HDMI is a popular high quality connection method for both video and audio output, so it’s no wonder that so many people are using it. Speaking of HDMI, many Windows users reported various HDMI output problems.
These HDMI PC problems affect all Windows versions, including Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.
Here are some quick examples of how these issues can manifest:
- HDMI won’t work on laptop — in most cases, TV fails to recognize your laptop.
- HDMI audio won’t play — oftentimes, video is available but audio won’t play, as this user reports:
have my desktop PC connected to a Samsung TV using an HDMI cable. Video and sound have been working for months with no issue. Not sure if this is related, at some point I muted my desktop, when I duid unmute after some time, I still had no sound ..
- HDMI image is too big for screen — fortunately, installing the latest graphics driver updates should fix this problem within minutes.
- HDMI video is choppy — this usually happens when a second monitor is connected via HDMI.
The most common problem with HDMI is that audio or video is missing and in most cases that’s caused by driver incompatibility, but there are a few things that you can do to fix this problem.
If there’s no sound, video is missing, or simply your HDMI port is not working on PC, follow the steps listed below to refresh your audio and video drivers.
How can I solve HDMI output problems in Windows 10?
- Check your hardware
- Make sure that your HDMI device is the Default Device
- Rollback to the older driver
- Update your drivers
- Install drivers in compatibility mode
- Set your secondary display
- Run a full system scan
- Repair your registry
- Update your OS
- Clean your temporary files and folders
- Remove recently installed software
- Run System Restore
- Replace your cable
1. Check your hardware
Before diving into complex troubleshooting steps, first check your hardware. Make sure that the HDMI cable is inserted correctly and all the connections are fully functional.
Here are the check to go through:
- Make sure that the HDMI connection didn’t slip out. Unplug and then plug the cable again. To make sure that the cable is well connected to your HDMI port, you can also buy HDMI locks.
- Turn on your HDMI TV or HDMI speaker and only then boot your PC. Then turn off the TV or speaker, unplug the devices altogether, wait for one minute, plug them back in and turn them on again. Now that you refreshed your HDMI connection, follow the steps listed below.
2. Make sure that your HDMI device is the Default Device
First things first, if your HDMI device is not set as the default device, the HDMI output is unavailable. Here’s how you can set the HDMI device as the Default Device:
- Right-click on the volume icon on the task bar.
- Select ‘Playback devices’ > in the newly open Playback tab, simply select Digital Output Device or HDMI.
- Select ‘Set Default’ > click OK. Now, the HDMI sound output is set as default.
Also, make sure that the ‘Show disconnected devices’ option is enabled, so that your PC can display all the devices connected to it.
3. Rollback to the older driver
Open Device Manager and find the driver that is giving you trouble. Usually, it has an exclamation mark next to it. Right click it and select the ‘Roll back driver‘ option.
This will install the previous version of the driver. This feature is available on Windows 7 and can help you to quickly fix this problem, as this user reports:
I fixed this last night by installing the Intel HD Display drivers for Win 8.1. It then allowed me to select “Sony TV” as an audio output option.
On Windows 10, you need to click on Properties, and go to the Driver tab in order find the ‘Roll back’ option. However, it is usually greyed out, as you can see in the screenshot below.
Sometimes, it’s better to use the default driver in order to avoid compatibility issues. To use the default driver, you’ll need to uninstall the current one and the default one will install itself. To uninstall the driver, do this:
- Open Device manager and find the buggy driver.
- Right click it and choose Uninstall.
- Check Delete the driver software for this device and click OK.
- Restart your computer.
4. Update your drivers
Sometimes, all you need to do to fix these issues is to install the latest drivers. Just visit your graphics card or motherboard manufacturer’s website and download the latest drivers from there.
You can also update your video and audio drivers using the Device Manager. Simply right-click the drive that you want to update and select ‘Update driver‘.
If you’re using a laptop, it’s better to download the drivers from the laptop manufacturer instead.
We also have to mention that in certain cases, old drivers can work better, so if the latest drivers aren’t working for you, follow the steps from the previous solution to uninstall them and download older version of the drivers.
If you want the latest GPU drivers, bookmark this page and always stay updated with the latest and greatest.
Users can certainly update device drivers on their PC manually by going to each device manufacturer’s website and searching there or on the web for the right driver to match their device type and model.
However, besides being time consuming, this process carries the risk of getting the wrong driver installed, which may lead to serious malfunctions.
The safer and easier way to update drivers on a Windows computer is by using an automatic tool such as TweakBit Driver Updater. This tool is approved by Microsoft and Norton Antivirus.
After several tests, our team concluded that this is the best automatized solution. Below you can find a quick guide how to do it.
- Download and install TweakBit Driver Updater
- Once installed, the program will start scanning your PC for outdated drivers automatically. Driver Updater will check your installed driver versions against its cloud database of the latest versions and recommend proper updates. All you need to do is wait for the scan to complete.
- Upon scan completion, you get a report on all problem drivers found on your PC. Review the list and see if you want to update each driver individually or all at once. To update one driver at a time, click the ‘Update driver’ link next to the driver name. Or simply click the ‘Update all’ button at the bottom to automatically install all recommended updates.
Note: Some drivers need to be installed in multiple steps so you will have to hit the ‘Update’ button several times until all of its components are installed.
Disclaimer: some functions of this tool are not free.
