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HP Notebook PCs - Resolving No Sound or Audio Problems in Windows 7

This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows 7.

For HP Notebook PCs with Windows Vista, see HP Notebook PCs - Resolving No Sound or Audio Problems in Vista

For HP Notebook PCs with Windows XP, Win98, or ME, see HP Notebook PCs - No Sound is Heard in Microsoft Windows XP, Win98, and ME .

Several hardware or software issues may cause sound and audio problems. Windows 7 has a troubleshooting application that can automatically detect and correct any audio problems. You can also troubleshoot audio problems manually.

To open the Windows 7 sound troubleshooter, Click Start, enter audio in the search field and select Find and fix audio playback problems from the list when it becomes available. The troubleshooter will detect and explain how to resolve the problem. Follow the on-screen instructions.

To begin manual troubleshooting, disconnect all possible external sources for sound problems, such as digital audio, external speakers, and ear phones. The first task is to verify that the basic Windows and CD/DVD sound systems are working. After you restore the internal sound systems with all external devices disconnected, you can try reconnecting each device and testing the sound to isolate the problem.

Select a symptom from the list below that best describes the sound problem. The link that you select takes you to a section within this document or to another HP support document.

No sound from built-in speakers when all external speakers and the headset are disconnected

Before troubleshooting sound problems with external speakers or headsets, confirm that sound is audible from the built-in speakers on the notebook. Disconnect all external speakers and headsets, and Perform a simple sound system test . Troubleshoot the sound problem to identify the root cause by performing the following actions.

Once you have verified that the sound works properly, connect the external speakers to check the sound. If there is still no sound or low sound, verify that the speakers are powered speakers. Older style passive speakers are not compatible. Please see Resolving Sound Problems with External Speakers and Headsets for more information.

If these issues do not apply, or if there is still no sound, please see HP Notebook PCs - Resolving No Audio Device is Installed Error in Windows 7 for more information.

Check the volume and mute settings

If sound is not audible, it is possible that the sound control is turned down or set to mute. There are separate sound controls for the hardware devices (speakers / head sets) and the individual applications (Windows sound / QuickPlay / Windows Media Player). For example, if the speaker is turned on, but the application is muted, you will not hear any sound. You should open the sound volume mixer and check the different settings.

NOTE: If the volume for an application, such as Windows Media Player, was adjusted using the volume buttons or slider controls on the notebook case, the system will use that volume setting, even if the master volume control is adjusted to a higher setting.

To check the volume and mute settings, follow the steps below.

  1. Double-click the sound icon The in the task bar, and then select Mixer . All of the active sound applications display.

    Figure 1: Volume Mixer

  2. Confirm the volume for the device in question is not set to mute. The icon at the bottom of the volume control displays the universal no symbol when a device is muted. Click the icon to toggle between mute and sound .

    NOTE: Because each sound device has its own mixer control, click the icon to enable sound for muted devices.
  3. Drag the slider bars to the highest volume settings, and then test the sound again.

The sound should now be restored. Adjust the volume to a comfortable setting. If sound does not restore, please see the Test the sound devices section of this document for more information.

NOTE: If the computer has a feature where you can slide your finger along a graduated strip above the keypad to change the volume, the capacitive touch mute button may become stuck in the muted position and prevent the playback of sound. To resolve this specific issue, download and install the latest BIOS for your particular computer model.

Test the sound devices

When the external speakers are disconnected, the sound device named Speakers must be selected as the default and must be enabled .

NOTE: The notebook speakers will not work if Bluetooth Speakers or Digital Output is selected as the default sound device.

If the sound for the notebook speakers was not restored after performing the Checking the volume and mute settings actions, test the sound devices by following the steps below.

  1. Double-click the sound icon in the task bar, and then select Mixer to display controls for all of the sound applications.

  2. Click Start , enter Sound into the search field, and then select Sound from the list when it becomes available.

    Figure 2: Playback Sound Window and Mixer Showing Multiple Sound Devices

  3. Verify that the Speakers sound device is set as the default device, and is enabled.

    NOTE: If the Speakers sound device is not listed, right-click anywhere on the Playback tab of the Sound window, and then select both the Show Disabled Devices and the Show Disconnected Devices options.
  4. If the Speakers sound option is Disabled , right-click Speakers , and then select the Enable option.

