I am running Windows XP home edition on a new Gateway notebook (Model
MX7515). My Gateway desktop and older laptop both indicate the volume on the
screen by showing green vertical bars (the same as on most TVs). My new
notebook changes the volume while pressing the increase and decrease buttons on
the keyboard, but there are no green vertical bars on my screen, so I don’t
know how high or low the volume is.
Those on-screen displays are kinda handy. I have something similar on my
desktop, including the volume up/down controls on my keyboard. Quite nice.
But on my laptop? No such luck. I’m in the same boat you are.
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The “problem” is that those volume indicators are not part of Windows.
They’re actually added by some of the additional software installed on your
machine. Typically they’re installed by the keyboard software for keyboards
that include volume controls.
Things get a little more complicated with laptops, because they may have
dedicated volume control keys, or they may have key-combinations that perform
the same function. The manufacturer of the keyboard software may, or may not,
elect to include an on-screen display.
It gets even more confusing, because when you purchase the same type of
equipment from the same manufacturer, you might expect it to have the same
feature set. Two laptops from Gateway, for example, separated by a couple of
years, for example. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Even within
models separated by less time, manufacturers are typically always on the
look-out for better or less expensive hardware components, and if it doesn’t
make a substantial difference in functionality, even the same model of machine
might come with different, though similar, components from several
manufacturers. And needless to say, the supporting software included with those
components might be different.
The only real advice I have is to check the control panel applets for both
your keyboard and sound card. Look around for options that might control the
on-screen display. There are so many different manufacturers that it’s possible
that some allow you some control, and perhaps default it off.
Past that, I’d check with the manufacturer’s support to find out if your
specific model even has this feature.