No Sounds on Windows 11? Here's How to Fix It

If the volume isn't muted, make sure the correct output device is chosen

Sound problems in Windows aren't usually due to a physical issue with the sound card or audio device. While that could be the case for you, it's more common for sound-related problems to have something to do with the software on your computer.

Why Does My Computer Suddenly Have No Sound?

There are several places for sound issues to occur. It could be your speakers or your headphones, your audio software or the operating system, the sound card, or its driver.

Fortunately, lots of Windows sound problems are due to a misconfiguration, which could make the solution as easy as turning up the volume or choosing the correct audio device from the software you're using.

Identifying if you have no sound in Windows is pretty straightforward, but it could also be the case the sound only sometimes works, or with certain devices only, or within a particular program.

How Do I Get My Sound Back on Windows 11?

It can be difficult to diagnose no sound in Windows 11 if you often switch between using speakers and headphones, so follow these steps in order for a better understanding of what the issue could be and what you can do about it.

  1. Check the volume level. This is the simplest reason why your computer has no sound, and although it seems like an obvious step, it's good to check anyway before moving on to the other suggestions below.

    Turn up the volume as high as possible on your speakers or headphones, and also check that Windows 11 doesn't have the sound muted. Down by the clock, select the sound icon and ensure that the volume level is set to high.

    Also, right-click the sound icon and select Sound settings to ensure the specific output device you're using isn't muted.

    Sound settings and volume control in Windows 11
  2. Double-check that the speakers or headphones are turned on and properly connected to the computer. The sound might work just fine, and your computer volume at max level, but you won't know it if the speakers are simply off or disconnected.

    Some devices connect over Bluetooth and others use a wire, so how you check this depends on your setup:

    • Check for a power indicator on the speakers or headphones
    • Look for loose cables
    • Bluetooth devices must be paired to the PC
    • Ensure that the wired device is plugged into the correct port (often called 'LINE OUT')
  3. Set the sound device as default. If you have multiple audio devices plugged in, such as headphones and speakers, only one will play sounds at any given time. You can switch one of them to be the default device to start playing sounds there.

    Right-click the sound icon from the taskbar and choose Sound settings. From the Output area at the top, select the small circle next to the device you want to hear sound through. The change is immediately, so you'll know right away if this works.

    Set default audio device in Windows 11

    The ms-settings:sound Run command is another way to get to this screen.

  4. Confirm that the software you're using is configured to relay sound to your device.

    For example, if you can't hear anything in an app like Zoom or Skype, go into the program's settings to verify the app is set up to use your headset or speakers. Web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Edge let you mute a specific tab through the right-click menu.

    Unmute tab option in Edge
  5. Restart your computer. If all the above appears normal, there could be pending updates that need to finish. It could also be a temporary incompatibility issue that'll be resolved after the restart.

    Right-click the Start button and go to Shut down or sign out > Restart.

  6. Attach the audio device to a different computer, or swap it out for a replacement you know works. The idea here is to see if the problem is with your PC or the hardware itself.

    For example, if your speakers don't work on any computer you try them with, chances are it's the speakers that are broken. If your headphones work everywhere else but not on your Windows 11 computer, the sound issue is likely related to the OS or some other installed software.

    If you have just one computer, take this time to try out alternative ports. If you're using a headphone jack on your speakers, for example, use the one on your computer instead, or try USB or Bluetooth headphones to help isolate the problem. Or, if you're used to using a speaker system, unplug it and attach headphones directly to the audio out port to confirm the speakers aren't causing the sound issue.

  7. Undo any recent system changes you think could have caused Windows 11 to suddenly have no sound. If you know the sound quit working recently, and you can identify what has changed, then you have a good chance at getting the sound back.

    Depending on your situation, this could include:

    If upgrading to Windows 11 is what caused the no sound problem (i.e., it worked before the upgrade), there's basically a 100 percent chance that that is to blame. Fixing the driver (step 9) is the likely solution.

  8. Update Windows with the latest fixes and features. There could be an update that addresses the sound problem.

    Open Settings and go to Windows Update to check for and install OS updates. When finished, be sure to restart.

    Checking for updates screen in Windows 11
  9. Update your PC's device drivers. A corrupt or missing sound card driver can interfere with proper sounds even if your peripheral devices, like speakers or headphones, are working properly.

    Installing drivers is easy with a free driver updater tool.

  10. Run the built-in audio troubleshooter to find and fix problems that could be causing the issue.

    There are two ways to access it:

    • Right-click the taskbar sound icon and choose Troubleshoot sound problems.
    • From Settings, go to System > Troubleshoot > Other troubleshooters, and select Run next to Playing Audio.
    Playing Audio troubleshooter detecting problems
  11. Restart audio services. The troubleshooter above might have already done this, but it doesn't hurt to do it again manually, especially before reaching the final, destructive step below.

    Search Windows for Services (or execute services.msc from Run) and then find Windows Audio Endpoint Builder from the list. Right-click it and choose Restart.

    Windows Audio service restart option
  12. Reset Windows 11 to return it to its default state with Reset This PC. At this point, after confirming that the hardware and software you're using are working and set up correctly, erasing all your customizations and reinstalling Windows is your final option for fixing sound problems.

    To do this, open Settings and go to System > Recovery > Reset PC.

    One of the options during this step is to remove everything on your computer, including all your personal files and apps. Be sure you've tried all the above first before completing this step. You can also take this time to back up your computer's files if you need to.

  • How do I get my Windows 11 computer to play sound from a Bluetooth speaker?

    To enable Bluetooth on Windows 11, go to the Start menu and search for and select Settings. Select Bluetooth & devices, then toggle on Bluetooth. Or, select Action Center, then click the Bluetooth icon to enable Bluetooth. Once Bluetooth is enabled, go to Settings > Bluetooth & devices > Add device, then follow the prompts to pair your Bluetooth speaker.

  • Why don't the sound keys work on Windows 11?

    If you find that your keyboard volume controls stop working, check your computer's Human Interface Device Service service. From the Start menu, search for and select Services. Double-click Human Interface Device Service, and ensure it says Running next to Service status. If it doesn't, change Startup type to be Automatic, then click OK.

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