  5. Right-click Speakers and then click Test . Sound should be audible through the notebook's speakers.

  6. If sound is not audible, click Configure to verify the operation of the individual speakers.

The sound should now be restored. If the Speakers sound device is still not working properly, please see the Verify that the sound device is enabled in Device Manager section of this document.

Perform a simple sound system test

To perform a simple sound system test, follow the steps below.

  1. Double-click the sound icon in the task bar, and then select Mixer to display controls for all of the sound applications.

  2. Click Start , entersound in the search field, and then select Sound from the list when it becomes available..

  3. From the Sounds tab, select any option under Program that has the Sound icon next to it, such as Asterisk, and then click Test . Sound should be audible through the notebook's speakers.

If sound is not audible, please see the Check the volume and mute settings section of this document.

Verify that the sound device is enabled in Device Manager

If there is no sound from the speakers or from the headset, follow the steps below to determine the state of the sound hardware within the Device Manager.

  1. Click Start , enter device into the search field, and then select Device Manager from the list when it becomes available.

  2. Grant permission to continue, if prompted.

  3. Expand the Sound, video and game controllers list of sound devices installed on the computer (there may only be one).

  4. Determine if the sound device in question is enabled or disabled.

  5. Right-click the name of the sound device, and then click Enable . If problems persist, go to step 6 .

  6. Right-click the name of the device, select Properties , and then view the message in the Device status field. The Device status field contains either:

    • a message with more troubleshooting information for your particular device.

      or

    • a message indicating that the device is working properly. If this message displays, the problem is most likely related to sound settings, the speakers, or the audio cables and connections for external speakers.

You have now enabled all of the sound devices. If sound problems persist, perform another of the testing methods described in this document.

Restore the original audio driver

Sound problems can occur when sound files and settings are changed. This can result in the controls in the sound mixer being grayed out. To resolve this issue, you should restore the original audio driver for the device.

Restoring the original audio driver quickly resets audio settings for the sound hardware and causes Windows to reinitialize the sound configuration. The Driver Recovery process in the HP Recovery Manager restores audio drivers for the sound hardware that came pre-installed on the computer.

NOTE: If the computer was upgraded to Windows 7 from Windows Vista, install the updated audio drivers . Do not install the original Vista audio drivers.

Also, if sound is not audible through an HDMI connection, install the updated audio drivers .

To reinstall the original audio driver using HP Recovery Manager, follow the steps below.

  1. Click Start , enter recovery into the search field, and then select Recovery Manager from the list when it becomes available.

  2. Grant permission to continue, if prompted. The HP Recovery Manager opens.

  3. On the Recovery Manager window, select Hardware Driver Reinstallation in the I need help immediately box.

  4. Click Next , select the sound driver to reinstall, and then click Next .

  5. Wait while HP Recovery Manager reinstalls the original audio driver, and then click Finish

The computer will restart. If it does not restart automatically, restart the computer. Test for sound after the computer restarts.

See the HP Notebook PCs - Using HP Recovery Manager in Windows 7 support document for more information on restoring original drivers.

Perform a Windows System Restore

If the sound once worked, but has since stopped working, use the Windows System restore utility to attempt to correct the problem. Windows 7 monitors critical system settings and automatically creates restore points on a regular basis.

NOTE: The Windows System Restore utility restores system files to a specific point in time, called a restore point. Any software application or utility that is installed after the restore point is created will not work and must be reinstalled.

Please see the HP Notebook PCs - Using Microsoft System Restore support document for more information about System Restore.

Install an updated audio driver

If sound problems persist after restoring the original audio sound driver or installing a particular software application, install an updated audio driver.

To install an updated audio driver, follow the steps below.

  1. Confirm that the computer is connected to the internet.

  2. Click Start , enter device into the search field, and then select Device Manager from the list.

  3. Grant permission to continue, if prompted.

  4. Expand the Sound, video and game controllers list in the Device Manager window.

    Figure 3: Sound Device in Device Manager

  5. Right-click the name of the audio device listed under Sound, video and game controllers , and then click Update Driver Software .

  6. Click Search automatically for updated driver software , when prompted.

  7. Windows checks for and installs any updated drivers. Restart the computer for the settings to take effect.

  8. Perform a simple sound test .

Sound should now be audible through the device. If the sound problems persist or if no drivers were found and installed, perform another of the testing methods described in this document.

Install updated firmware (BIOS)

The BIOS is a program that allows the operating system to start when the computer is turned on. Updating the BIOS can resolve compatibility conflicts that may exist between different hardware components on the computer.

