Sound is an essential component of a PC. Sure, you can use a computer without sound but it reduces what you can do with it. Most entertainment options go out the window if you don’t have sound. Additionally, if you rely on sound/audio alerts, they cannot be played. If you suddenly find there’s no sound from speakers or headphones on your system, there are a few things you can try to fix the problem.

Restart your system

This advice is never going to get old so, try turning your system off and then on again to see if the sound comes back. It’s possible there was a problem when you booted your system and the sound driver didn’t load properly.

If you have any apps installed for ‘enhancing’ sound, remove them. With those very basic thigns out of the way, here are a few things you can try to fix no sound from speakers or headphones on Windows 10.

Run the sound troubleshooter

Open the Settings app and go to the Update security group of settings. Select the Troubleshoot tab, scroll down, and run the troubleshooter for audio problems. Apply all fixes that it recommends. Restart your system.

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Check enabled device

Access the Control Panel sound settings. Go to the Playback tab and right-click in an empty area inside the list of enabled devices. From the context menu, select ‘Show disabled devices’ and ‘Show disconnected devices’.

Check if any new devices appear. If your speakers show up, right-click them and select the enable option from the context menu. It is possible that the speakers are disconnected which you have to deal with in the Device Manager.

Install/Connect device

Disconnected speakers may be a hardware or a software problem. Before we decide to inspect the hardware, we have to rule out all problems with software. Open Device Manager and expand Sound, videos, and game controllers. Look for your sound card. Right-click it and select Properties from the context menu. On the Properties window, go to the Driver tab. Check if there’s a button to enable the device. If there is, click it, and then restart your system.

Sound Drivers

Sound disappearing from your system may have something to do with the drivers. You will have to try several different things here but you will be working mostly with just the Device Manager. Expand the Sound, video and games controllers and go to your sound card’s properties. Go to the Driver tab and check for driver updates. Install any updates that are available, restart your system, and the check the sound.

If this doesn’t work, return to the Driver tab and roll back to an older driver if the option is there. Restart the system and check sound.

Try a different driver. You can use either Realtek drivers or you can use Microsoft’s generic sound drivers. To change which drivers you’re using, opt to update the driver but instead of letting Windows 10 check for available updates, go with the option to pick drivers from a list.

Finally, try manually installing the sound drivers. Look for the latest version of the sound drivers that are available for your system and install them from outside the Device Manager.

Windows updates

Check if your Windows 10 recently received an update. It could be a feature update or a smaller update that could have caused the problem. Roll back the update and check to see if that fixes the problem. You can roll back the update from the Settings app under Update security.

End of life

If your PC is particularly old, it is possible that its hardware is no longer supported. A driver update or a Windows 10 update may have installed rendering the audio mute. It’s rare since sound is pretty straight forward but it can happen. You will have to go back to an older, supported versions of the driver or OS, or upgrade your system.

If this hasn’t worked, you might have to entertain the idea that something is wrong with the hardware.