Content of the material
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Related Articles
- 6. Fix your audio drivers
- Default playback device in Windows
- Change the Minimum Processor State
- Hardware Volume Controls
- Corrupt Windows system files
- Setting or Locking the Windows Volume Level
- Speaker Admin
- 13. If you have microphone issues, make sure your privacy settings are configured properly
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my volume so low? Dust clogging your desktop’s speakers and hardware issues are often causing this problem. An audio enhancement software such as Boom 3D will easily correct that.
How do I fix low volume on my laptop? Checking every volume control for programs is probably the first thing that you should do. If this makes no difference, apply the steps detailed in this guide to fix Windows 10 low volume issues.
How do I increase the volume on Windows 10? If that’s your wish as well, the nifty tricks you may apply include adding Sound Booster or VLC Media Player to Windows, as described in this article dedicated to increasing laptop volume.
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6. Fix your audio drivers
Hardware problems can be caused by outdated or malfunctioning drivers. Make sure your audio driver is up to date and update it if needed. If that doesn’t work, try uninstalling the audio driver (it will reinstall automatically). If that doesn’t work, try using the generic audio driver that comes with Windows. If you’re having audio issues after installing updates, try rolling back your audio driver. To update your audio driver automatically In the search box on the taskbar, type device manager, then select it from the results. Select the arrow next to Sound, video and game controllers to expand it. Right-click the listing for your sound card or audio device, such as headphones or speakers, select Update driver, then select Search automatically for updated driver software. Follow the instructions to complete the update. If Windows doesn’t find a new driver, look for one on the device manufacturer’s website and follow those instructions. If that doesn’t work, try uninstalling your audio driver. To uninstall your audio driver In the search box on the taskbar, type device manager, then select it from the results. Select the arrow next to Sound, video and game controllers to expand it. Right-click the listing for your sound card or audio device, select Uninstall device, select the Delete the driver software for this device check box, and then select Uninstall. Restart your PC. Note: Be sure to save documents and any other current work before you restart. This restart will automatically prompt your PC to reinstall your audio driver. To restart, select Start > Power > Restart . If those options didn’t work, try using the generic audio driver that comes with Windows. To use the generic audio driver that comes with Windows In the search box on the taskbar, type device manager, then select it from the results. Select the arrow next to Sound, video and game controllers to expand it. Right-click the listing for your sound card or audio device, then select Update driver > Browse my computer for driver software > Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer. Select the audio device whose driver you want to update, select Next, and then follow the instructions to install it. If these steps didn’t solve your audio issue, visit your device manufacturer’s website and install the most recent audio/sound drivers for your device. Following is an example of a driver download page for a sound device manufacturer. If you have audio issues after installing updates If your audio was working before you ran Windows Update and now isn’t working, try rolling back your audio driver. To roll back your audio driver In the search box on the taskbar, type device manager, then select it from the results. Select the arrow next to Sound, video and game controllers to expand it. Right-click the listing for your sound card or audio device, then select Properties. Select the Driver tab, then select Roll Back Driver. Read and follow the instructions and then select Yes if you want to roll back your audio driver. If rolling back your audio driver didn’t work or wasn’t an option, you can try to restore your PC from a system restore point. Restore your PC from a system restore point When Microsoft installs updates on your system, we create a system restore point in case problems arise. Try restoring from that point and see if that fixes your sound problems. For more info, see “Restore from a system restore point” in Recovery options in Windows 10.
Default playback device in Windows
If your computer has the Windows operating system, make sure the correct playback device is set as the default device for sound output. If the wrong playback device is set as the default device, the sound doesn’t come out of the expected device (i.e., speakers or headphones).
- Open the Control Panel.
- Click or double-click the Hardware and Sound or Sound icon.
- In Windows XP and older, click Manage audio devices under Sound.
- In the Sound window, on the Playback tab, find the entry for the speakers connected to your computer.
- Right-click the speaker’s entry and select Set as Default Device.
- Click OK at the bottom of the Sound window to save the settings change.
Change the Minimum Processor State
Windows lets you select from various power plans. This is important if you have a laptop computer, as some power plans turn off various system settings to conserve battery power. Unfortunately, settings in the default “balanced” power plan can affect audio quality.
