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HP and Compaq Desktop PCs - Sound Volume is Too Low (Windows Vista)

This document applies to HP and Compaq desktop computers with Windows Vista.
If the speakers that you are using with your computer are not loud enough, use the following step-by-step process to increase sound volume:

Step 1: Using the correct speaker type

A major cause of low volume is using the wrong type of speaker. Good sound volume and quality requires powered speakers. Make sure powered speakers are being used and continue to the next Step.
  • Use powered speakers. Powered speakers connect to a power outlet, connect to a USB port, or use batteries. Most monitor speakers are powered. If your PC speakers or speakers in your monitor have volume controls, they are powered.
    Figure : Powered speakers and audio line-out connector from PC
    Image of powered speakers
  • Passive speakers do not connect to a power outlet or have batteries. Do not use passive speakers. These speakers must be connected to an amplified sound connector on the computer (usually an orange speaker-out connector).
    Figure : Do not use passive speakers
    Image of passive speakers

Step 2: Adjust the volume settings

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. Use the following steps to adjust volumes to correct levels:
  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
  2. If you are using speakers that are built into your monitor, make sure sound is enabled for the monitor and that the volume is set to halfway. Adjust the sound settings for your monitor by using the buttons on the monitor 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
  3. Click Start , and then click Control Panel.
  4. Click Hardware and Sound, and then click Adjust system volume under Sound. The Volume Mixer window opens.
    Figure : Volume Mixer
    Volume mixer
  5. Make sure the sound volume is not muted by looking at the square mute buttons . If the button displays a small red circle, the volume is muted. If muted, click the Mute button to enable sound. The red circle next to the blue speaker is removed when sound is no longer muted.
  6. When you have made sure that volume is not muted, click and drag the Device slide bar adjustment up until it is roughly 75% to the top of the range.
  7. If sound volume is low in only one software program, try to find and adjust the sound settings for that software program. For example, if the volume is correct in Windows, but is too low when playing a DVD movie, open the software used to play the DVD movie and increase the audio volume using the available controls.
  8. After all volume levels have been adjusted and sound good, you are done. If the overall volume level is still too low, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Use alternatives to monitor speakers

If you are not using monitor speakers for sound, skip this step.
If you are using speakers built into a flat panel monitor, the sound volume might be too low for an entertainment environment such as watching DVDs. Many flat panel monitor designs offer built-in speakers that are suitable for a desktop computing environment, but most monitor designs do not have speakers capable of delivering an experience that is loud enough for entertaining several people from a distance.
To work around this, connect powered speakers to the computer and place them near the monitor.

Step 4: Try the speakers on another computer

If the volume levels are still too low, connect the speakers or monitor to another computer, such as a notebook PC to help you determine if the speakers are capable of producing enough volume.
  • If the volume from the speakers is too low when they are connected to another computer, service or replace the speakers.
  • If the speakers produce enough volume when connected to another computer, reconnect the speakers to the computer. Continue to the next step to reset the computer sound configuration by reinstalling the sound driver.

Step 5: Update the audio driver

Go to the HP Software download page, type the specific model number for your computer, and follow the instructions on the pages to try to find an audio update for your computer.
If an update is available from HP, download and install it. Test for sound after installing the software and continue using this step if problems persist.
If an audio update cannot be found or the audio problem persists after the update, update the audio driver using Device Manager as follows:
  1. Connect to the Internet.
  2. Click Start , type device manager into the Start Search field, and click Device Manager from the Programs list.
    Device Manager opens.
  3. Double-click Sound, video and game controllers.
    Figure : Sound device in Device Manager
    Sound device in Device Manager
  4. Right-click the name of the audio device listed under Sound, video and game controllers.
  5. Select Update Driver Software.
    Figure : Update Driver Software selection in Device Manager
    Update Driver Software selection in Device Manager
  6. Click Search automatically for updated driver software.
    Figure : How do you want to search for driver software
    How do you want to search for driver software
  7. Windows checks for updated drivers and then installs them. The window displays whether the computer already has the latest available driver or if Windows was able to successfully update the audio driver.
    Figure : Windows has successfully updated your driver software
    Windows has successfully updated your driver software
  8. If a window opens instructing you to restart the computer, restart the computer.
  9. If you cannot find a driver from HP, download and install an updated audio driver package from the audio technology provider.
    Your computer probably uses Realtek Audio Codec or Creative Audigy software. Download and install audio drivers from one of the following sites:
  10. Test for sound.






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