Audio Troubleshooting Guide

for Windows


Quick fixes

     Before logging into the computer, plug-in any headset or device that will be used for creating the audio recording. Plugging equipment before logging on solves most issues as the computer automatically recognizes what is already connected.  If the equipment was plugged in before logging on and sound is neither coming out of the headset nor recording from mic, please follow the steps outline below:

Check overall volume settings

  1. Double-click the speaker icon in the System Tray (bottom right near the time display)


  1. Ensure the Speakers/Microphone or the desired program has the volume turned up

Troubleshooting Playback or Recording

  1. Right-click the speaker icon in the System Tray (bottom right near time display)


  1. Any of the three options shown above will open the same Sound pop-up window


  1. If the speakers are working properly, the green lines at the right will rise and fall as sound is played. Both the sound and the green lines will occur simultaneously.


  1. If a recording device is working, the lines at the right will rise and fall as sound is recorded. Both the audio and the green lines will appear simultaneously if the device is working properly.


  1. If the device is not displaying (wireless head-seat, mic, etc.)
  1. Right-click on a blank area inside the Sound pop-up window. Select Show Disabled Devices if it is unchecked. More devices will then appear if any were missing
  2. Once all devices are visible, right-click any greyed-out device and select Enable from the menu

Which device should I choose?



Adjust recording/playback device

To open the Properties window

  1. Enable the device (see above)                
  2. Select the device from the list shown in the Sound pop-up window and then click the Properties button
  3. If changes are made within the Properties window, click the Apply button before changing tabs. When done with the Properties window, click the OK button

  1. On the General tab, be sure that under usage it says Use this device (enable) 

Adjust Levels

Each device should have its Levels turned up to the max. Select the Levels tab from the Properties window as shown.

Playback devices may have several Level sliders. If the volume is unmuted and turned all the way up (see Page 1), then all these Level sliders should already be at the maximum setting.

Test (playback device only)

Click the Advanced tab in the Properties window. Then click the Test button for a chime that plays from the left speaker to right speaker.

The Test can also be run from the list of playback devices in the main Sound pop-up window. Right-click the device and select Test from the menu.

Set default device


  1. Select the functioning device that was tested above


  1. Then click the Set Default button below


  1. Or right-click the device and select Set as Default from the menu


  1. A green check will appear next to the playback or recording device


Now every program should use the device indicated for recording or playback

NOTE: If the desired playback device (headset as in the example above) is already selected as the default device and audio is not playing back, restart your browser. In order for the browser to recognize the updated settings, it must be restarted.

Last updated: 30 March 2011 CMA