It all has to do with something called the minimum processor state. When set too low, it can result in crackling and distorted sound. To increase this setting, follow these steps:
- Right-click the Windows Start button and select Power Options.
- This opens the Settings window with the Power & sleep page displayed. Scroll down the page to the Related settings section and click Additional power settings.
- This opens the Power Options control panel. Click Change plan settings next to the Balanced
- On the next page, click Change advanced power settings.
- This displays the Power Options dialog box. Scroll to and expand the Processor power management
- Expand the Minimum processor state
- Change the value from 5% (default) to 100% for both On battery and Plugged in.
- Click OK to save your changes.
Hardware Volume Controls
Although this seems to be less common nowadays, many laptops and some netbooks actually have a volume control slider, or more likely a rotary volume control on the side or front of the laptop. This is a hardware control and behaves the same way as an inline volume control on a set of headphones and is completely separate from any operating system volume controls or levels.
The control is usually on the side or front of the laptop, often near the line out, mic and headphone connection sockets. Note these controls are separate to the media controls on some laptops that are between the keyboard and the screen, those do actually alter the master volume level in Windows. The easy way to find out is change the level on your media keys and watch the sliders in the Sound Mixer window.
Corrupt Windows system files
It is possible for Windows system files to become corrupted for any number of reasons. If system files responsible for sound output become corrupted, the computer can stop producing sound of any kind.
If the computer was producing sound recently but is not now, you can try restoring Windows to a previous point when sound was working. If corrupt Windows system files are causing the sound problem, restoring Windows to a point when the sound did work should resolve the issue. For more information, see: How to restore Windows to an earlier copy.Tip
Make sure to back up your important documents before activating a Windows restore point.
Setting or Locking the Windows Volume Level
It’s quite possible that other software or erroneous settings in Windows keep adjusting the Windows volume when you want it to stay at a certain level. Here’s a couple of tools to help with that.
Speaker Admin is a program for XP, Vista, 7 and 8 that can lock your Windows volume level to an exact value at specific times of the day, or it can set the level above or below a certain threshold, for instance quieter in the evenings.
To permanently lock the Windows volume level in Speaker Admin, disable all rules apart from the top one, enter 0 and 24 for the hours, select Exactly for the rule type, enter the volume level to lock to as a percentage and make sure Muted is unticked. Then tick “Only this application can alter system volume” to stop other software trying to alter the master volume in windows, Tick to start with Windows and click Hide to send the program to the background.
Try to alter the master volume now and it will just keep springing back to the level you set. Do note that if you change the default sound device the program needs to be restarted to recognise the change. You can also hide the tray icon and even set a password to stop other users from altering the sound. Watch out for an adware option on install.
If you would like it set the system volume to a default level every time you start your computer, this tool can help. NirCMD has hundreds of different functions for manipulating various options in Windows from the command line, one of those functions is controlling the system volume level. Download and run NirCMD as administrator, then allow it to copy itself to the Windows folder for easier usage.
To create a shortcut which you can either double click on from the desktop or place in your Windows startup folder to set the volume every time you logon to Windows, right click on Desktop > New > Shortcut and type the following into the box:
nircmd.exe setsysvolume 49150
Click Next, give the shortcut a suitable name (Set Volume 75%) and click Finish. Your system volume should now reset to 75% whenever you launch the shortcut. The NirCMD volume setting goes from 0 to 65535, to set if half way use 32767 or obviously to 65535 for 100%.
To simplify things we have created 3 shortcuts for you, for 50%, 75% and 100% volume, complete with a proper icon.
The only requirement for these shortcuts is making sure you have run NirCMD and placed a copy of it into your Windows directory or a recognized system path.
13. If you have microphone issues, make sure your privacy settings are configured properly
1. Select Start > Settings > Privacy , and then select Microphone from the left menu. Under Allow access to the microphone on this device, select Change. Make sure the toggle is turned On. If you’re having this issue with a specific app, scroll down to Choose which Microsoft Store apps can access your microphone and make sure that the toggle next to that app is turned On as well.