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Why Don’t I Have An On-screen Volume Indicator?

Question: 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.

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50 comments on “Why Don’t I Have An On-screen Volume Indicator?”

  1. All of my systems, regardless of desktop or laptop, version of Windows, and sound card maker, have a checkbox in the control panel’s “sounds” properties labeled “place volume icon in the taskbar” or “show volume control on the taskbar”. Perhaps some sound cards don’t have that option?

  2. Actually this isn’t about the taskbar. This is about a volume indicator that pops up over your screen, usually near the bottom. Typically a LED – simultion of a volume bar.

  3. Oops. I read that in the original post, but somehow forgot it when reading your reply.

    Now, I know at least one of these systems has a control panel entry to control the on-screen-display, because I know I’ve seen a color/font/size adjustment somewhere. If only I could remember where…

  4. I had two HP machines that had this on it so maybe it is an HP computer as none of my other machines have this feature. Although, I liked it so much that I found an alternative, which is volumouse which can be found with a google search and offers change of volume with the mouse wheel button + a specified key , for example holding the mouse over the task bar while scrolling the middle mouse button – works great on XP.

  5. What should I do if my laptop used to display those bars when I changed the volume, but now it no longer does. I still have the small volume control icon in my taskbar, but when i adjust the volume it no longer tells me what level I am at. I checked in both volume control and keyboard settings under the control panel, but neither seemed to have anything that helped.

  6. i have a sony viao pcg grt 25 laptop.
    the volume controls do not work and i dont have the volume bars that should be displayed on the screen.
    i have to increase and decrease the sound via the speaker icon in the bottom right hand corner of the task bar.
    please help me to rectify this problem.

  7. i understand what you are saying, but should i still go to the dell site although im using a sony viao? im not that experienced with the technical side of computing as this is all new to me.

  8. Microsofts IntelliType is an ok application but going through all of the options and disabling all of the hotkeys just to use the on screen volume indicator seems a bit much. I’m fine with using the dell one with my Inspiron 6000 =P

  9. I have just bought a Compaq laptop with volume control buttons and it was strange to find that there were no green bars present. I use a logitech tilt wheel mouse most of the time and found wheelsofvolume ……… ,,works very well. This had little effect on how the tilt wheel was set up. OK if you use a mouse with a wheel but the volume buttons on the notebook did not work with it.

  10. Hi *,
    Have a laptop HP/Compaq nc8000. Just installed the SW from Microsoft regarding the volume indicator. It works great. Thanks for the tip Mitch.


  11. The intellitype pro 5.5 worked great on my Compaq Evo n620c. I selected the generic multimedia keyboard and it didn’t mess with any of my multimedia buttons I already had setup and did give me the onscreen volume indicator I was looking for.

  12. If you’re using Windows XP Media Center Edition (possibly XP Pro too) file responsible for showing OS volume indicator is ehtray.exe
    located in: C:\WINDOWS\ehome . Try adding it to Auto-start menu / ‘Run’ key in registry.
    This will probably work only if your OSD volume indicator was working before and disappeared at some point.

  13. The Dell Quickset fixed my On-Screen Display volume indicator problems! Thanks so much to Mazzy who suggested it!!! Forums are great!

  14. Just got a new DV9320, and ran into the same annoying problem with no volume indicators/ onscreen display. I searched the web, found this site, and YES. The MS Intellitype Pro 6.1 for Vista works just fine for my laptop. Just picked the generic multimedia keyboard and no problems with my current multimedia functions.

    Thanks Shamim.

  15. That Dell Quickset tip sorted my OSD problems on my Inspiron 6000. Hadn’t worked for ages and Dell Support were totally useless. Cheers guys!

  16. if you have an Acer notebook you need to reinstall the Launch Manager…you do this by going to the Acer program “Empowering Technology”

    start this program & click on eRecovery Management…type in the default password which is six zeros…click enter

    on the next screen click the button that says “Recovery actions: blah,blah,blah” and click next…

    on the next screen click the button for reinstall applications/drivers and click next

    a window should pop up that has three things you can click on…contents, install, and guide…click on install

    on the next screen you will see Windows XP on the left side of the screen…click that to expand it (works like a folder tree)…next click utility…then click launch manager…then click Install Launch Manager Now

    it will ask you to restart…go ahead and restart and it should restore the “on screen volume display.”

    worked for me, hopefully it will work for you.

  17. Here is EXACTLY what everyone is looking for:

    It is linked as a .GIF but it is really a .ZIP

    Right click and ‘Save as’ to your desktop, and then rename the supposed .GIF to a ZIP file and unzip it. You can install the files anywhere, then just put a shortcut to the .EXE file in your startup folder and you will have an on-screen volume indicator that was originally part of Microsoft’s Media Center. The whole thing is less than 75Kb and the ONLY thing it does is display the volume in a green bar-graph at the bottom of the screen and also displays the word MUTE when the sound is muted.

