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HP Desktop PCs - No Sound from the Speakers (Windows 8)

This document applies to HP and Compaq desktop computers with Windows 8.
The steps in this document describe how to troubleshoot and fix the problem when there is no sound coming from the speakers.
Step 1: Using the Troubleshooting tool in Windows 8
The Troubleshooting tool in Windows 8 can automatically fix common problems with your computer, such as audio recording. Although it may not fix every problem, it is useful to run the Troubleshooting tool first before you manually correct problems.
To open the Troubleshooting tool:
  1. Move the mouse pointer to the lower left corner of the screen, right-click, and select Control Panel from the menu.
    Figure : Control Panel
    Image of the Control Panel in Win 8.
  2. Under System and Security click Find and fix problems.
    Figure : Find and fix problems
    Image of the Control Panel with Find and fix problems highlighted.
  3. Click Hardware and Sound.
    Figure : Troubleshooting screen
    Image of the Troubleshooting screen in Win 8 with Hardware and Sound highlighted.
Step 2: Checking for sound from headphones
Two types of headphone connectors are available on HP computers. One supports only sound to the headphones, and the other supports sound to the headphones and the use of a microphone. The connectors are marked with symbols next them.
  • Connectors on the computer marked with a headset only,, support output sound only and work with a standard three-pin headphone or a four-pin headphone, for sound.
    Figure : Standard three-pin plug
    Standard three-pin jack
  • Connectors on the computer marked with a headset with a microphone,, support sound and the use of a microphone when used with a headset with a four-pin plug and a microphone.
    Figure : Four-pin plug
    Four-pin jack
    To hear sound, either plug may be used with either connector. Using a four-pin plug that is capable of supporting a microphone in a three-pin connector allows sound to be heard, but the microphone does not work because the computer's three-pin connector does not support a microphone.
Step 3: Checking volume and mute settings in Windows 8
The volume setting for one or more sound devices might be disabled or set too low. There are several things that can change sound volume: the volume control knob for your speakers or monitor, Windows volume controls, and volume controls in sound software. If any of these volume controls are muted or set too low, the entire sound experience is affected.
  1. If your powered speakers have a volume control knob, set it to halfway.
    Figure : Volume control knob for speakers (your speakers might be different)
    Volume control knob for speakers (your speakers might be different)
    If you are using speakers that are built into your monitor, make sure sound is enabled for the monitor and volume is set to halfway. Adjust the sound settings for your monitor by using the buttons on the monitor and/or the on-screen menu. To find more specific information about using and adjusting your monitor speaker settings, see the support documentation that came with your monitor.
    Figure : Volume and menu buttons on a monitor (your monitor might be different)
    Volume and menu buttons on a monitor (your monitor might be different)
  2. Move the mouse pointer to the lower left corner of the screen, right-click, and select Control Panel from the menu.
    Figure : Control Panel
    Image of the Control Panel in Win 8.
  3. Click Hardware and Sound. Under Sound, click Adjust system volume.
    Figure : Adjust system volume
    Image of where to find the Adjust volume selection.
    Figure : Volume Mixer
    Volume Mixer
  4. Make sure the volume is not muted by looking at the square Mute buttons below the volume slider. If the button displays a small red circle, the volume is muted.
    If the volume is muted, click the Mute button to enable sound. The red circle on the speaker icon disappears when sound is no longer muted.
    Sound muted
    Sound not muted
  5. After verifying that the sound is not muted, drag the volume adjuster up until it is at 75%.
  6. To test, click the volume slider bar. If you hear a ding sound from all speakers, you are finished troubleshooting.
    Figure : Testing volume
    Testing volume
    If you still do not hear any sound, set the default speakers and test them.
Step 4: Setting default speakers and testing in Windows 8
Use the following steps to set and test the default speakers.
  1. Move the mouse pointer to the lower left corner of the screen, right-click and then select Control Panel from the menu.
    Figure : Control Panel
    Image of the Control Panel in Windows 8.
  2. Click Hardware and Sound, and then click Sound.
    Figure : Sound window
    Image of Sound window with speakers device highlighted and the Properties button highlighted.
  3. If headphones are connected and you are not using them as your main speakers, disconnect the headphones now. Connecting headphones to the computer mutes other speakers.
  4. Find your connection type. If you have more than one connection type, such as HDMI and Speakers, then choose the connection type you want to use.
