FIX: Failed to play test tone on Windows 10

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Passionate about all elements related to Windows and combined with his innate curiosity, Ivan has delved deep into understanding this operating system, with a specialization in drivers and driver troubleshooting. When he's not tackling... Read more
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  • The Failed to play test tone error message can appear if there is a hardware issue or your audio drivers are outdated.
  • You can solve this sound error by verifying the entries in the Registry Editor.
  • To fix the Failed to play test tone issue on Windows 10 keep your drivers up to date.
  • If your speakers failed to play a test tone, make sure to have the correct sound settings.
Failed to play test tone on Windows 10
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Although many users are using Windows 10, it seems that some users are having certain issues.

Speaking of which, Windows 10 users are reporting that they are getting Failed to play test tone message, so let’s see if we can fix that.

How do I fix failed to play test tone? We’d first advise you to update your Windows 10 with latest patches or try changing speaker settings or switching to default drivers.

This error message can cause various problems with audio on your PC. In addition to this error, users reported the following problems as well:

  • Conexant Audio, Sound Blaster, IDT, Realtek Audio failed to play test tone – According to users, this error usually appears with IDT or Realtek audio devices; the issue is usually caused by an outdated driver and it can be easily fixed
  • USB audio failed to play test tone – If you’re getting this error, it might be because you’re using a USB sound card or USB headphones; according to users, the problem occurs more often with USB audio devices
  • AMD HDMI audio failed to play test tone – Sometimes your graphics card drivers can install audio drivers as well; users reported this error message when using HDMI cable with an AMD graphics card
  • Dell, HP audio failed to play test tone – Audio problems such as this one can occur on almost any PC, and both Dell and HP users reported this problem on their devices
  • Laptop no sound, failed to play test tone – This issue affects both desktop and laptop PCs alike; in fact, the issue is more common on certain laptops than on desktop PCs
  • Sound card failed to play test tone – If you’re having this problem on your PC, you might want to know that it can affect almost any sound card; according to users, both dedicated and built-in sound cards are affected by this issue
  • Sound failed to access device – This is another variation of this error, and if you have it on your PC, you should be able to fix it by using one of our solutions
  • Failed to play sound, sound disabled – In some cases, you won’t be able to play any sounds on your PC; according to users, the sound can become completely disabled on your PC due to this problem;
  • Unable to play sound on laptop – This problem affects both desktop and laptop PCs alike; this is a serious problem, and many users reported that they are unable to play any sound on their laptop.

What to do if you can’t play Sound Test Tone in Windows 10?

1. Change speaker settings

Users report that when upgrading to Windows 10 their speaker settings change to Quadraphonic, depending on how the OS saw your external sound devices.

If you’re using a 5.1 speaker system, go to your speaker settings and change them from Quadraphonic to 5.1. After changing the settings you should be able to play a test sound.


2. Switch to default drivers

  1. Go to Device Manager and locate your audio driver.
  2. Right-click it, and choose Uninstall.uninstall audio driver Realtek Audio failed to play test tone
  3. Check Delete the driver software for this device and click Uninstall.
    uninstall confirmation dialog USB audio failed to play test tone
  4. After the driver has been uninstalled press Search for new hardware button. This will install the default audio driver.
    scan for hardware changes AMD HDMI audio failed to play test tone

Next thing we’re going to try is switching to default drivers. To do this, you need to do the above steps.


3. Update your drivers

3.1. Update drivers manually

  1. Go to the taskbar, type in device manager, then select Device Manager.Look for the device you want to update then click on it.
  2. Click Search automatically for updated driver software.
  3. Select Update Driver.
  4. If Windows doesn’t find the updates, go to the manufacturer’s official site to download the fresh patches.

Windows 10 drivers usually get automatically updated, however sometimes it’s best you perform this procedure manually, just to make sure your OS is not missing certain crucial files.

3.2. Use professional software

Windows 10 usually installs all the necessary drivers, it does a good job finding and recognizing your devices. But, sometimes it does not and you have to manually install or update them.

The easiest solution is to have a tool that automatically installs all the drivers you need.

