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  • The Failed to play test tone error message can appear if there is a hardware issue or your audio drivers are outdated.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– According to users, this error usually appears with IDT or Realtek audio devices; the issue is usually caused by an outdated driver and it can be easily fixed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:

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  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.

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.

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.

10. Remove recently installed updates

  1. Open the Settings app and go to the Updates & security section.
  2. Click on Update history.
    update history Laptop no sound, failed to play test tone
  3. List of updates will now appear. Click on Uninstall updates.
    uninstall updates Sound card failed to play test tone
  4. Now you should see recently installed updates. Double click a certain update in order to remove it.
    remove update Sound failed to access device

According to users, Failed to play sound test tone error messages can appear due to certain Windows updates. Sometimes an update can have certain bugs and cause this problem to appear.

After you remove the recent updates check if the problem still appears. If not, it means that you found the cause of the problem. Now you just have to prevent the update from installing.

11. Perform an SFC scan

  1. Open the Windows search bar and type cmd. Open Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. When Command Prompt opens, enter sfc /scannow and press Enter to run it.
    sfc /scannow Unable to play sound on laptop
  3. SFC scan will now start. The scan can take about 10-15 minutes so don’t interrupt it.

Sometimes Failed to play sound test tone error message can appear due to file corruption. Your system files can become corrupted and that will cause this error to appear.

However, you should be able to fix it simply by performing an SFC scan.

Users reported that running the SFC scan fixed the problem for them, so be sure to try it out. However, sometimes you won’t be able to fix the problem using the SFC scan.

Learn everything there is to know about System File Checker from our comprehensive guide.

12. Run DISM scan

  1. Start Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Now enter the following command and then press Enter:
    dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
    dism command prompt Realtek Audio failed to play test tone
  3. DISM scan will now start. This process can take about 15-20 minutes, so be sure not to interrupt it.

In some rare cases, you might not be able to run a SFC scan at all. To fix this error, you might have to run a DISM scan instead.

Once the DISM scan is finished, check if the error still persists. If you couldn’t run the SFC scan before, be sure to repeat it after performing a DISM scan.

13. Disconnect other USB devices

If you’re using USB headphones or speakers, you might encounter this problem due to other USB devices.

According to users, they encountered Failed to play sound test tone error message because of Xbox 360 wireless gaming receiver.

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Many users use their Xbox 360 controller with their PC, and sometimes the wireless receiver can cause this problem to occur.

To fix the issue, users are suggesting to disconnect the wireless receiver from your PC and restart it. Once your PC boots without the receiver, the sound should start working again.

If the sound is working, you can reconnect your wireless receiver again. This is a simple workaround, and it works according to users, so feel free to try it.

Keep in mind that you might have to repeat it if the issue reappears.

14. Set your audio device as the default communication device

  1. Open the Sound window. You can do that by right-clicking the sound icon in the bottom right corner and choosing Playback devices.
  2. When the Sound window opens, right-click any other device and choose Set as Default Communication Device.
    set as default communication device USB audio failed to play test tone
  3. Now right click your audio device and choose Set as default. Repeat the same steps and select Set as Default Communication Device.
    set as default device AMD HDMI audio failed to play test tone

According to users, Failed to play sound test tone error message can appear if your audio device isn’t set as the default device.

After following the above steps, the problem should be fixed and your sound will start working.

15. Disable your audio device

  1. Open the Device Manager.
  2. Now locate your audio device, right-click it and choose Disable from the menu.
    device manager disable device HP audio failed to play test tone
  3. A confirmation message will now appear. Click on Yes.
    confirm device disable Laptop no sound, failed to play test tone
  4. You’ll be asked to restart your PC. Click on Yes to restart it now.
    confirm restart Sound card failed to play test tone
  5. Once your PC restarts, go back to Device Manager, right-click your audio device and choose Enable device from the menu.
    device manager enable device Sound failed to access device

If you’re frequently getting Failed to play sound test tone error message, you might be able to fix it simply by temporarily disabling your audio device.

After disabling and enabling your audio device, the problem should be resolved.

16. Connect your audio device directly to your PC

According to users, they experienced this issue while using a docking station on their laptop.

Laptop docking stations can be incredibly useful since they provide you with additional ports, but sometimes issues with them can occur.

Users reported that connecting their speakers or headphones to the docking station caused Failed to play sound test tone error message.

According to users, you can fix the problem by connecting the speakers to the audio port on your laptop. After doing that, the issue will be resolved.

As for the cause of the problem, your docking station might be faulty or it might not be fully compatible with your hardware or drivers.