Please see the HP Notebook PCs - Locating HP Software, Driver and BIOS Updates support document for more information about updating the BIOS.

Disable and re-enable digital audio playback

Many optical drives, such as CD or DVD drives, do not use digital playback for all audio. If digital playback is enabled, sound will not be audible when playing audio discs. Disabling and re-enabling the digital sound drivers for the optical drive resets the device. Resetting the optical drive is similar to clearing the cache on the computer by restarting it.

NOTE: If the sound problems occur when you are playing a CD or DVD using a program such as QuickPlay, DVDPlay, or MuVee software, update the QuickPlay, DVDPlay, or MuVee software to the latest version. Within the application, select Help and follow the instructions for updating or upgrading the product.

To disable and re-enable the optical drive, follow the steps below.

  1. Click Start , type device into the search field, and then select Device Manager from the list.

  2. Grant permission to continue, if prompted.

  3. Expand the DVD/CD-ROM drives list.

  4. Right-click the name of the desired optical drive, select Properties to open the Device Properties window, and then click the Driver tab.

  5. Click Disable , Yes to accept the change, and then OK .

  6. Click Enable , OK , and then close the Device Manager window.

  7. Perform a simple sound system test .

Sound should now be audible through the device. If sound is still not audible through the device, perform another of the testing methods described in this document.

Resolving low volume problems

Use these steps to increase sound volume:

  1. It is important to know what type of speakers are compatible with your computer. You might be using the wrong type of speakers for your computer.

    Check your computer audio connections and speaker type and replace the speakers if they are the wrong type.

    • Non-powered speakers must be connected to an amplified sound connector on the computer (usually a blue or orange speaker-out connector). Non-powered speakers are also called passive speakers. When non-powered speakers are used with a line-out connector on the computer, the volume will be much lower/softer than normal.

    • Powered speakers use a power adapter or batteries to amplify the volume. They can connect into a line-out connector on the computer.

      Figure 4: Example of powered speakers and line-out connector (your connector may look slightly different)

  2. If you are using speakers in a monitor and you are experiencing low volume from all Windows programs, go into the monitor's setup menu and confirm the volume is turned up for the monitor. Use the buttons that are attached to the monitor to enter the on-screen menu and look for menu settings that pertain to sound. For more detailed instructions on how to adjust the volume setting for your particular monitor, please refer to the manufacturer's documentation for the monitor.

  3. If sound volume is low, but only in one software application, try to find and adjust sound settings for the software program that is producing low volume. For example, if the volume sounds good in Windows, but is too low when playing a DVD movie, open the software that you are using to play the DVD movie and increase the audio volume using the controls that are available.

  4. Once you have completed these steps, check the volume and mute settings to adjust the volume on the PC.

Troubleshooting the mute button and slider bar

If you are experiencing issues with the mute button and/or the slide bar located at the rear of the keyboard, do the following:

  1. Verify that you have the latest BIOS installed and if not, see Install updated firmware (BIOS) for instructions on updating the BIOS.

  2. If your BIOS is up-to-date or if the issue still exists after updating the BIOS, contact an HP support agent for additional assistance.

Troubleshooting a high-definition audio device

A high-definition audio device on a notebook PC may no longer work after restarting Windows 7 or resuming from hibernation/sleep. The device may be a sound device or a modem. You also may see an "X" character appear on the speaker icon in the notification area.

To resolve this issue, re-scan the device in Device Manager by performing the following:
  • Click Start , enter device into the search field, and then select Device Manager from the list when it becomes available.

  • Highlight and right-click Sound, video and game controllers .

  • Choose Scan for hardware changes .

The high-definition audio device will detect hardware changes and the "X" character should no longer appear on the speaker icon.

Audio not synchronized with video playback (for high-definition video, DVD, and other audio formats)

The computer may not be able to deliver the required performance for video playback depending on the resolution and frame rate for the video. Also, the selected Windows power management scheme might be reducing computer performance.

To resolve this problem, set the active power plan to Balanced or High Performance, using these steps:

  1. Click Start , enter power , and select Power Options from the list.

  2. If prompted, enter the administrator password or confirmation.

  3. Under Select a power plan , click High performance or click Balanced .

    Figure 5: High performance

  4. Close the Control Panel window.

The power plan has been set to provide enough resolution for The media.

The tests provided in this document did not resolve my sound issue

If, you have performed all of The above procedures and you are still experiencing sound issues, contact an HP support agent for help.

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