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

This document pertains to HP and Compaq desktop PCs and speakers.
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: Adjusting volume settings

There is more than one sound volume adjustment in a computer's sound environement. First, find and adjust each separate volume adjustment to about 75% loudness. Then, adjust the volume to a level that meets your satisfaction.
  1. If your powered speakers have a volume control knob, set it to 75% of its full range.
    Figure : Example of a volume control knob for speakers (your speakers may appear different)
    Image of volume control knob
  2. If you are using speakers built into your monitor, make sure the monitor volume is set to 75% of its full range using the volume controls on the monitor.
    Figure : Example of volume and menu buttons on a monitor (Your monitor may appear different)
    Image of volume controls on a monitor
  3. Adjust the overall volume of Windows XP:
    1. Click Start , and then Control Panel.
    2. Click Sound, Speech and Audio Devices, and then click Adjust the system volume.
      The Sound and Audio Devices Properties window opens.
    3. Adjust the Device volume slider to 75% of it's full range, and then click Advanced.
      Figure : Sound and Audio Devices Properties
      Image of Sound and Audio Devices Properties
    4. Adjust vertical Volume sliders up to 75% of the full range.
      Figure : Volume control window
      Image of  Volume control window
  4. Finally, open a software program to watch a movie or listen to music. Adjust the volume using the software's volume control until the volume level meets your satisfaction.
  5. All of these volume controls work together to produce the final level of sound. If sound is too low from all software programs, then you can raise all volume levels by raising the Windows Volume and the hardware volume (the volume knob for the speakers or the volume buttons on the monitor). If sound is too low only from one software program, then search the Internet for a solution using the key words "sound", and the name of the software program.
  6. 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: Aternatives to monitor speakers

If you are not using monitor speakers for sound, skip this step.
If you using speakers built into a flat panel monitor, you may find that the sound volume is too low for an entertainment environment. 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, you can connect powered speakers to the computer and place them near the monitor.

Step 4: Transfer the speakers to another PC

If the volume levels are still too low, connect the speakers or monitor to another PC, such as a laptop. Doing so will help you determine if the speakers are capable of producing enough volume.
  • If the speakers are too quiet when 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. Reset the computer's 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, right-click My Computer, and select Properties.
  3. Select the Hardware tab, and then click the Device Manager button.
    Device Manager opens.
  4. Double-click Sound, video and game controllers.
  5. Right-click the name of the audio device listed under Sound, video and game controllers.
  6. Select Update Driver Software.
    Figure : Update Driver Software selection in Device Manager
    Update Driver Software selection in Device Manager
  7. Click Search automatically for updated driver software.
  8. 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.
  9. If a window opens instructing you to restart the computer, restart the computer.
  10. 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:
  11. Test for sound.






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