5. Install drivers in compatibility mode
Windows 10 still has compatibility issues with drivers, so sometimes it’s best that you install them in compatibility mode.
- Right click the driver setup file and choose Properties.
- Then go to Compatibility tab.
- Check Run this program in compatibility mode and choose Windows 7 from the list.
- Click Apply and OK.
- Run the setup file.
On Windows 10, you can also run the dedicated Program Compatibility Troubleshooter.
- Go to Settings > Update > Troubleshoot
- Under ‘Find and fix other problems’, select the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter > run the tool.
If the Troubleshooter stops before completing the process, fix it with the help of this complete guide.
6. Set your secondary display
If you’re using HDMI to connect a second display to your PC, try setting it over in NVIDIA’s Control Panel. If you use an AMD graphics card, use its control Panel instead. The process is the same for both cards.
- Open Nvidia Control Panel.
- Go to Set up multiple displays.
- If your HDMI connected display isn’t showing ,try checking and unchecking the other ones on the list.
This sounds like an obscure solution, but some users reported that it helped them to enable the HDMI display.
7. Run a full system scan
Malware may cause various issues on your computer, including HDMI connection issues. Perform a full system scan in order to detect any malware running on your computer.
You can use Windows’ built-in antivirus, Windows Defender, or third-party antivirus solutions. Here’s how to run a full system scan on Windows 10 Creators Update:
8. Repair your registry
You can also use Microsoft’s System File Checker to check for system file corruption. The utility verifies the integrity of all protected system files and repairs files with problems when possible. Here’s how to run an SFC scan:
1. Go to Start > type cmd > right-click Command Prompt > select Run as Administrator
2. Now type the sfc /scannow command
3. Wait for the scanning process to complete and then restart your computer. All corrupted files will be replaced on reboot. Once the process completes, check if your HDMI connection is available.
9. Update your OS
Make sure that you’re running the latest Windows OS updates on your machine. As a quick reminder, Microsoft constantly rolls out Windows updates in order to improve the system’s stability and fix various issues.
To access the Windows Update section, you can simply type “update” in the search box. This method works on all Windows versions. Then go to Windows Update, check for updates and install the available updates.
10. Clean your temporary files and folders
The simplest and quickest manner to delete your temporary files and folders is to use Disk Cleanup. As you use your computer or browse the Internet, your PC accumulates various unnecessary files.
These so called junk files may affect your computer’s processing speed, causing apps to respond slowly and may also trigger HDMI audio and video issues.
Here’s how to use Disk Cleanup on Windows 10:
1. Go to Start > type Disk Cleanup > launch the tool
2. Select the disk that you want to clean > the tool will them tell you how much space you can free up
3. Select “Clean up system files”.
Here’s how to use Disk Cleanup on Windows 7:
- Go to Start > type Disk Cleanup > open Disk Cleanup.
- In Disk Cleanup‘s description section, select Clean up system files and select the drive that you want to clean up > click OK.
- On the Disk Cleanup tab, select the check boxes for the file types that you want to delete > click OK > select Delete files.
11. Remove recently installed software
If you recently installed new software on your computer, try uninstalling it. Sometimes, newly installed software may trigger compatibility issues and various connection problems, including HDMI issues.
Go to Start > type Control Panel > select the program(s) recently added > click Uninstall.
Then restart your computer, and see if the issue has been solved.
12. Run System Restore
If the problem started recently, run System Restore. If this issue occurred after you installed new software on your computer, this tool helps you remove recently added apps and programs.
The System Restore option allows you to restore the previous well-performing system configuration without losing any files, except for a few customizable features and settings.
If System Restore is enabled, follow the instructions listed below (Windows 7 and 8.1):
- Go to Search > type system properties > open System Properties.
- Go to System Protection > click on System Restore.
- Click Next > choose the preferred restore point in the new window.
- Once you’ve select your preferred restore point, click Next > click Finish.
- Your PC will restart and the restoring process will start.
After the procedure has been completed, try to see if the problem still persists.
Windows 10 offers a series of advanced recovery option that allows users to clean install the OS. If you’re a Windows 10 user, you can also use ‘Reset this PC’ recovery option.
If you’re interested in more info on how to create a restore point and how would that help you, take a look at this simple article to find out everything you need to know.
13. Replace your cable
Also, there might be situations when your problem is hardware-related. In this case, we recommend you have a look at some of these highly-rated products that you could buy to make sure HDMI output works great on your Windows 10 devices:
- HDMI Powered Splitter for Full HD 1080P & 3D Support (One Input To Two Outputs)
- Tendak HD 1080P VGA to HDMI Output TV AV HDTV Video Cable Converter Plug and Play Adapter with Audio Input for Laptop Desktop
- VGA to HDMI Output, Costech HD 1080p TV AV HDTV Video Cable Converter Adapter Plug and Play with Audio for HDTVs, monitors, displayers,Laptop Desktop Computer
That would be all, we hope these solutions helped you to fix your HDMI output problems. As always, if you came across other solutions to fix HDMI issues on PC, you can help the Windows community by listing the troubleshooting steps in the comments below.
Also, if you have any comments, questions or suggestions, use the same comment section to contact us. Don’t forget to tell us which solution worked for you.
If you have any other PC-related issues, you can check for the solution in our Windows 10 Fix section.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.