Soundcard Problems Solved

First Check Your Speakers

SpeakersThere could be a number of reasons for a lack of sound from your Windows PC.

First make sure you've plugged your speakers into your PC, have turned the speakers on and have turned up the volume. And make sure  you actually have a soundcard installed - either a separate card in a PCI slot or as an integrated feature of your PC's motherboard.

If there is still no sound issuing from your computer try checking that the soundcard actually exists.

A quick way to check for a soundcard without having to turn your computer on is to look at the back of your PC where all the cables are plugged in. If you have a sound card you may see three ports coloured blue, pink and green. The blue port is for "Audio In" which is used to connect an audio source to play through your computer such as an MP3/4 player. The pink port is for an external microphone which would allow you to add voice to a video, for example. Finally, the green port is for "Audio Out" and is used for external speakers or headphones.

However, you may not have a sound card with colour coded ports. In that case, try to see if the ports are labelled in any way either with words or symbols. It's a good idea to check your owner’s manual if you have one.

If you are not too sure about the quick check above you will need to turn your PC on to check if a soundcard exists. To check for an existing soundcard on a Windows 7 or Windows Vista PC, click on the Start button and in the Search programs and files search box type device manager and you will see Device Manager at the top of the list. Click it  to open it up.

(To check for a soundcard on a Windows XP machine, click on the Start button, then Control Panel, double-click the System icon, then in the System window click on the Hardware tab, then in the hardware window click on Device Manager.)

Sound controllersScroll down the Device Manager list and click on "Sound, video and game controllers" to expand the contents. If you see a soundcard listed, then you do have one installed.

If you don't see a sound card listed, your system may have been delivered without  a sound card being fitted.

If you do see a soundcard in Device Manager (make a note of its name - see later) and it has a yellow circle with a question mark on it, then you need to right-click on the soundcard that’s listed and select Properties.

From the General tab, under Device Status, you should see an error message. Hopefully, the error will give you an idea on how to fix the problem or at least tell you what the problem is. If you can't make sense of the error message try searching online for a solution.

The point is that without a soundcard, either integrated into the motherboard or as a separate soundcard in a PCI slot you are not going to hear any music or video dialogue at all. You may still hear a beep when you turn your computer on but that is from a small system speaker that allows you to hear "beep codes" from your BIOS start-up. These codes can be used to diagnose a problem with a computer that will not boot up.

Soundcard Drivers

If you find that you do not have a sound card, your only option would be to install one yourself or ask someone else to install it for you. Check with a technician at a computer store or someone you trust for their recommendation.

Soundcard definitely installed but still no sound

When you click on "Sound, video and game controllers" to expand the contents and you see  a soundcard listed, check its Properties and check the message in the Device Status box. If it reads ‘This device is working properly’ then a soundcard is successfully installed in your PC.

If this is the case a good test would be to remove the speaker cable from the back of your computer and either plug in some headphones or a different set of speakers to see if you can get the sound working. If you can now hear sound coming from your PC then your existing speakers are clearly the problem and you will have to invest in a new set speakers.

If after all this, you still cannot hear any sound coming from your computer then the problem is most likely a driver  issue.

Driver Related Sound Issues

For Windows to be able to recognize your soundcard it must have driver software installed for it to work.

Soundcards, like most devices, require driver software to work properly. If you have an installation CD  that came with your soundcard, you will have to load the CD and install the software so that you have the proper driver for your particular device.

If you don't have a CD, you may be able to get a suitable driver from Windows Update or from the soundcard manufacturer's website. This will also make sure that you have the latest driver for your soundcard. Make sure you know the name, make and model of your soundcard to make it easy to find the right driver.
As a general rule, it’s important to keep all your PC's drivers fully up to date so you might want to invest in software to help you do this.

SlimDrivers is a utility that will check your PC for outdated drivers. Why not give it a try. In the trial version you can download and install your updates, but only individually.

Download SlimDrivers from PC Advisor's website.

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