Sound lost on Windows 10

So, a couple months ago I bought a used computer to replace the old XP box I have. It arrived and I out it aside to work on later, which turned out to be early this week. When I plugged it in, the Borg, erm, Microsoft immediately upgraded it from 7 Pro to 10 Pro, no way to opt out. I thought fine, better on a blank box than risk losing data or have other compatibility issues.

When it was finished, it worked fine with Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and a couple programs I installed except for the sound. There are two on-board jacks for sound, one in the back for “speakers” and one on the front for “headphones.” The only volume slider that showed up was for the front jack. Naturally, plugging the speakers into the front jack worked okay so I thought, eh, I’ll worry about it when the video card arrives.

Yesterday it arrived, a Gigabyte GeForce 710 with 2 gigs. Today I installed it and except for having to pick up the Win 10 driver on the website (the disk had only up to 8) everything went smoothly so far as the video was concerned but the speaker icon on the taskbar blossomed with a big red X and No Device Found.

Okay, maybe the video card is also looking like a sound card because one of its outputs is HDMI but I’m using good ol’ VGA for my monitor. Sure, enough, when I check in the Device Manager, High Definition Audio Device has been replaced by two drivers, NVDIA High Definition Audio and NVDIA Virtual Audio Device. Figuring the latter was the issue, I deleted it, but no joy. The Microsoft site, and a couple others outside MS, suggested updating the driver, uninstalling the driver then rebooting to let Windows reinstall, then finally. updating manually picking the generic High Definition Audio Device. None of them worked and when I figured maybe a reboot was necessary, the driver had reverted back to NVDIA High Definition Audio.

That’s all the advice these so-called wizards had to offer, so now I’m stumped. Anything else to try?

Windows just completed an update (It was doing it while I was composing the above) and the two NVDIA drivers are back. Properties under both of them mention HDMI.

Win 10 might have set the default playback to NVIDEA’s HDMI output. If you right-click on the speaker icon in the taskbar (bottom right of the screen) and select Playback Devices you’ll get a list of the various audio outputs in the Playback tab of the pop-up window. Select the one that looks most likely to be your speakers and click Apply. You might need to close and re-open whatever program you’re using to play the audio.

The only ones available in the playback window are the two NVIDIA devices, and as expected, they specify the HDMI port. There are no speakers to click to to set as the default.

Sometimes there are multiple volume controls; the one for your sound card, the one on the software and one on the actual speakers. Have you checked them all?

Looks like Win 10 might not be recognising your sound card then. This is not unusual for a pre-10 PC, and the cure is a new sound card that’s 10 compatible. Before you splash out on new hardware you could do a scan to see if Windows can find your existing card. Go to:

Start Button->Settings->Devices->Device Manager*->Audio Inputs and Outputs

*Hidden at the bottom of the screen beneath Related Settings.

Right-click on Audio Inputs and Outputs and select Scan for Hardware Changes. If this draws a blank then it’s time for a new sound card. You could try to identify your existing sound card and manually install a driver, but the likelihood of this working well is slim.

There are so many ways to lose the audio in Windows! My old PC had the CD sound slider deliberately disabled as it would emit periodic clicks over the other audio channels. Windows finally killed this PC as it dated from the Vista era (though I upgraded to XP) and much of the hardware had no drivers available for Wins 7, 8 or 10.

There was no sound card until the video card added one so it could drive the HDMI port. The earphone port mentioned in the OP was put there by the manufacturer (Dell) as was the speaker port which never did work. Now, after the HDMI driver was installed, Win 10 is apparently not recognizing the on-board sound ports is what I/'m guessing, even when the generic sound driver is installed and selected. I have scanned for those ports more than once.

In that case the audio chipset is incorporated into the Dell motherboard. If you go to the Dell website ( and click on the Detect Product button then you should get a list of supported operating systems and available drivers. If that doesn’t work then enter your Service Tag, which can be found on a sticker on the case.

Dell generally don’t invest time and effort into making their old machines compatible with new operating systems so I think your best bet would be to buy a Win 10 compatible sound card, assuming you’ve got a free PCI-E slot on your motherboard. Basic sound cards are pretty cheap.

There’s no real reason a properly designed Windows 7 or 8 sound card driver shouldn’t work in Windows 10. What I wonder is if it got turned off at the hardware level when you added the cards with HDMI sound output. If so you might be able to turn it bado on in the BIOS.

Since one Jack already wasn’t working, I also wonder if the hardware just gave out.

PCI-e isn’t the only option if he doesn’t–he could also go USB. And then he could actually use the hdmi audio.

Dell didn’t recognize the service tag which, since the date stamped in the box is 2009, is not surprising. Amazon has a gizmo for less than $6 that has a USB on one end and a mic and speaker jack on the other. That’s half of the cheapest sound card and for that much, it’s not worth pursuing any more.

Thanks for all of your inputs.