What to Do When Your System Has No Sound

By Faithe Wempen

If you aren’t hearing any sound, but you’ve had sound in the past on your computer, you’ve probably accidentally muted the sound. There are a variety of ways to do so.

Look in the notification area and see if there is a red circle and diagonal line on the speaker icon. That means the sound is muted. Click the speaker icon and then click the Mute button at the bottom of the slider to toggle the sound back on again, or drag the volume slider up.

Now, figure out how you might have turned the sound off, so you can avoid doing it again. Some keyboards have a button that mutes the sound; you may have pressed it accidentally. Learn the positions of the keyboard shortcuts for adjusting the sound volume.

For example, on a notebook computer, you can adjust the sound by pressing the Fn key along with the F7, F8, and F9 keys, to mute, decrease, and increase the volume, respectively.

If the sound icon isn’t present in the notification area at all, or if it’s unavailable (gray and unresponsive), there may be a problem with your sound card (audio adapter). In the Control Panel, use Device Manager to check the status of your sound card.

To do so, right-click the Start button (Windows 8.1) and choose Device Manager. Then expand the Sound, Video, and Game Controllers category and double-click the entry for your sound card. In the figure, it’s called an Audio Device, and it appears to be working normally.