Here’s what I do when Windows can’t find audio devices

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6 quick solutions to fix audio output device issues

  1. No Audio Output Device is Installed
  2. Open the Playing Audio Troubleshooter
  3. Re-enable the Sound Adapter
  4. Reinstall the Sound Card’s Driver
  5. Check the Windows Audio Services are Enabled
  6. Roll Back Windows
  7. Factory Reset Windows

The “No audio output device is installed” error is one that arises when Windows can’t find the audio device. That error message appears as a notification just above the system tray when users hover the cursor over the sound icon.

Consequently, no sound plays when Windows can’t find audio device hardware. The issue often arises after system upgrades. There are, however, a few potential resolutions for the “No audio output device is installed” error.

FIXED: No Audio Output Device is Installed

1. Open the Playing Audio Troubleshooter

  • First, try fixing the “No audio output device” error with the Playing Audio troubleshooter. To open that troubleshooter in Windows 10, press the Windows key + Q hotkey.
  • Next, enter the keyword ‘troubleshoot’ in Cortana’s search box.
  • Click Troubleshoot to open the Settings app.

  • Select Playing Audio and click Run the troubleshooter.

  • Then the troubleshooter’s window will open and might provide some resolutions for the “No audio output” error. Go through the troubleshooter’s suggested fixes.

2. Re-enable the Sound Adapter

  • Resetting the sound adapter is a straightforward resolution that some users have confirmed fixes the “No audio output device” error. To do that, press the Windows key + X hotkey.
  • Click Device Manager to open the window in the shot directly below.

  • Double-click Sound, video and game controllers to expand that category.

  • Then right-click the audio adapter listed there and select Disable device.
  • To re-enable it, right-click the audio adapter and select Enable device.

— RELATED: Fix: ‘Device in use’ error causes no sound in Windows 10

3. Reinstall the Sound Card’s Driver

The “No audio output device” error can be due to a corrupted or incompatible sound card driver. So, reinstalling the sound card’s driver might fix the issue for some users.

Follow the guidelines below to reinstall the audio card driver.

  • Click Device Manager on the Win + X menu to open that window. Alternatively, users can open Device Manager by pressing the Windows key + R hotkey and entering devmgmt.msc in Run.
  • Double-click Sound, video and game controllers to expand the audio device category.
  • Right-click the audio adapter and select Uninstall.
  • Select the Delete the driver software for this device option on the dialog box that opens.

  • Press the Uninstall button.
  • Users can reinstall the sound adapter driver by clicking Action and selecting Scan for hardware changes.

Alternatively, users can replace corrupted audio adapter drivers with the freeware Driver Booster 6. To do so, click Free Download on the software’s website to save the setup wizard. Then install Driver Booster 6 with the setup wizard, and open the software’s window. Driver Booster 6 will automatically scan for and detect a corrupted or antiquated sound card driver. Press the Update Now button if Driver Booster 6’s scan lists an audio adapter device.

4. Check the Windows Audio Services are Enabled

Windows Audio and Windows Audio Endpoint Builder are two services that need to be enabled for audio devices. So, it might be the case that one, or both, of those services are disabled.

This is how users can enable those services in Windows 10:

  • Launch the Run accessory by pressing the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut.
  • Input ‘services.msc’ and click OK to open the window shown directly below.

  • Double-click Windows Audio to open the window in the snapshot below.

  • Select Automatic on the Startup type drop-down menu if the service is disabled.
  • Press the Start button.
  • Press the Apply button.
  • Click OK to close the window.
  • Then double-click Windows Endpoint Audio Builder to open the properties window for it.

  • Select the Automatic startup type option, and press the Start button.
  • Remember to click Apply, and press the OK button.

— RELATED: The 5 best sound cards for Windows 10

5. Roll Back Windows

Rolling Windows back to a restore point could fix the “No audio output device” error for users who can select to restore the platform to a time when there wasn’t any audio issues. The System Restore utility will undo system changes after a selected restore point. This is how users can roll back Windows with System Restore.

  • Open the Run accessory.
  • Input ‘rstrui’ in Run and click the OK button to open System Restore.

  • Press the Next button to open the list of restore points.
  • Users need to select Show more restore points to get a full list.
  • Select a restore point date that will revert Windows back to a time before the “No audio output device” error arose on the desktop or laptop.

  • Press the Next button.
  • Then users can provide confirmation for the restore point by pressing the Finish button.

6. Factory Reset Windows

A factory reset enables users to reinstall Windows 10 and retain files. The Reset this PC option will restore Windows 10 to its default configuration, which often fixes many issues. So, that might be a good final resolution for fixing the “No audio output” error. Users can factory reset Windows 10 as follows.

  • Open the Cortana app by pressing the Windows key + Q hotkey.
  • Enter ‘reset’ in the search box and select Reset this PC.

  • Press the Get started button.
  • Select the Keep my Files option.

  • Press the Reset button to confirm.

Those are some resolutions that will probably fix the “No audio output” error when Windows can’t find audio device hardware. If the resolutions above don’t restore audio, some users might need replacement sound cards.

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