory.
  2. Scroll through the list of devices in the left-hand side of the Device Manager window to locate ‘Sound, video and game controllers.’

Note: If you cannot find the ‘Sound, video and game controllers’ entry in Step 4, here is what you should do:

  • Click the Action tab in Device Manager’s menu bar and click on ‘Add legacy hardware.’

Note: If you see only Help when you open the Action tab, move away from the tab and click a blank area of the Device Manager menu bar. Then, click on the Action tab again. Other options, including ‘Add legacy hardware,’ will now appear in the pop-up.

  • When the Add Hardware wizard comes up, click Next to proceed.
  • Select the option that says, ‘Search for and install hardware automatically (Recommended).’
  • When the search is complete, the wizard will display that it found no new hardware on your computer. It then requests that you click Next to select the hardware from a list. Click Next to proceed.
  • Now, scroll through the list of hardware types and click on ‘Sound, video and game controllers.’
  • Click Next.
  • Scroll through the Manufacturer field and select Realtek.
  • Select Realtek High Definition Audio in the ‘Model’ field.

Note: If the manufacturer and model of your sound card is not Realtek, make sure that you select the appropriate options instead.

  • Click Next to install the device.
  • Click Finish.
  1. Expand the ‘Sound, video and game controllers’ category by double-clicking on it or by clicking the arrow on the left-hand side. You will now see the devices in the category.
  2. Right-click on your audio device and click Enable from the context menu.
  3. Close Device Manager and restart your computer. The problem you had will no longer occur.

Fix 3: Reinstall Your Audio Driver

Reinstalling your audio driver, especially if you have already updated it, can help resolve the audio issue. Follow the steps below to do the needful:

  1. Press and hold the Windows key on your keyboard and then press X. Doing so opens the Power-user menu.
  2. Click on Device Manager.
  3. Double-click on ‘Sound, video and game controllers’ or click the arrow on the left side to expand the option.
  4. Right-click on your audio device and click on Uninstall from the context menu to uninstall the driver.
  5. Restart your computer.
  6. After the system reboots, Windows will automatically reinstall the sound driver. Open Device Manager and switch to the Action tab. Then, click on Scan for Hardware Changes.

Alternatively, if you previously downloaded the executable file for the sound driver to your computer, run it to reinstall the driver.

Fix 4: Run the Built-In Audio Troubleshooter

Windows has an automatic tool for fixing sound issues. Have you installed the correct audio driver, but the ‘No audio output device is installed’ message still shows up? If so, you should run the audio troubleshooter. It will help identify what is wrong with your computer’s audio device.

Follow these steps to run the Windows audio troubleshooter:

  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard to invoke the Start menu.
  2. Click the Cogwheel icon to open Settings.

Tip: Alternatively, you can open the Windows Settings app much faster by pressing the Windows + I combination on your keyboard.

  1. Click on Update & Security.
  2. Click on Troubleshoot from the Update & Security options in the right-pane.
  3. Scroll through the items on the right-hand side of the page and locate Playing Audio. Click on it and then click the ‘Run the troubleshooter’ option.
  4. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the troubleshooting process.

Fix 5: Update the Intel Smart Sound Technology Audio Control Driver

Some users reported that they resolved the ‘No audio output device installed’ error on their computer by updating the Intel Smart Sound Technology Audio Control driver. Follow the steps below to get it done:

  1. Open the Run dialog box (Press the Windows key + R combo on your keyboard) and type “Devmgmt.msc” (no quotes) in the text field. Then, press Enter.
  2. When Device Manager opens, scroll to the bottom of the list to find the System Devices category. Then, double-click on the option to expand it.
  3. Right-click on Intel Smart Sound Technology Audio Control and then click Update Driver Software from the context menu.
  4. Select ‘Search automatically for updated driver software’ and wait for the system to download and install the latest driver automatically.
  5. Restart your computer.

When you complete the process as shown, you will notice that your speakers will begin working again. The red x over the Speaker icon in your taskbar will be gone.