Most of the time, the generic drivers for your PC’s hardware and peripherals are not properly updated by the system.There are key differences between a generic driver and a manufacturer’s driver.Searching for the right driver version for each of your hardware components can become tedious. That’s why an automated assistant can help you find and update your system with the correct drivers every time, and we strongly recommend DriverFix. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Download and install DriverFix.
  2. Launch the software.
  3. Wait for the detection of all your faulty drivers.
  4. DriverFix will now show you all the drivers that have issues, and you just need to select the ones you’d liked fixed.
  5. Wait for the app to download and install the newest drivers.
  6. Restart your PC for the changes to take effect.
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4. Install High Definition Audio Device

  1. Go to the Device Manager and find your audio driver.
  2. Right click it and choose Update driver.
    update driver software HP audio failed to play test tone
  3. Choose Browse my computer for driver software option.
    browse my computer for driver software Laptop no sound, failed to play test tone
  4. Now choose Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.
    update driver pick from a list of avaialble drivers Sound card failed to play test tone
  5. In the list of drivers choose High Definition Audio Device.
    high definition audio device Sound failed to access device
  6. Click Next and if you get a warning choose Yes.
    confirm the driver update Failed to play sound, sound disabled

If switching to default audio device didn’t get the job done, you can try with installing high definition audio device. To install High Definition Audio Device on Windows 10, do the above steps.


No sound from headphones in Windows 10? Don’t panic! Fix the issue in no time with the help of our guide!


5. Change the sound format

  1. Right-click the volume icon in your sysbar and choose Playback devices from the menu.
    playback devices context menu Unable to play sound on laptop
  2. When the Sound window opens, make sure that your speakers or headphones are set as the default device.
  3. If not, you can set them by right-clicking the device and choose Set as default device from the menu.
  4. Select your audio device and click on Properties.
    speaker properties Conexant Audio failed to play test tone
  5. When the Properties window opens, navigate to the Advanced tab.
  6. Now in the DefaultFormat section select a different audio format. Click on Apply and OK to save changes.
    advanced sound settings USB audio failed to play test tone

If you’re frequently getting Failed to play sound test tone error message, you might be able to solve the problem simply by changing your audio format.

Run a System Scan to discover potential errors

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After doing that, check if your sound is working properly. Many users reported that this solution fixed the problem for them, so be sure to try it out.

Keep in mind that you’ll have to try using several different formats before you find the one that works for you.

restore default settings AMD HDMI audio failed to play test tone

If changing the format doesn’t work, several users are recommending to click Restore Default button to restore your audio settings to original values.


6. Disable all audio enhancements

  1. Open Speaker Properties. We showed you how to do that in the previous solution, so check if for additional information.
  2. Navigate to the Enhancements tab and check Disable all enhancements. Click on Apply and OK to save changes.
    enhancements disable Dell audio failed to play test tone

Sometimes Failed to play sound test tone error message can appear if you’re using certain audio enhancements.

Many sound cards support enhancements, but often they can interfere with Windows and cause this problem to occur. To fix the issue, you need to disable audio enhancements.

After disabling all the enhancements the problem should be resolved and your sound will start working again.


7. Disable Exclusive Mode

  1. Open Speaker Properties.
  2. Navigate to Advanced tab and in Exclusive Mode section disable Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device. Now click on Apply and OK to save changes.
    advaned speaker properties Laptop no sound, failed to play test tone

Failed to play sound test tone error message usually appears due to your sound settings, and one of the common problems is Exclusive Mode.

After disabling the Exclusive Mode the issue should be resolved completely.


8. Use a Sound Troubleshooter

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. When the Settings app opens, navigate to the Update & security section.
    update & security settings app Sound card failed to play test tone
  3. In the menu on the left select Troubleshoot.
  4. Now in the right pane select Playing Audio and click on Run the troubleshooter.
    run the troubleshooter Sound failed to access device
  5. The Troubleshooter will now start. Wait while the troubleshooter fixes the problem.
    deteting audio problems Failed to play sound, sound disabled

According to users, you can fix Failed to play sound test tone error message simply by running a troubleshooter. There can be a glitch with your audio configuration that can cause this issue to appear.

Once the troubleshooter is finished the problem should be resolved and your audio will start working. Both methods above will perform the same troubleshooter, so feel free to use any of them.


9. Disable audio effects

Transcribe! audio effects and controls

Many sound cards come with dedicated software that offers various audio effects. Although these effects can sometimes improve your audio quality, they can often cause various problems to appear.

According to users, Failed to play sound test tone error message is closely related to these sound effects, and in order to fix this problem, it’s strongly advised to disable them.

To do that, simply open your audio configuration software, locate the Effects section and disable them all. After disabling all effects, check if the problem still appears.


Editor’s Note: This article continues on the next page. If you want to read more about audio and sound issues, check out our wide collection of guides.

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