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HP Desktop PCs - Advanced Sound Troubleshooting (Windows 11, Windows 10)

Follow the advanced troubleshooting steps to resolve audio issues on your desktop computer.

Understand desktop sound devices and connections

Most desktop computers do not come with built-in speakers. You must connect headphones or speakers to the ports on the front or rear of the computer to hear audio.

Note:

If your computer came with a discrete graphics card, there might be a plastic cover blocking the HDMI port attached to the system board. Most computers can use video from the graphics card or the system board, but not both at the same time. If you remove the plastic cover and connect a monitor to the port, video and sound cannot work unless you remove the graphics card.

Use the following graphics to identify the ports for connecting various audio devices:

Computer ports for audio devices (microphone, line-out, line-in)

Callout

Description

(1)

Microphone connector or Center/Subwoofer Out

(2)

Front speaker connector (to front-powered speakers or headphones)

(3)

Line-in or Rear speaker Out

Computer ports for audio devices (speakers, microphone, line-out, line-in)

Callout

Description

(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

Check your headphones

Check the computer sound from your headphones.

Types of headphones

HP computers support three types of headphone connectors. One supports only sound to the headphones, while the other two support both sound to the headphones and microphone. Symbols mark each type of connector.

  • Connectors on the computer marked with a USB icon support both sound and microphone.

    Example of a USB cable connector
  • Connectors on the computer marked with a headset-only icon support output sound only and work with either a standard three-pin headphone or a four-pin headphone for sound.

    Standard three-pin jack
  • Connectors on the computer marked with a headset-with-a-microphone icon support sound and a microphone when used with a headset with a four-pin plug and a microphone.

    Four-pin jack

Test the computer sound with headphones

To hear sound, the three-pin plug and four-pin plug can be used with either a headphone or headset 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.

  1. Find and unplug all audio cables from the rear of the computer.

  2. Plug headphones directly into the speaker out connector on the rear 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.

    Computer ports for audio devices (microphone, line-out, line-in)

    Callout

    Description

    (1)

    Microphone connector or Center/Subwoofer Out

    (2)

    Front speaker connector (to front-powered speakers or headphones)

    (3)

    Line-in or Rear speaker Out

  3. In Windows, right-click the speaker icon in the taskbar, and then select Open Volume mixer.

  4. Move the volume control slider to test for sound. Each time you click the master volume slide bar, you should hear a chime through the headphones.

    Volume slider in Windows 11

    Volume slider in Windows 11

    Volume slider in Windows 10

    Volume slider in Windows 10
    • 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 previos steps with the volume control slider. If sound still does not work correctly after reconnecting the speakers, try replacing the speaker cable (if possible) and test again.

    • If you cannot hear sound through the headphones, make sure that you are plugging the headphones into the correct connector, and try again. If there is still no sound, go to Set the default speakers and test the audio.

Set the default speakers and test the audio

Set and test the default speakers.

  1. In Windows, search for and open Sound settings.

  2. Do one of the following depending on your operating system:

    • Windows 11: Scroll down. and then click More sound settings.

      Sound settings in Windows 11
    • Windows 10: Scroll down. and then click Sound Control Panel.

      Sound settings in Windows 10
  3. Select Sound > Playback.

  4. Select your audio device, and then select Set Default. If only one playback device is listed, it is set to automatically default.

    Note:

    If you are having problems setting an HDMI audio device as the default playback device, see HP PCs - Troubleshooting HDMI display and sound issues (Windows 10) for more information.

    An example of setting the default audio playback device
  5. With the default playback device selected, click Configure.

    An example of setting the default audio playback device
  6. Select your speaker setup in Audio channels.

    Note:

    If you want to use HDMI output, select Digital Audio (HDMI). See HP PCs - Troubleshooting HDMI display and sound issues (Windows 10) for more information.

  7. Select Test to send sound to each speaker, or select an individual speaker to send sound to that speaker.

    • If sound is heard correctly, you are done troubleshooting.

    • If there is no sound from one or more speakers or if the configuration type changed, click Next, and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the speaker setup.

    An example of the Speaker configuration window
  8. Test for sound. If the audio problem persists, go to Check the speaker connections.

Check the speaker connections

Make sure that you have the speaker cables connected to the correct sound connectors.

  1. In Windows, search for and open Sound settings.

  2. Do one of the following depending on your operating system:

    • Windows 11: Scroll down. and then click More sound settings.

      Sound settings in Windows 11
    • Windows 10: Scroll down. and then click Sound Control Panel.

      Sound settings in Windows 10
  3. Click Sound, and then click the Playback tab.

  4. In the Sound window, from the Playback tab, select your playback device, and then click Properties.

    Sound Playback tab with Speakers/Headphones selected and Properties button highlighted
  5. On the Speakers/Headphones Properties window, select the General tab.