Fix 6: Check for Hardware Faults

The missing audio output device could be due to a defective sound card. Consult a PC repair expert to find out for sure. If your sound card is faulty, you can easily replace it. The device does not cost much.

Fix 7: Contact PC Support

By the time you have tried all the solutions presented in this guide, you are sure to successfully resolve the ‘No sound’ problem on your computer. However, in the unlikely event that the issue remains unresolved, you can reach out to your computer’s customer support. See if they have any suggestions that will prove useful.

Now that we have the speaker problem aside, let us now move on to fixing non-functional audio input on a Windows computer. Keep reading.

How to Fix the Audio Input on a Windows Laptop

When audio input does not work, it means that your computer or apps do not receive your voice when you try using the microphone. In other words, you cannot use voice command on Cortana. You cannot communicate when gaming, making a video or audio call, or when using conferencing apps like Zoom or GoToMeeting.

There are many things you can do to get your audio input device working again:

  1. Restart your computer
  2. Check the microphone options on your system
  3. Test your microphone in the sound control panel
  4. Set your default input device
  5. Check the audio settings of your app
  6. Run the Recording Audio troubleshooter
  7. Enable Microphone in Device Manager
  8. Enable Microphone in BIOS settings
  9. Update or install your audio drivers
  10. Make sure the microphone is connected properly
  11. Check whether the microphone or headset is muted
  12. Check the volume of the microphone on your computer

Let us attempt the solutions one after the other until we successfully resolve the sound input problem.

Fix 1: Restart Your Computer

As basic as this solution sounds, it is still worth the shot. The audio services on your device might fail, and restarting your computer can make those services start again, thereby resolving the audio input device not working issue.

Fix 2:  Check the Microphone Options on Your System

The Windows 10 Settings app contains some options that deny microphone access to Windows and all the apps on your computer.

Here is what you should do:

  1. Call up the Settings app. To do so, press and hold the Windows key, then press I.
  2. Click the Privacy option.
  3. Switch to Microphone in the left pane.
  4. Under the ‘Allow access to the microphone on this device’ section, check whether it says ‘Microphone access for this device is off.’ If mic access is off, both the system and your apps will not get audio from your microphone. So, click the Change button and set the option to On.
  5. Now, scroll down to the ‘Allow apps to access your microphone’ section and click the toggle to activate the option. If app access to the microphone is off, then no app on your system can receive audio from your microphone, but the system itself can.
  6. Under the ‘Choose which apps can access your microphone’ section, make sure that your desired apps are toggled on. Any app you set to Off will not have microphone access.

Note that only Microsoft Store apps are on the list. Third-party desktop applications from outside the Store will always have microphone access once you have enabled the ‘Allow apps to access your microphone’ option.

Fix 3: Test Your Microphone in the Sound Control Panel

There is a Recording tab in the Windows Sound control panel that you can use to test your microphone:

  1. Right-click the Speaker icon in the notification area of your taskbar. Then, click on Sounds from the context menu.
  2. Switch to the Recording tab to see all the audio recording devices on your computer.
  3. Speak out loud or into your microphone. If there is a successful audio input, the level indicator on the recording device’s right-hand side will light up. Also, plug your microphone into different audio jacks on your computer to see if the tool sends audio input.

If your microphone indicates receiving sound, but it still does not work when you try using it, try the next fix below.

Fix 4: Set Your Default Input Device

Do you have multiple input/recording devices on your computer, for example, a built-in microphone and an externally connected microphone? If so, you might want to use one while your computer trying to use another. You will realize that you cannot make any headway. So, what you have to do is set the one you want to use as the default device.

To select the microphone you want your applications to use, here is what you should do:

  1. Right-click the Speaker icon in the notification area of your taskbar. Then, click on Sound from the context menu.
  2. Go to the Recording tab and right-click on your preferred microphone.
  3. Click on Set as Default Device.

You can now try using your microphone again. If nothing works, proceed to the next fix.

