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HP and Compaq Desktop PCs - Sound Volume Is Too Low (Windows 7)

This document applies to HP and Compaq Desktop PCs and Workstations with Windows 7.
If the speakers that you are using with your computer are not loud enough, use the following step-by-step process to increase the sound volume.

Step 1: Use the Microsoft Fix it Tool

Microsoft provides a Fix it tool which can solve many problems, including low-volume playback.
To use the Fix it tool, visit the Microsoft Fix it Solution Center.
Under step number two, click All problem areas.
Figure : All problem areas selection
All problem areas selection
Type sound into the search box, and then click Run Now next to the Automatically diagnose and fix Windows audio playback problems search result.
Figure : Sound search results
Sound search results
If the problem persists after running the Fix it tool, continue to the next step.

Step 2: 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.
  • 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
    Powered speakers
  • Passive 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
    Passive speakers
Make sure you are using powered speakers, and continue to the next step.

Step 3: 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. Under Sound, click Adjust system volume. The Volume Mixer window opens.
    Figure : Volume Mixer
    Volume Mixer
  5. 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
  6. After verifying that the sound is not muted, drag the volume adjuster up until it is at 75%.
  7. 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, continue with the next step.
  8. 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 you use to play the DVD movie and increase the audio volume using the controls available in the DVD software.
  9. After you have adjusted all volume levels to your satisfaction, you are done. If the overall volume level is still too low, continue to the next step.

Step 4: 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 monitors do not have speakers that can produce enough volume for entertaining several people from a distance.
To work around this, connect powered speakers to the computer and place them near the monitor.

Step 5: 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 6: 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. If problems persist, continue using this step.
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