I'm not getting sound from my Vista computer, what should I do?

This can commonly occur when a Windows update installs an optional audio driver or when a multimedia software installs audio codecs, but something fails to register properly.

First, be sure to check the obvious:

  • Are the speakers turned on and have power?
  • Try unplugging the speaker power adapter and keep it disconnected for 30 seconds or so, then plug it back in.
  • Try plugging a known working item (such as a lamp) to check the wall outlet for power.
  • Make sure that all connections to all speakers are fully seated. Some plugs click twice before they fully seat.
  • If you need assistance in making connections, refer to the following: How to connect speakers to your PC
  • Plug in a known working set of head phones to ensure that the sound card is functioning.
  • Plug the speakers in to a PC with known working audio, or into a portable CD player that will accept the same connection. This will determine if the speakers are working.
  • If you added hardware or software to your computer immediately before the issue started, remove the added hardware or software.
  • Check to insure that the Mixer Control volumes are set to 3/4 volume and are not muted. Analog or digital can be set in the Mixer Controls, depending on the type of sound card and speakers used.
  • (XP Users) Click on Start > Control Panel > Sounds and Audio Device Properties. Be sure that the "Mute" checkbox is unchecked.
  • (Vista Users) Click on Start > Control Panel > Sounds. Be sure that the "Mute" checkbox is unchecked.

The programming of Vista introduced audio services that need to be set to run automatically in order to produce sound. The two settings are:
Windows Audio - manages audio for your programs.
Windows Audio Endpoint Builder - manages audio devices for Vista services.

To check these services:
1) Click the Windows button, in the start search box type Administrative Tools, click on this item in the programs box
2) Double click on the Services icon
3) In the Services window, scroll down to these two items
4) If these are not set to Automatic, right click on the item and select Properties. In the Startup type: combo box, select Automatic and click OK.

These new settings will take effect once the system is restarted.

Last resort: If all else fails, use the System Restore feature to return the computer back to a time before the issue began.