17. Change the security permissions in the registry

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter regedit. Press Enter or click OK.
    regedit run window Failed to play sound, sound disabled
  2. Optional: You might want to create a registry backup just in case. Modifying the registry can cause issues with your PC if you don’t modify it properly, so it’s advised to create a backup. To do that, click on File > Export.
    export registry Unable to play sound on laptop
  3. Now set All as Export range and enter the desired file name. Choose a safe location and click the Save button.
    backup settings, registry IDT Audio failed to play test tone
  4. After doing that, you’ll have a backup of your registry. In case any problems occur after modifying the registry, you can simply run this file to restore the registry to the original state.
  5. In the left pane, navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionMMDevicesAudio
  6. Right-click the Audio key and choose Permissions from the menu.
    permissions USB audio failed to play test tone
  7. Repeat the same steps on a working PC. Now compare the list of entries in Group or user names sections on a working PC and on your PC.
  8. Check permissions for each entry on the list. If certain entries or permissions are missing from your PC, you’ll need to readjust them.
  9. After all entries and permissions are the same on both PCs, click on Advanced.
    advanced AMD HDMI audio failed to play test tone
  10. Check the Owner section on both PCs. If the owner section is different on the affected PC, be sure to change it accordingly.
    advanced security settings Dell audio failed to play test tone

If you’re getting this error frequently, you might be able to fix it by changing the security permissions. You’ll need to find another Windows 10 PC and compare the security permissions between the two.

After the settings are the same on both PCs, check if the problem still appears. This is an advanced solution, so if you’re not familiar with security permissions or registry, you might want to skip it.

Several users reported that adjusting their registry fixed the problem, so you might want to try that.

18. Check other USB devices

Best USB C hubs for Windows

According to users, Failed to play sound test tone error message can occur if you’re using a USB hub. USB hubs are useful, especially if you tend to use multiple USB devices.

Users reported this problem while connecting both their gamepad and USB headphones to the same USB hub. It seems that some USB devices aren’t working properly together.

Users reported that disconnecting the gamepad from the USB hub fixes the issue for them, so you might want to try that.

If that solves the problem, in the future you’ll need to connect your USB headphones first, and then connect the gamepad to the USB hub. This is a simple workaround, so feel free to try it out.

19. Reinstall your AMD drivers

In some cases, your graphics card drivers can cause this problem to occur. According to users, certain graphics card drivers are also installing their audio drivers causing this problem to appear.

To fix the issue, you need to uninstall your AMD driver and reinstall it. To completely remove a graphics card driver from your PC, many users are suggesting to use Display Driver Uninstaller.

This is a free removal tool that will completely remove the graphics card driver along with all its associated files. Once you remove the driver, you need to download the latest driver for your graphics card.

While installing the driver, be sure to select the Custom Installation option. From there you’ll be able to choose which drivers you want to install. Be sure to deselect HDMI Audio Driver.

After doing that, only the graphics card driver will be installed, and your problem should be fixed.

Keep in mind that this issue can affect both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards, so be sure to try this solution even if you don’t use AMD graphics.

20. Restart Windows Audio service

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter services.msc. Click OK or press Enter.
    services run window Laptop no sound, failed to play test tone
  2. The Services window will now appear.
  3. Locate Windows Audio service, right-click it and choose Restart from the menu.
    restart service Sound card failed to play test tone

According to users, this issue can be caused by the Windows Audio service, and in order to fix it, you just have to restart this service.

After Windows Audio service restarts, the problem should be resolved and your sound will start working again.

21. Change your Local Users and Groups settings

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter lusrmgr.msc. Click on OK to press Enter.
    Sound failed to access device
  2. When Local Users and Groups window opens, click Groups in the left pane.
  3. In the right pane, right-click Administrators and choose Add to Group option from the menu.
    lusrmgr Failed to play sound, sound disabled
  4. A list of members will appear. Click on the Add button.
    add user administrator properties Unable to play sound on laptop
  5. In the Enter the object names to select field enter Local Service. Click on the Check Names button. If everything is in order, click on OK.
    local service Conexant Audio failed to play test tone
  6. NT AUTHORITY will now be added to the list of members. Click on Apply and OK to save changes.
    administrator properties save changes USB audio failed to play test tone

If you’re having problems with Failed to play sound test tone error message, you might be able to solve the problem simply by changing Local Users and Groups settings.

After making the changes, restart your PC and check if the problem is resolved.

22. Delete DefaultLaunchPermission entry from the registry

  1. Open Registry Editor.
  2. In the left pane, navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftOle
  3. Right-click Ole and choose Export from the menu.
    export ole key AMD HDMI audio failed to play test tone
  4. Make sure that Selected branch is selected in the Export range section. Now enter the desired file name and click on Save.
    backup registry HP audio failed to play test tone
  5. Locate DefaultLaunchPermission in the right pane, right-click it and choose Delete.
    delete key reigstry Laptop no sound, failed to play test tone
  6. A confirmation message will now appear. Click on Yes.
    confirm registry delete Sound card failed to play test tone
  7. After deleting DefaultLaunchPermission entry, restart your PC.

Sometimes problems in your registry can cause this issue to appear. To fix the problem, you need to find and remove DefaultLaunchPermission entry from the registry.

Once your PC restarts, check if the problem still appears. If not, you might want to restore DefaultLaunchPermission entry. To do that, simply run the file you created in Step 3.

After doing that, your registry will be restored to the original state.

I hope this comprehensive article helped you to solve the problem regarding playing a sound test tone in Windows 10.

Also, if you have any suggestions, comments, or questions, just write them down in the comments below.

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