    Speakers
    If you are using typical computer speakers or headphones (analog sound devices), make sure Speakers is selected. This is the most common sound setup for a desktop computer environment and includes many types of headphones, desktop speakers, 5.1 and 7.1 sound systems. Many monitors with built-in speakers also support a speaker connection using a separate audio cable connected from the computer to the monitor (not an HDMI connection).
    Digital Output
    If you want to send all sound from the computer to digital speakers or a stereo digital device, make sure the playback device labeled with Digital Output is selected.
    HDMI
    If your computer has an HDMI connection and you are trying to use the speakers in a TV or monitor, make sure the playback device labeled with HDMI is selected.
  5. In the Sound window, select your Playback Device and click the Set Default button.
    Figure : Set Default
    Image of the Set Default option on the Sound screen in Windows 8
  6. With the default Playback Device selected, click the Configure button.
  7. Click your speaker setup in Audio channels.
    Figure : Speaker Setup window with 5.1 Surround (five speakers and a subwoofer) selected
    Speaker Setup window with 5.1 Surround (five speakers and a subwoofer) selected
  8. Click the Test button to send sound to each speaker, or click an individual speaker to send sound to it.
  9. If sound is heard correctly from each speaker, you are finished.
    If sound is missing from all or one of the speakers, or if the configuration type was changed, continue with speaker setup by clicking Next. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the speaker setup.
    Play a sound. If sound problems continue, check the speaker connections.
Step 5: Checking speaker connections in Windows 8
Use these steps to make sure you have the speaker cables connected to the correct sound connectors.
  1. Move the mouse pointer to the lower left corner of the screen, right-click and then select Control Panel from the menu.
    Figure : Control Panel
    Image of the Control Panel in Win 8.
  2. Click Hardware and Sound, and then click Sound.
    Figure : Sound window
    Image of Sound window with speakers device highlighted
  3. The Speakers Properties window contains a list of color-coded connectors that corresponds to each pair of speakers. Use this information to determine which connector goes with the speaker pairs that you are using.
    Figure : Speakers Properties window for 7:1 Surround setup
    Speakers Properties window
    The example shown in the image is for a 7.1 Surround setup, where:
    • L R (green, Line Out) is for the front left and right speaker pair (the green connector, usually labeled Line out).
    • RL RR (orange) is for the Rear-left and Rear-right speaker pair.
    • C Sub (black) is for the Center or Subwoofer speaker.
    • SL SR (gray), is for Side Left and Side Right speakers
  4. Make sure each speaker cable is connected to its corresponding connector on the back of the computer. The colors shown in the Speakers Properties window match the connector color on the computer.
  5. If you have 5.1 or greater speakers, connect the speaker cables to the speaker hardware (usually on the subwoofer). Then match the speaker cable to the connectors on the computer using the colors shown in the Speakers Property window.
  6. If any speaker cable connection changed, check for sound again using the steps in Set default speakers and test.
    Play a sound. If you still do not hear any sound, check for sound from headphones.
Step 6: Checking for sound from headphones
If there is still no sound, check for sound output using headphones.
  1. Find and unplug all audio cables from the back of the computer.
  2. Plug headphones directly into the speaker out connector on the back of the computer. The speaker out connector might have a symbol of a speaker or a circle with an arrow pointing out, or it might be labeled as OUT.
  3. Test for sound in Windows. Double-click the volume icon in the taskbar, and then click the volume control slide in the Volume Mixer.
    Figure : Testing volume
    Testing volume
    Each time you click the master volume slide bar, you should hear a beep sound through the headphones.
    • If you hear sound through the headphones, the sound hardware on the computer is working, and the issue is probably related to the speakers or speaker cables. Disconnect the headphones and reconnect the speakers.
      When done, test again for sound using the same steps as above with the volume control slider. If sound still does not work correctly after reconnecting the speakers, try replacing the speaker cable (if possible), or speaker fuse and test again.
    • If you cannot hear sound through the headphones, make sure that you are connecting the headphones into the correct connector, and try again. If there is still no sound, continue to the next step when you are sure the headphones are connected to the correct audio connector on the back of the computer.