    Speakers Properties window
  6. Use the list of color-coded connectors that is displayed to determine which connector corresponds to the speaker pairs that you are using.

    For example, in a 7.1 Surround setup, the following connectors (or jacks) are used:

    • L R (green, Line Out) is for the front-left and front-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.

  7. Make sure that each speaker cable connection matches the color of the audio port on the rear of the computer as indicated by the colors displayed on the Speakers/Headphones Properties window.

    • 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 audio ports on rear of the computer using the colors displayed on the Speakers/Headphones Properties window.

    • If any speaker cable connection changed, repeat these steps to check for sound again.

  8. Test for sound. If the audio problem persists, go to Update the audio driver using Device Manager.

Update the audio driver using Device Manager

Enable the audio device, and then update the audio driver using Device Manager.

  1. In Windows, search for and open Device Manager.

    Click Device Manager in the search results
  2. Double-click both Audio inputs and outputs and Sound, video and game controllers.

  3. If a sound device is listed with a down arrow, the device is disabled. Right-click the sound device name, and then select Enable device.

    Selecting enable device
  4. With the sound device enabled, right-click the sound device, and then select Update driver.

    Selecting update driver
  5. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.

    Selecting the automatic driver update search
  6. Wait while Windows checks for and installs any updated drivers. If prompted, restart the computer.

    • If Windows updated the audio driver, test for sound. If the audio problem persists after updating the driver, go to Reset BIOS to default values.

    • If the latest driver is already installed, continue with these steps.

    Windows has successfully updated your driver software
  7. In Windows, search for and open Device Manager.

    Click Device Manager in the search results
  8. Double-click Audio inputs and outputs.

  9. Right-click the sound device, and then select Uninstall device.

    Selecting Uninstall device
  10. When the Uninstall Device window opens, click Uninstall.

    Selecting Uninstall
  11. Restart the computer to reinstall the driver.

  12. Test for sound. If the audio problem persists after reinstalling the driver, go to Reset BIOS to default values.

Reset BIOS to default values

Corrupted or incorrect BIOS settings can cause audio issues. You can try to restore default BIOS values to resolve audio issues.

  1. Turn off the computer.

  2. Press the power button, and then repeatedly press esc until the Startup Menu opens.

    Note:

    If you do not press the esc key at the proper time and the computer continues through the startup process, shut down the computer, and then try the procedure again.

  3. On the startup menu, press f10 to open the BIOS Setup Utility.

  4. Use the arrow keys to select the File tab.

  5. Select Apply Defaults and Exit. The default settings are restored, the BIOS setup utility closes, and the computer starts into Windows.

    Test for sound. If the audio problem persists, go to Run the audio test from the HP PC Hardware Diagnostics.

Run the audio test from the HP PC Hardware Diagnostics

Run the HP PC Hardware Diagnostics Audio Test to make sure that the audio device is functioning properly. During the test, a few music notes are played in sequence and then repeated. The test can take one minute to complete for each audio output port.

  1. In Windows, search for HP PC Hardware Diagnostics Windows, right-click the app in the search results, and then select Run as administrator.

    Note:

    If you do not have HP PC Hardware Diagnostics Windows installed, see HP PCs - Testing for hardware failures.

    Selecting run as administrator

    The HP PC Hardware Diagnostics Main Menu displays.

    HP PC Hardware Diagnostics main menu
  2. Select Component Tests.

    Component tests menu
  3. On the Component Tests menu window, select Audio > Audio Playback Test.

    Component Test menu with Audio selected
  4. Click Run once.

    Start the Audio playback test
  5. Click Next, and then select an audio playback device to begin the test. During the test, a few music notes play in sequence repeatedly.

    Select an audio device to test
  6. When the Audio Test completes, click Yes or No, depending on whether you heard the sounds during the audio test.

    Selecting yes or no to confirm if you heard sound or not

    The audio test results are displayed on the screen.

    An audio test that passed the Audio Playback Test
    • If the audio test result passes, click Finish, close the tool, and the restart the computer.

    • If the audio test fails, write down the 24-digit failure ID code so you have it available when you contact HP Customer Support. This information is also available in Test Logs.

    Audio test results displayed in the Hardware Diagnostic test log screen

If the Audio Playback Test passed without errors but the audio problems persist, update the BIOS.

Update the BIOS

Updating the BIOS can resolve some audio issues.

Perform a Windows system reset

If the issue persists, recover the computer back to its original configuration.

Microsoft provides a reset feature that repairs your computer by reinstalling the operating system. Before using this option, make sure you back up all your important files.

Go to HP PCs - Reset the computer for more information.

Contact HP Customer Support

Contact HP Customer Support for further assistance if the issue persists.

  1. Enter your product serial number to view warranty status and to change your location, if necessary.

  2. Select a support option. Support options vary by country/region.