  18. I have a similar but diffirent “problem” – I want to get RID of the green indicators (volume and mute…) pleeeeeze…

  19. Well Jonas, I know how to get RID of it by mistake! I turned off some “services” using services.msc to free up system resources (based on some on-line recommendations) and it’s gone. As soon as I figure out which one did it, and get it back, I’ll post it. :-) I’m running XP media center 2005.

  20. I was disabling services and startup programss and accedently disabled ehtray.exe but now I put it back and it works great! Thanks!!

  21. I used to have on screen volume control on my HD TD,thru Time Warner, then it’s freakin gone. Is there some magic way of resetting it? I have tried everything they suggested,from one of those sweat shops in India, they may have told me, but who can understand? I’ll buy TWO Lattes. Thanks, Larry

  22. I still have NO answer to my problem! I have an HD tv, thru Time Warner Cable. How do I re-code something, to get the on-screen volume cont. that I used to have? Help me, and the Joe will come.

  23. Thanks, I seem to have one of the only Dells which doesn’t have a quickset app for it, but the IntelliType worked like a charm! The version I got was the 6.1 and I selected the Wired Keyboard 500 and it worked! Thanks!

  24. This is not big deal, I mean , if you have the controls in windows, why I need do I need a bar to see the volume??????? I don’t understand the consumer point of view and I never will.

  25. The indicator bars were an add on feature from the Multi-Function Keyboard. When I purchased my computer it had Windows ME, and the keyboard volume control would show the green indicator bars on the lower right hand corner of the screen, a very nice feature over the audio icon in the task bar that isn’t always displayed. At any rate, when I was forced to change the operating system to Windows XP, I lost the on screen indicators. YOU CAN CORRECT THIS BY GOING TO HP Upgrade Keyboard, and download the following file: SP26752. This will reinstall the volume indicator bars that change with the volume control knob on the keyboard. The bars will now be a gray color instead of green. (No big deal to me).

  26. To bring back the green volume indicator, go to Control Panel>Keyboard>Key Settings>scroll down to bottom and highlight Volume>hit EDIT, check the box, problem solved. The volume indicators ARE part of windows.

  27. well, that tip from kevin foster doesn’t work because i clicked the link and the i got a page not found error. where was the link for the .gif (or .zip) moved to? i really want that volume indicator. yes, i tried that R97343.exe and no, it doesn’t work because i don’t have a dell. the installer fails. intellitype doesn’t look anything like the volume indicator i had. mine was green bars in the bottom center of my screen and had the word “Volume” above it. it was far more useful than the stupid crap that comes with windows.

  28. The on-screen green-colored volume & brightness indicator which previously appeared on my laptop suddenly gone since last two days… I did follow the way suggested by Manpauly but my ACER laptop does not have Key Setting inside the Keyboard page..
    Really wish that anyone who have idea about this and teach me as soon as possible as it’s really inconvenient without the on-screen indicators.

  29. Actually, as far as Volume indication goes, almost any OSD application should do (that doesn’t apply for, say, brightness indication).

    Since I bought a Dell notebook, where this job was performed by a really ugly QuickSet application, I’ve been looking for its replacement.

    My personal choice was to install Microsoft’s IntelliType Pro drivers, but that is, uhm, illegal, since I don’t have that keyboard. However, apparently there are freeware applications that do this task, for example this one called WN Volume OSD.

  30. I have the same missing volume level indicator bars on my IBM T42….had em, then they disappeared…anyone? Cheers

  31. I was having problems with my volume indicator display having disappeared after 3 years. I have an HP running Windows XP and I even contacted HP customer support and they couldn’t help me either. During a google search I ran across this site and I did the suggestion of searching for ehtray.exe and clicked on it and voila! Thanks for all your help!

  32. I have had the trouble of trying to get it them back as well. I’m on a Dell 1525 Inspiron and I believe that Norton is the culprit. Not sure how they do it, but it stopped when I installed. I now do not have Dell Quickset at all (if I do I can’t find it) and I can’t seem to reinstall. :\

  33. I had same problem – green volume level indicator disappeared. Running WinXP MCE.

    Googled this site, found suggestion of searching for ehtray.exe and clicked on it and now it’s back.


  34. Got it! well at least for the OSD of volume in Windows Vista. Little green bars at bottom of screen on Acer 5720. C:\Program Files\Launch Manager\LManager.exe

    I had disabled “Launch Manager” in HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Runusing msconfig.exe

  35. For Dell users download and install dell Quickset from Dell site. Search it from onsite Seach option. The volume and brightness OSD will reappear.

  36. I downloaded all the drivers i needed including the on screen green volume display bar but i had to format my laptop ive still got the driver but cant seem to get it working again


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