      Figure : Computer with 3 rear audio connectors
    1. Microphone connector or Center/Subwoofer Out
    2. Front speaker connector (to front powered speakers or headphones)
    3. Line-in or Rear speaker Out
      Figure : Computer with 6 rear audio connectors
    1. Side speaker out
    2. Rear speaker out
    3. Center and subwoofer out
    4. Microphone
    5. Line-out (to front powered speakers or headphones)
    6. Line-in
Step 7: Restoring the audio driver in Windows 8
Sound files and settings that become changed can cause sound problems. Restore the audio driver to reset audio settings for the sound hardware and reinitialize the sound configuration in Windows.
 note:
If the computer was upgraded to Windows Vista before being upgraded to Windows 8, you might not be able to use all the features of an integrated audio device that is compliant with Audio Codex '97 (AC '97) specifications. To resolve this, update the audio driver. See Step 7: Updating the audio driver.
To roll back to the previously installed driver through the Device Manager, complete the following steps.
  1. Move the mouse pointer to the lower left corner of the screen, right-click, select Device Manager from the menu.
    Figure : Device Manager
    Image of Win 8 Device Manager.
  2. Double-click Sound, video and game controllers.
  3. Right-click the name of the audio device and select Properties.
    Figure : Device Manager audio device properties
    Image of Device Manager, audio device properties
  4. Click the Driver tab.
     note:
    Audio devices will vary depending on the configuration of your computer.
  5. Click Roll Back Driver.
    Figure : Example audio device properties - The audio devices on your computer may be different.
    Image of the driver options for audio device properties
  6. Click Yes to roll back to the previous driver.
  7. Test for sound.
If there is still no sound, update the audio driver.
Step 8: Updating the audio driver
An updated audio driver might resolve the problem if the computer is experiencing sound problems after upgrading the operating system to Windows 8, or the computer is experiencing sound problems in a particular software program.
Step 9: Checking Device Manager in Windows 8
If you cannot hear sound, check Device Manager to determine the state of the sound hardware.
  1. Move the mouse pointer to the lower left corner of the screen, right-click, select Device Manager from the menu.
    Figure : Device Manager
    Image of Win 8 Device Manager.
  2. Double-click Sound, video and game controllers.
  3. Do the following, depending on what displays:
    • If a sound device is not listed and the computer uses a sound card, reseat the sound card into the motherboard slot. Go to the next step if problems continue.
    • If a sound device is listed with a down arrow, the device is disabled. Right-click the sound device name and select Enable to re-enable the device. Go to the next step if problems continue after enabling the device.
      Figure : Enabling a disabled sound device
      Enabling a disabled sound device
    • If a sound device is listed, right-click the device name and select Properties to view more helpful troubleshooting information in the Device Status window. If Device Status shows that the device is working correctly, the problem is probably related to sound settings, the speakers, or the cables.
Step 10: Inspecting speaker hardware (power, speakers, and fuses)
Check the speakers to see if the power cord is connected and that the speakers are receiving power.
Many powered speakers, especially speaker systems with subwoofers, have fuses. If there is no sound coming from the speaker, not even a humming noise, remove and replace the fuse. Even if you do not think that the fuse has blown, it is a good idea to swap the fuse to make sure. If the fuse is still good, you have a backup fuse.
  1. Turn off power to the subwoofer and unplug power to the speakers.
  2. Remove the fuse cover and then the fuse, and look through the glass cylinder. If the wire inside is separated, has dark spots, or burn marks, replace the fuse. If the fuse looks good, swap the fuse anyway and keep the older fuse as a spare.
  3. Buy a new fuse. It is a good idea to take the old fuse to the electronics store when purchasing the new fuse. This way, the old fuse can be used to make sure it matches the new fuse purchased at the store.
  4. Install the new fuse, replace the fuse cap, apply power, turn the speakers on, and test for sound.
To prevent damage to the speakers and to prevent fuses from blowing in the future, keep the following items in mind when using the computer:
  • Turn off the speaker volume control before applying power to the speakers.
  • Like a high-quality home stereo system, it is not good to raise the volume more than half the range of the control knob. Doing so reduces the quality of the sound and is harder on the speakers. Poor sound quality occurs when lower sound levels are raised to a peak level. Lots of sound occurring at one peak level stresses the speakers.
Play a sound. If sound problems continue, test the sound hardware using HP Support Assistant. For more information, refer to the help document Using HP Support Assistant (Windows 8).

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