After a recent round of updates, I noticed that I had no volume on my computer…including iTunes. I checked everything I could think of and didn’t come up with any problems on my system. I then used System Restore and the volume came back. The next day, Windows installed the updates again and the same thing happened. After using System Restore, all was well except that the updates had been deleted.
How do I get my sound and my updates?
Updates are one of several things that causes speakers to suddenly stop working and make your computer appears unable to produce a sound.
I’m not saying that this will solve every case, but it’s one of those things that a lot of people aren’t aware of and it can resolve the problem quickly with just a couple of clicks.
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Multiple audio outputs
The problem can arise when your computer has multiple output devices for sound.
For example, in some laptops, the headset jack is just a couple of wires connected to the internal speakers. In other computers, however, it’s a completely separate audio device that needs to be selected in software. This often happens automatically, so you’d never know the difference.
On many computers (more with the rise of video, other forms of display, and entertainment that we use our computers to view) hardware manufacturer’s have added multiple output options. For example, the PC that I use with my television has three such output options: speakers, HDMI, and optical.
The sounds of silence can happen when the wrong one is selected.
Selecting the right device
Right-click the speaker icon. This is typically located in the lower right area of the Windows taskbar:
Then, click Playback devices:
You may have more than one. The entry with the green checkmark is the playback device that your system is using by default when programs play sound.
To set the default, right-click the one that you want to have used:
If the device is not the default audio device, a “Set Default” menu item will be included. Click that. The example right-click menu above doesn’t include that as the device is already the default.
In most cases, within a second or so (as sound buffers are emptied), your audio will begin playing out of the selected device. In rare cases, you may need to stop and restart whichever application was attempting to play audio before the switch will take.