YouTube Sound Stops Working: How to Fix

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Tim G. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Sometimes when I try and play a YouTube video, the sound doesn't work. If I try and 'Play Test Sound' on my sound device via Control Panel -> Sound, Windows says 'Windows failed to play test tone'. The only way I know how to fix the sound is to reboot the computer, but that means I need to reload my browser and tabs every time. Do you know how I can fix my sound without rebooting? "

My Response:

This problem happens to me too every once in a while, and I have a sneaking suspicion it might be related to Adobe Flash. To fix the issue, I restart the Windows Audio service.

To do so:

1. Click the Start menu, then type in 'services.msc' (no quotes), and press Enter.

2. Scroll down to Windows Audio service, and double click it; a new window will appear.

3. Look for the Stop and Start buttons under the heading Service Status.

4. Click the Stop service button, wait a few seconds, and then click the Start service button.

5. At this point the sound should be fixed. To test the sound, go to the sound (speaker) icon in the tray bar next to the clock; left click it once to bring up the sound volume dialogue, then left click on the volume bar a few times, and you should hear a 'ping' sound. At this point you may need to restart your browser to get the sound working again.

This beats having to reboot each and every time the sound stops working intermittently.

Hope that helps!

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doulosg's picture

And I wouldn't be at all surprised - that Flash is the culprit. Flash seems to have become the cause of more problems than the benefits it offers. Their download process is arrogant and inconsistent. But you only suggested them/it as a cause but didn't explain how or why.

Dennis Faas's picture

This is only a workaround if the audio stops working intermittently.

I suspect it may be related to Adobe Flash because audiodg.exe runs at 100% (via Task Manager) and it only does that when I close my browser and when I'm experiencing audio issues. Since the windows audio and web browsers are tied into Flash, I suspect it's Flash causing the issue. Restarting Windows Audio service fixes the problem. Once again, this is an intermittent issue and your circumstance may be completely different.

rcprimak's picture

I can offer some insight into this issue with Windows. Surprisingly, the exact same issue can occur in my Ubuntu Linux OS, when running the Firefox Flash Player plugin.

What I think happens is that *both* the plugin and the browser aren't playing well with connecting to the sound driver(s). This is more than a Flash Player issue, as Firefox updates have caused the sound to disconnect, not just Flash Player updates. Getting reconnected has proven challenging in Linux.

In Windows, the advice in this article is just a "fixit" type of approach, but it is often the best an end-user can do, until the browser and the plugin get their acts back into sync. Restarting the Windows Audio Service won't permanently fix any issues with the browser or the plugin not correctly addressing the audio driver(s).

When one browser doesn't play Flash Player sound, sometimes another browser will work just fine. I did not experience sound loss in my Chromium Browser (Linux build of Chrome). The differences included how the browsers connect with the sound drivers, as well as Pepper Flash for Chrome being coded differently from Adobe Flash for Firefox. Another difference is the way the two browsers support hardware audio (and video) acceleration.

So by all means try a different browser if Flash Player content like You Tube fails to play sound in your usual browser.

And hope the next browser and plugin updates solve the issue. (I waited for four Firefox updates to get my Firefox Flash Player sound back.)

My observations may have been with Linux, but very similar issues may happen in Windows.