Fix: ‘No Speaker or Headphones are plugged in’ on Windows 10, 8.1 or 7

By: Alexander Craciun
6 minute read

There is a common problem circulating on the web about Windows 10/8 not recognizing audio devices plugged in the machine. There are many things that can cause this problem depending on your system, however, most of them are fairly easy to resolve. We will go through the most common and figure out a working solution for these types of issues.

The majority of people complain that after they upgraded their OS to Windows 10 they lost all sound, their devices not being recognized any more. There are more than a few people that are still looking for a working solution, not being able to resolve the issue by restarting the computer or plugging the devices in and out.

Along with the “no Speaker or Headphones are plugged in” problem, you might also encounter some more sound-preventing issues like:

  • No speakers or headphones are plugged in Windows 8 – This issue is especially common in Windows 8.
  • The speaker headset or headphone is unplugged Windows 10 – However, it’s also possible to encounter it in Windows 10.
  • Audio device not plugged in Windows 10 – If you get this error, you can still apply solutions from this article, because it’s basically the same problem.
  • Headphones not plugged in Windows 7 – This issue occurs when you’re not able to connect your headphones to a computer running Windows 7.

How to fix problems with speakers and headphones in Windows 10/8.1/7

Fix: “No Speaker or Headphone are plugged in” problem in Windows 10/8.1/7

Table of contents:

  1. Update Audio driver
  2. Re-enable your sound card
  3. Re-enable disconnected devices
  4. Disable HDMI sound
  5. Disable Front Panel Jack detection
  6. Run Sound Troubleshooter
  7. Restart Windows Audio service
  8. Perform SFC scan
  9. Delete Windows updates
  10. Perform System Restore
  11. Try your headphones/speaker on another computer
  12. No sound in specific apps

Solution 1 – Update Audio driver

The very first thing you should try when dealing with sound issues of any kind in Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 is update your audio driver. If you’re not sure how to do that, just follow the steps below:

  1. Go to Search, type devicemngr, and open Device Manger
  2. Find your audio device, right-click it, and go to Update driver software…
  3. Follow further on-screen instructions. If there are any updates, the installation wizard will isntall them automatically.
  4. Restart your computer.

If updating your audio drivers didn’t get the job done, you can as well try with updating your sound card driver. To update your sound card driver, just apply the steps from above. If your problem remains unresolved, move on to another solution.

Solution 2 – Re-enable your sound card

Now, we’ll try and disable and enable your sound card again to see if there are any positive changes. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to Search, type devicemngr, and open Device Manger
  2. Expand Sound, video and game controllers
  3. Right-click your sound card, and go to Disable
  4. Restart your computer
  5. Go back to Device Manager, and Enable your sound card once again
  6. If you can hear the sound, you problem is resolved

Solution 3 – Re-enable disconnected devices

There’s also a chance you accidentally disabled your speakers or headphones. In that case, all you need to do is re-enable your pheriperal, and everything should be wokring fine.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Right-click the sound icon in the taskbar
  2. Click Playback Devices
  3. Right-click anywhere under the Sound window and choose Show Disabled Devices
  4. If you device is disabled, simply right-click it and select Enable
  5. Restart your computer

Solution 4 – Disable HDMI sound

If you’re using a HDMI cable to distribute audio, you’ll have to disable the HDMI sound if you want to use headphones or speakers.

If you’re not sure how to do that, just follow the instructions from below:

  1. Right-click the sound icon in the taskbar
  2. Click Playback Devices
  3. Right-click the High Definition Audio Device you’re currently using, and select Disable
  4. Restart your computer

Solution 5 – Disable Front Panel Jack detection

If you’re using a Realtek sound card, everyt piece of settings for your headphones or speakers is controlled through the Realtek HD Audio Manager. So, if the “no Speaker or Headphones Are Plugged in”, we may need to do some changes in the Realtek HD Audio Manager.

Here’s exactly what you should do:

  1. Go to Search, type realtek hd audio manager, and open Realtek Audio HD Manager
  2. Go to the Speakers tab, and click the folder under Device Advanced settings
  3. Select Disable front panel jack detection
  4. Restart your computer

Solution 6 – Run Sound Troubleshooter

If you’re running Windows 10 Creators Update or later, you can use Microsoft’s new troubleshooting tool. The new troubleshooter is designed to deal with various system errors, including audio problems.

So, if none of the solutions from above managed to solve the problem, you should try with the Troubleshooter:

  1. Go to the Settings app.
  2. Go to Update & Security > Troubleshoot.
  3. Click Playing Audio, and go to Run the troubleshooter.
  4. Follow further on-screen instructions.
  5. Restart your computer.

Solution 7 – Restart Windows Audio service

The audio system service is essential for palying audio in Windows. Therefore, if this service is disabled, various problems might occur, incuding the one we’re talking about here. So, make sure the audio service is running.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to Search, type services.msc, and open Services.
  2. Find the Windows Audio service.
  3. If this service is not enabled, right-click it, and select Start. If it’s enabled, right-click it and select Restart.
  4. Wait for the process to finish.
  5. Restart your computer.

Solution 8 – Perform SFC scan

The SFC scanner is a built-in troubleshooting tool in Windows. Similarly to the above-mentioned Troubleshooter, you can use the SFC scan to deal with various system issues in Windows. But unlike the Troubleshooter, the SFC scan has no graphical interface, and you’ll have to run it throught the Command Prompt.

In case you’re not sure how to do that, just follow these instructions:

  1. Go to Search, type cmd, right-click Command Prompt, and go to Run As Administrator
  2. Enter the following command, and press Enter: sfc/scannow
  3. Wait for the process to finish
  4. Restart your computer

Solution 9 – Delete Windows updates

There’s a chance a certain Windows update disrupt the sound on your device. In that case, your best bet is to delete the troublesome update, and wait for Microsoft to release a new (working one). In case you don’t know how to delete already installed Windows update, just follow these instructions:

  1. Go to Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update
  2. Go to Update history > Uninstall updates
  3. Now, find the troublesome update, (it’s usually the latest installed update on your computer) right-click it, and go to Uninstall
  4. Reboot your computer

Solution 10 – Perform System Restore

Another way to deal with a troublesome update in Windows is to perform System Restore. This tool reverts your computer back to the previous recorded state, and resolves the issues and faulty updates on the way.

Here’s how to perform the System Restore in Windows:

  1. Go to Control Panel.
  2. Go to System and Security > System.
  3. Under the Control Panel Home menu, click System protection.
  4. Click System Restore.
  5. Choose the Restore point.
  6. Follow further on-screen instructions.
  7. Once you initiate the process, your computer will restart, and System Restore will get it to the selected previous state.

Solution 11 – Try your headphones/speaker on another computer

And finally, if none of the solutions listed above worked, try your headphones or speakers on another computer. If keep receiving the same error, it’s obvious that you actually have a hardware problem. So, it’s time to get the new speakers/headphones!

Bonus: No sound in specific apps

If the issue presents itself only in some applications make sure the volume is not set to minimal or disabled from the application option menu or the Windows 8 sounds menu. Windows 8 has specific sound volume for each of the applications opened on your machine, and to access those you need to tap or left click the speaker icon on the right side of the taskbar and tap or click the mixer option on the bottom of the window.

That’s about it, we hope at least one of these solutions helped you resolve the annoying “no Speaker or Headphones are plugged in” problem in Windows. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, feel free to let us know in the comments down below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2013 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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