Fix 5: Check the Audio Settings of Your App

If your microphone is not working on a particular app, you have to check the audio settings of that app. As it turns out, desktop applications do not always use the default microphone that you chose in the Windows Sound control panel.

Go to the Settings window on the app and set your microphone as the default input device. For example, if you are having trouble using your microphone on Skype, open the app’s menu, and click on Settings. Then, click on Audio & Video and select your default communication device from the list of devices in the right pane.

Another thing you can do is to check whether you have muted your microphone in the software program you are using. Many apps, mostly audio and video conferencing apps, come with built-in mute controls that help users avoid disturbing an ongoing meeting.

Fix 6: Run the Recording Audio Troubleshooter

There is a built-in troubleshooter in Windows 10 that detects and fixes audio recording issues automatically. Initiating the tool can get your microphone working as it should. Follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the Windows Settings app. You can do this by opening the Start menu and clicking on the Gear icon for Settings. You can also use the keyboard combination by holding the Windows key and pressing I.
  2. Open the Update & Security section and click on Troubleshoot in the left pane.
  3. Scroll down the right pane and select the Recording Audio troubleshooter. Then click the ‘Run the troubleshooter’ button and follow the instructions presented to you.

Fix 7: Enable Microphone in the Device Manager

Your computer’s integrated microphone device might be disabled in the Device Manager. You have to re-enable it to make your microphone work again. Here is how to do it:

  1. Right-click the Start/Windows button or press the Windows + X keyboard combination to open the Device Manager.
  2. Expand the ‘Audio Inputs and Outputs’ category and right-click on your internal microphone device. Then, click on Enable Device from the context menu.

Fix 8: Enable Microphone in BIOS Settings

Some laptops allow disabling the integrated microphone via BIOS or UEFI settings. If you did so previously, you will have to go back to your computer’s BIOS and re-enable the microphone.

Fix 9: Update or Install Your Audio Drivers

Without the required driver software, there is no way that you will get sound on your microphone. Visit the website of your PC manufacturer to download and install the correct sound driver for your computer. If your microphone is USB-connected, you also have to make sure that your USB controller drivers are up to date.

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Other Solutions You Should Try

If nothing works at this point, after you have tried all the ideas already given, do not lose hope just yet.

Check Whether You Muted the Microphone or Headset

Your connected recording or input device might have a mute button or switch. When this switch/button is triggered, the microphone will not report the action to your computer. However, it might have an indicator that will let you know when you have muted your sound. So, you have to check and make sure that you have not mistakenly muted your microphone.

Check the Volume of the Microphone on Your Computer

Your microphone is probably functional, but you turned down the volume on your computer. Here is what you should do:

  1. Go to your OS settings. Simply press the Windows + I keyboard combination.
  2. When the Settings window opens, click on System.
  3. Click on Sound in the left pane.
  4. In the right pane, expand the drop-down menu under Input and choose your input device.
  5. Now, click the Device Properties link.
  6. In the new page that opens, make sure that the checkbox for Disable is not marked. Then, drag the Volume knob to increase your microphone’s volume to a reasonable level.

Make Sure the Microphone Is Connected Properly

If you are using an external input device, make sure you did not plug it into the audio output port instead of the audio input/microphone port. If the device is connected via USB, ensure that it seats properly, or try plugging it into a different USB port on your computer.

You can also try using the input device on another computer to be sure that it is functional. If the device is broken, you have no other option than to get it replaced or attempt fixing it if you can. However, should the device work fine on another computer, then it is likely that your PC’s audio jack is faulty.

Conclusion

There may come a time when your computer cannot play sounds or let you use your microphone. These issues often arise when the drivers for your audio hardware are outdated or missing. So, you have to make sure that you regularly update your driver software (Auslogics Driver Updater makes the process easy). But apart from drivers, other factors can cause your audio devices to stop working. We addressed those issues in this post, providing detailed steps to help you get your device functioning normally again.

If you have questions regarding any of the solutions presented in this guide, please be sure to reach out to us. Slide into the comments section below. You can also let us know what you think about this post. Tell us the fixes that worked for you.