Default Sound Device - Default Communications Device

Whee! Big computer crash, lost everything. (Heh! I had my data backed up!)

Bought a new system, (Windows 7) and spent a week re-installing old programs and applications.

At one point, the sound stopped working. Some installation wizard or other had reassigned my “Default Sound Device.” Also my “Default Communication Device.”

When I changed the Default Sound Device to the correct device, my sound came back. I can play music again. Yay.

What is the “Default Communication Device?” I set it to be the same as the Default Sound Device, but I can’t tell any difference. What does it relate to, and should it be the same as the Sound Device, or different, or does it matter?

On edit…

I see that you solved your sound problem, but unless you’re having a problem with the audio, (you say you can play music! Yay) or modem, I’d leave it be.

I’ve build/repair/maintain computers as a hobby and I’ve run into this particular situation before. I’ve found the"Default Communications Device" usually refers to a modem of some sort, but in your case it may be referring to a modem/sound card.

With a new system you should have a printout of the installed hardware. It should be fairly easy to determine using said printout what modem/sound card your system uses, and download the necessary drivers.

Barring that, you could use a program like SiSoftSandra or CPU-Z to find out the hardware on your system and get drivers for them.

Good luck!


I was going to guess ‘Modem’ or possibly internet connection.

And at first I was thinking this was about the actual sounds Windows uses to communicate various things, and the thought passed through my head that it’d be cool if the typical ‘modem’ sound was used for Windows errors. :smiley: Of course, I’m one of the three people on Earth who actually LIKES that sound.

And no, neither of the other two are it’s creator, as he was looking for a sound so annoying that his wife would stop bugging him about spending so much time on the computer. :wink:

Grin! I may be one of the other two! Scratch…boooooo…booooo…bing-bong, bing-bong… Those were happy days!

So far, everything seems to be working, so I’ll write down what the configuration is, and refrain from changing it.

(Remember that old flow-chart? “Is it working? Yes > Don’t F*** With It!”)

Thanks, both-a-ya!

I too have wondered about the “Default communications device”.

My Windows 7 laptop has no modem, and, according to Control Panel, by default (at least, I didn’t do it) “Default communications device” is assigned to “Headphones (RTC)”,* and “Default device” is assigned to the “Speakers/HP.”* Most of the time, however, I keep some external speakers plugged in to the headphone socket, and my sound plays through there. If I unplug these, it plays through the built in laptop speakers. If, as I sometimes do, I reassign “Default device” to my TV (which is connected to the computer via HDMI), the sound plays through the TV’s speakers, even though the external speakers remain plugged in to the headphone socket. So what is the difference between the laptop’s speakers and its headphone output? They appear to be using the same channel.

Well, except for one circumstance. If I have audio playing over my external speakers (via the headphone socket) and one of my Skype contacts comes online, or sends me a text message via Skype, the sound output switches momentarily from the external speakers to the laptop’s built in speakers, as Skype alerts me to the message. (When I actually make a call via Skype, however, it plays the sound through the external speakers plugged into the headphone socket as normal, or, if they are not plugged in, through the built in speakers as normal).

Is this because I have “Headphones” set to act as “Default communications device”, so Skype is somehow using them to alert me of events? This does not make much sense, however, because it is the headphone socket that is providing the output to the external speakers, so it seems like it is the internal speakers and not the headphone output that is acting differently when Skype is trying to communicate with me.:confused:

Does this make any sense to anyone? Should I have the same device (either speakers or headphones) assigned to be both “Default device” and “Default communications device”? Does it matter at all?

Sorry if this is all totally confusing, but I am confused and I would like to understand what is going on. It is not really a problem; I’m just curious and I like to understand my machine as far as possible.


*I have no idea what RTC means. Presumably the HP is a reference to the fact that this is an HT laptop.

Exactly my questions…backed up with better information.

My good news is that everything seems to work…but I do a lot less than you do. I don’t Skype, for instance.

What most dismayed me is that some pesky installation wizard thought it would be “helpful” to change these defaults.

What did they change it to? There shouldn’t be any other device on your system, unless you plugged in some USB headphones or something.

Awww…look what I found!!


I swear my brain has a whole sensory experience connected to that sound, including a smell…which I can’t define, but I’d describe it as whatever the black screen with green lettering BBS’s used to universally use would smell like. :stuck_out_tongue: