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How to troubleshoot USB headset not working on Windows 10?

By Eunice Samson | May 16, 2020 |

greater than 6 minutes

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Headsets are crucial tools for communication, especially when you’re working from home. They can block the noise in your environment, allowing you to concentrate on completing your tasks. Video game enthusiasts also rely on headsets to elevate their gaming experience and talk to their teammates conveniently. What’s great about Windows 10 is it has features that make it easier for users to hook up a headset. For instance, you can use USB hardware to get rid of annoying wires that may come in the way.

Like other peripheral devices, headsets can also malfunction. You probably found this article because you were experiencing audio problems with your device too. Worry no more because we’ve compiled several guides that will teach you how to fix USB headset issues on Windows 10. We’ve also added some bonus tips on how you can effectively determine if your device is properly working.

Method 1: Booting Your PC While Your USB Headset Is Unplugged

The reason why there’s no audio coming from your headset might be because it is conflicting with other peripheral devices connected to your computer. So, before you boot your system, we recommend that you unplug your USB headset. It’s also best if you disconnect all peripheral devices when loading your operating system. Once your OS has loaded completely, you can plug in your USB headset and check if the audio issue is gone.

Method 2: Running the Troubleshooter for Hardware and Devices

One of the great things about Windows 10 is it features troubleshooters that can fix common problems on the OS. So, if you want to know how to fix the USB headset not working on a Windows 10 PC, you must learn how to access the troubleshooter for hardware devices. Here are the steps:

  1. On your keyboard, press Windows Key+S. Doing so will launch the Search box.
  2. Inside the Search box, type “Control Panel” (no quotes), then hit Enter.
  3. Once Control Panel is up, click the drop-down list beside View by, then select Large icons.
  4. From the list, click Troubleshooting.
  5. Now, click Hardware and Sound.
  6. Select Hardware and Devices on the next page, then click Next.
  7. Let the troubleshooter detect any issues with your USB headset. Once the process is complete, follow the on-screen instructions to completely resolve the problem.

Now, if you are running Windows 10 build 1809, you’ll unlikely to see the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter in Control Panel. Microsoft removed the feature from this section in this OS version. However, you can still access the tool by following the steps below:

  1. Go to your taskbar, then right-click the Start icon.
  2. Select Windows PowerShell (Admin) from the results.
  3. If prompted to give permission to the app, click Yes.
  4. Once Windows PowerShell (Admin) is up, run the following command:

msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic

  1. The Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter will pop up. Click Next to proceed.
  2. Complete the process by following the on-screen instructions.
  3. Restart your computer, then check if the issue has been resolved.

After following these steps, play some music on your PC, then check if there’s sound coming from your USB headset. If the issue persists, proceed to the next solution.

Method 3: Switching Your Default Audio Device to Your USB Headset

Some users reported that using their USB headset as their default audio device had fixed the problem. So, we recommend that you try doing the same. You can follow the instructions below:

  1. Go to the bottom-right portion of your taskbar, then right-click the Speakers/Headphone icon.
  2. Select Open Sound Settings from the options.
  3. Go to the right pane, then click Sound Control Panel under Related Settings.
  4. Once the Sound settings window is up, select your USB headset.
  5. Click the Set Default button, then click OK to save the change you’ve made.

After completing these steps, check if your headset is working properly.

Method 4: Updating Your Audio Driver

One of the possible reasons why you’re having issues with your USB headset is because of a corrupted, outdated, or missing audio driver. In this case, the best solution is to update your sound driver. Now, you should know that there are several methods for doing this. You can use the Device Manager, download the driver update manually, or use a tool that can automate the process. Among the three methods, we recommend choosing the last one because the other two can make things complicated. By looking at the steps below, you’ll understand why.

Using the Device Manager

  1. On your keyboard, press Windows Key+R. Doing so will launch the Run dialog box.
  2. Once the Run dialog box is up, type “devmgmt.msc” (no quotes), then click OK.
  3. Once the Device Manager is up, expand the contents of the Sound, Video, and Game Controllers category.
  4. Right-click your USB headset, then select Update Driver from the list.
  5. On the new window, click the ‘Search automatically for updated driver software’ option.

Downloading the Driver Update Manually

As you can see, it is quite convenient to use the Device Manager in updating your audio driver. However, this method can be unreliable at times. In some cases, the Device Manager misses the latest update for the driver, making the entire process useless.

Of course, you have the option to roll up your sleeves and download the driver manually. That said, this method can be risky and time-consuming. You have to scour through driver versions to find the right one for your operating system version and processor type. Now, if you install an incompatible driver, you may encounter system instability issues.

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The Device Manager can be unreliable, and a manual download can be dangerous for your PC. Thankfully, there is a safe, convenient, and efficient way to update your audio driver. You can use a tool such as Auslogics Driver Updater to automate the entire process. All you need to do is download and install this app, and it will automatically recognize your operating system version and processor type. With a few clicks, you will be able to update all your drivers in one go.

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Method 5: Configuring Your Privacy Settings

Some users complained about their PCs not recognizing their USB headsets. This problem can be frustrating, especially when you know that your device is working properly. It is worth noting that this issue probably has something to do with your privacy settings. Certain settings on your PC may be preventing your apps from using the microphone on your device. So, if you want to learn how to get a computer to recognize a USB headset, you need to know how to configure your privacy settings for peripheral devices. Here are the steps:

  1. Launch the Settings app by pressing Windows Key+I on your keyboard.
  2. Once the Settings app is open, click Privacy.
  3. Go to the left pane, then select Microphone from the options.
  4. Move to the right pane, then make sure that the ‘Allow apps to access your microphone’ option is enabled. Also, you should check the apps individually to see which ones you want to grant access to your USB headset’s microphone.

After making changes to your privacy settings, try using your USB headset again and see if it is working without any issues.

Additional Troubleshooting Tips for Your USB Headset

Knowing how to enable USB headphones on Windows 10 is one thing, but ensuring that the device works without issues is another thing. So, aside from recommending solutions to USB headset audio problems, we will also share how you can check the sound output on your Windows 10 PC. Here are the steps:

  1. Go to your taskbar, then click the Sound icon.
  2. From the drop-down menu, select your USB headset.
  3. After ensuring that your sound output device is set to your USB headset, you need to test it. The first thing you need to do is right-click the Sound icon on your taskbar.
  4. Click Open Sound Settings from the options.
  5. On the right pane, click the Sound Control Panel link.
  6. Select your USB headset.
  7. At the bottom-right portion of the window, click Properties.
  8. Go to the Advanced tab, then click the Test button.

If there’s sound coming from your headset, then you’ve successfully resolved the issue.

Are there other troubleshooting tips you can recommend?

Let us know in the comments below!

Fed up with your slow PC? Tired of waiting for Windows to start up? Take a look at the most common reasons behind poor performance and the best ways to deal with them here.

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