How to Fix: Windows 10 Sound Not Working

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Jim N. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Ever since I upgraded to Windows 10, I have no sound. I have looked at all of my speaker / headphone volume settings, and have searched Google for 'windows 10 sound not working' and 'windows 10 sound drivers', but nothing seems to apply to my situation - my sound simply does not work. I realize that this is a very common problem, but having no sound in Windows 10 is driving me nuts. Is there a simple fix for this or should I go back to Windows 7? "

My response:

I can tell you that based on my experience, the sound in Windows 10 cuts out sporadically - at least, it does on my server computer. As such I believe this to be both a hardware compatibility issue as well as a Windows bug. Fear not, however, as there are ways around to fix the windows 10 sound not working; I will do my best to describe how to do just that below.

How to Fix: Windows 10 Sound Not Working

  1. The first thing you will want to do is review your sound card status under Device Manager, which will tell you whether or not there is a problem with your sound driver, or if the device simply isn't working.

    To do so: click Start, then type in "device manager"; wait for the "Device Manager (control panel)" icon to appear in the list, then click it. The Device Manager window will appear. Scroll through the list of devices until you see the heading "Sound, video and game controllers", then expand the list.

    If you see any yellow exclamation marks associated with one of your sound devices (pic), then you likely have a driver issue, or problem with the hardware. In that case, double click the icon with the yellow exclamation mark and look under the Device Status heading.

    If the heading says something like "the drivers for this device are not installed (Code 28)," or "This device cannot start (Code 10)," then you most likely need to re-install the driver. In that case, go to your motherboard manufacturer's website (or sound card manufacturer) and download the latest sound driver for your device - for windows 10 - and install it. If you don't see a driver for Windows 10, try one for Windows 8.1 if available; if not, try one for Windows 8; if not, then try one for Windows 7.

    On that note, please be very careful when searching for drivers online the Internet as there are many scam websites that will try to make you pay for a driver. You should NEVER ever have to pay for a driver, or pay for a program that promises to download drivers for you. Most of these programs are bogus or end up downloading the wrong driver, which then makes your system unstable. If you need help downloading a driver you are more than welcome to contact me for additional support - I can connect to your computer and show you how to do it using my remote desktop support service.
  2. Assuming there are no exclamation marks associated with one of your sound devices, then you should be reasonably certain that the drivers are loaded and everything should be working fine. The next thing to do is to ensure your sound device is enabled in Windows. To do so: first, click the sound icon in next to the clock (if there is one) and ensure your volume is turned up all the way. Next, ensure your speakers are turned on and the volume is up / your TV or monitor volume is turned up.

    Following that, click Start and type in "change sound card settings" (no quotes); wait for the "Change sound card settings" icon to appear in the list, then click it. A new "Sound" window will appear with a bunch of device underneath, such as "AMD HDMI Output", or "Speakers", or "S/PDIF Pass-through Device", or such. Right click over any one of those devices and ensure that you have a check mark placed beside both "Show Disabled Devices" and "Show Disconnected Devices" - the reason for doing this is that oftentimes a device gets 'hidden' in the list and this is the device that you need to set as default. Once that is done, you need to right click over top of the first device in the list and select "Test". If you don't hear any sound, then move onto the next item. Keep doing that until you test all devices.

    If you hear sound on one of the devices, then right click that device and select "Set as Default Device". That should make your sound work going forward, and the little speaker next to your clock should appear, where you can also adjust the volume level.

    If you still don't have sound at this point, continue to the next step.
  3. At this point the next thing you can try to do is to reset the Windows Audio and Windows Audio Endpoint Builder. If you have problems where the sound magically stops working during the day, and especially if it happens in the middle of playing a game or playing a movie - this should fix it, though the fix is temporary until Windows 10 throws in the towel and your sound stops working again. I can tell you that based on my experience, earlier versions of Windows 10 were literally ** plagued ** with audio problems where the audio would just stop working intermittently (and yes, it drove me nuts).

    At the time of writing I am currently using Windows 10 version 10586.318, and I rarely ever encounter the problem where the sound stops working intermittently. For what it's worth, you can check which version of Windows 10 you have installed by clicking Start, then type in "winver" (no quotes), wait for "winver" to appear in the list, then press Enter. The Windows 10 version will be listed on the second line, next to the "OS Build". It will read something like: "Microsoft Windows / Version 1511 (OS Build 10586.318)". You are particularly interested in the last 3 digits which I have placed in bold, which tells you which release of Windows 10 you are using.

    With that said, you can reset the Windows Audio and Windows Audio Endpoint Builder by doing the following:

    Click Start, then type in "services.msc" (no quotes); wait for the "Services" icon to appear in the list (it looks like a cog wheel), then click it. The Services window will then appear; scroll through the list and then search for the Windows Audio Endpoint Builder item, then double click it. Under the "Service Status" heading (half way down the window), click the "Stop" button, then click OK. You will then be taken back to the Services window. Next, click the Windows Audio item in the list, then under the Service Status heading, click Stop, then click OK. Now, go back to the Windows Audio Endpoint Builder service, double click to open it, then click Start to start the service. Then, do the same thing with the Windows Audio item - double click it, then start that service.

    Your Windows audio should have restart. You can test to see whether or not the sound is working (again) by left clicking on the sound icon next to the clock; once the sound menu appears, click on the slider bar to make it 'ding'. You should hear sound. You can also test your sound devices again using Step #2.

These are the most common issues with Windows 10 sound not working. Hopefully the solutions I described on the page will help. If not, you are welcome to contact me for additional support.

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If this is all over your head, or you need more help troubleshooting your sound device, you are welcome to contact me for additional support using my remote desktop service. Simply contact me using the contact form, briefly describing your problem and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question - or even a computer problem that needs fixing - please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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Comments's picture

Following a nearly 2 hour chat with MS and no results, I decided to go to Dell for an answer. Ten minutes later (and the correct driver download), my sound was perfect!
Be SURE to get the Win10 driver from Dell as they have lots of choices.