Lost sound on computer; how do I get it back?

I had to replace my modem yesterday, and now I can’t get sound on my computer and can’t seem to restore it either. Yes, everything’s plugged in correctly, I’ve downloaded something, I tried to use the whole “Device Manager” thing, and nothing seems to work.

Any suggestions?

need to know the operating system and version in order to provide answers.

“Device Manager” implies Windows, if they were really replacing an internal modem I’d guess Windows 98 or XP.

When you try to play a song or video do you get an error message, or just no sound?

Does the computer have a sound card and did you move it to another slot while messing with the modem?

If you’re not getting an error message play a song on the computer and while the song is playing do some testing. Are the speakers still plugged in to the same port on the computer that they were before? It should usually be a green port. Is the audio wire still going from the computer to the speakers, and are the speakers turned on?

Click your Volume control in the lower right corner next to the clock. Make sure it isn’t muted and is turned up.

No error message; just no sound. Everything’s plugged in correctly, and FTR, I can’t find any volume control next to my clock.

I have Windows XP.

Ok, just as an intermediary step:
See if you can get the sound icon back by right clicking on the task bar, selecting “Properties” and then “Customize Notifications.”

This should give you a dialog where you can (scroll to) see “Volume” and select “Always show” from the dropdown next to it.

If you look at the settings for “Sounds and Audio Devices” in Control Panel are things right there? (Device volume up, speakers on, not muted, correct device selected

Go to Start/Settings/Control Panel/Sounds and Audio Devices. “Place volume icon in the taskbar” should be checked, and “Mute” should not.

Have you tried rebooting?

None of these things have worked. Do I need to buy a separate sound card? Never did before.


Did you have to open the case to replace your modem?

I have a desktop PC, not a laptop.

So you did open the case? It might be that you’ve just unseated something - have a look back inside, making sure to touch the case if you are prodding around, and have a look at the bit where you plug your speakers/headphones in. Make sure everything connected to that is still plugged in securely. *

If every connection seems fine, and after following all the steps in the thread, the sound still doesn’t work, then you might have to get a sound card**. Internal ones can be had super cheap, but if you have a spare USB connection you can get external ones that will plug in there for not very much either.

  • forgive me if this seems patronising, it’s hard to offer advice in this way

** just anecdotal, but the only internal component I’ve ever fucked up by meddling in the interior is the onboard sound.

That’s OK. Sound was always included before. I’ll go look for one when the weather gets a bit better (we’re supposed to have -30 windchills here tomorrow).

If your PC is a name brand (Dell, HP, Gateway etc.) then find its exact model and do a search on the manufacturer’s website for the current audio driver. Sometimes the drivers get screwed up on XP when you change other hardware and need to be re-installed…

I have Vista, and Realtek. If I umplug my speakers, I have to reboot after plugging them back in again.

It is a nightmare to switch back and forth from DVD audio to general audio, such as YouTube. I have resolved to leave well enough alone and never ever ever play a DVD again, and leave it on the audio that lets me listen online.

I have the following note for myself, which I wrote down after hours of trial and error funblimg, in case I ever fall into that black hole again. I’m afraid to try it, but it might work for you:

Right click Orange speaker icon on task bar. Click

[Sound manager]

[Default format]

Hover on box to right of default bar to [Restore default]


[Audio manager]

[Set default device]

Go to youtube or Netflix or any place like that and make sure the volume is up on those sites.

Does the device manager show that you have an audio device? If not, it’s possible that it got turned off in the BIOS somehow. If that’s the case, you should be able to turn it back on by going into setup mode on reboot.

How do I reboot my computer? I can’t figure out how to do it myself, because all the instructions I’ve found pretty much require a computer science degree.


Modem? Are we back in 1998?

The old computer still works; why replace it?

Boot it once, then boot it again.