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HP Desktop PCs - Advanced Sound Troubleshooting (Windows 10, 8)

This document is for HP desktop computers with Windows 10 or Windows 8.
Follow the advanced troubleshooting steps in this document to resolve audio issues on your desktop computer.

Step 1: Checking for sound from headphones

Check the sound from your computer.
  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-in, line-out)
    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 Volume Mixer
    • 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) and test again.
    • If you cannot hear sound through the headphones, make sure you are plugging the headphones into the correct connector, and try again. If there is still no sound, continue to the next step.

Step 2: Setting the default speakers and testing the audio

Set and test the default speakers.
  1. In Windows, search for and open Control Panel.
  2. Click Sound, and then click the Playback tab.
  3. Select your audio device, and then click Set Default. If only one playback device is listed, it is set to default automatically.
    note:
    If you are having problems setting an HDMI audio device as the default playback device, refer to Troubleshooting HDMI Display and Sound Issues.
    Set default playback device
  4. With the default playback device selected, click Configure.
    Configure default playback device
  5. Click your speaker setup in Audio channels.
    note:
    If you want to use HDMI output, select Digital Audio (HDMI). Go to Troubleshooting HDMI Display and Sound Issues for more information.
  6. Click Test to send sound to each speaker, or select an individual speaker to send sound to that speaker.
    • If sound is heard correctly from each speaker, you can stop troubleshooting.
    • If sound is missing from all or one of the speakers, or if the configuration type was changed, click Next. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the speaker setup.
    Speaker test screen
  7. Test for sound. If the audio problem persists, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Checking the speaker connections

Make sure you have the speaker cables connected to the correct sound connectors.
  1. In Windows, search for and open Control Panel.
  2. Click Sound, and then click the Playback tab.
  3. 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
  4. On the Speakers/Headphones Properties window, select the General tab.
    Speakers Properties window
  5. Use the list of color-coded connectors that displays 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) would be used:
    • 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.
  6. Make sure 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.
  7. Test for sound. If the audio problem persists, continue to the next step.

Step 4: Updating the audio driver using Device Manager

Make sure the audio device is enabled, 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 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 to re-enable the device.
    Enabling a disabled sound device
  4. With the sound device enabled, right-click the sound device, and then select Update Driver Software.
    Update Driver Software selection in Device Manager
  5. Click 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, continue to the step to reset the BIOS.
    • 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 Sound, video and game controllers.
  9. Right-click the sound device and select Uninstall.
    Uninstall the audio driver
  10. Restart the computer to reinstall the driver.
  11. Test for sound. If the audio problem persists after reinstalling the driver, continue to the next step.

Step 5: Resetting the BIOS to defaults

Corrupted or incorrect BIOS settings can cause audio issues. Identify the BIOS version of your computer, and then restore the default BIOS values.
  1. Turn off the computer and wait five seconds.
  2. Turn on the computer, and then immediately press the Esc key repeatedly until the Startup Menu opens.
  3. Press F10 to open the BIOS Setup Utility.
  4. In the BIOS Setup utility, 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, continue to the next step.

Step 6: Running the Audio test from the HP PC Hardware Diagnostics

Run the HP PC Hardware Diagnostics Audio Test to make sure the audio device is functioning properly. During the test, a few music notes are played in sequence, and then repeated. The test can take 1 minute to complete for each audio output port.
  1. To download the latest version of the HP PC Hardware Diagnostics for Windows, go to the HP Hardware Diagnostics website.
  2. In the HP PC Hardware Diagnostics Windows section, click Download Diagnostics Windows, and then follow the on-screen instructions to download and install the software.
  3. In Windows, search for HP PC Hardware Diagnostics Windows, right-click the app in the search results, and then select Run as administrator.
    Select Run as administrator
    The HP PC Hardware Diagnostics Main Menu displays.
    HP PC Hardware Diagnostics for Windows Main Menu
  4. Click Component Tests.
    Component tests menu
  5. On the Component Tests menu window, click Audio, and then select Audio Playback Test.
     Component Test menu with Audio selected
  6. Click Run once.
    Click 'Run once' to start the Audio playback test
  7. Click Next, and then select an audio playback device to begin the test.
    During the test, a few music notes play in sequence and repeatedly.
    Select an audio device to test
  8. When the Audio Test completes, click Yes or No, depending on what you heard during the audio test.
    A window opens asking if you heard a sound during the audio test
    The audio test results display on the screen.
    An audio test that passed the Audio Playback Test
    • If the audio test passes, click Finish, close the tool, and then restart the computer.
    • If the audio test fails, write down the failure ID (24-digit code) so you have it available when you contact HP Customer Support. The information is also available in Test Logs.
      Audio test result in the Test Logs section
If the Audio Playback Test passed without errors but the audio problems persist, continue to the next step.

Step 7: Updating the BIOS

Updating the BIOS can resolve some audio issues. Go to HP Desktop PCs - Updating the BIOS for more information.
If updating the BIOS did not resolve the audio issue, continue to the next step.

Step 8: Restoring your computer

If you completed the previous troubleshooting steps and your sound is still not working properly, restore your computer. Computers that had functioning sound in the past can be restored back to that point. Go to Using Microsoft System Restore (Windows 10, 8) for more information.

Step 9: Resetting your computer

If you completed the previous troubleshooting steps and your sound is still not working properly, reset your computer. Go to Resetting Your Computer (Windows 10) or Resetting Your PC to Resolve Problems (Windows 8) for more information.

Step 10: Contacting HP

If the above steps did not resolve the audio problems on your computer, repair might be necessary. Go to HP Customer Support for additional support.

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