How to fix / reset audio settings on Windows 11

Windows 11 is the latest client operating system from Microsoft. You may have updated your Windows Operating system from Windows 10 to Windows 11 or its just a bad day when audio suddenly stopped working.

In this blog post, we will see how to troubleshoot audio on your windows 11 device and how you can reset sound device and volume for all apps to default. We will check most basic audio settings and proceed towards more complex one’s which require more time in troubleshooting.

1. Check Speaker Icon in System Tray

Check Sound / Audio Icon in system tray to make sure that its not showing a cross next to it. If it is showing cross next to the sound icon, Click on it to enable sound. This should fix the most common issue where the sound is disabled / Muted and you just need to enable it to work.

Windows 11 Sound Icon in System tray
Windows 11 Sound Icon in System tray

Click on Arrow next to Volume bar and check the number of devices listed. click on the Device which you want to use as a audio output. For example, Currently I am using my Headphone Earphone Jabra Link 370. Its showing a blue line next to it to show that this device is currently selected as primary audio device. If you want to switch to another audio device, then you can click on any other device from the list of connected audio devices.

To change the audio output from Headset Earphone (Jabra Link 370) to Laptop Speaker, I can click on Speakers / Headphones (Conexant SmartAudio HD).

Windows 11 Sound Icon in System tray -> List of Audio Devices
Windows 11 Sound Icon in System tray -> List of Audio Devices

2. Run Audio Troubleshooter

If the previous step does not resolve your issue, then you can run Audio Troubleshooter. There are many ways to launch Audio troubleshooter on your Windows 11 device.

  1. You can launch Audio Troubleshooter from Settings -> System -> Troubleshoot -> Other trouble-shooters -> Playing Audio.
Run Audio Troubleshooter Windows 11
Settings -> System -> Troubleshoot -> other trouble-shooters -> Playing Audio
  1. You can also launch Audio troubleshooter by right-clicking on the Sound Icon in System tray and click on Troubleshoot sound problems.
Troubleshoot sound problems Windows 11
Troubleshoot sound problems Windows 11
  1. You can also search for Audio troubleshooter from your Start Menu and click on “Find and fix problems with playing sound” to launch Audio troubleshooter.
Audio Troubleshooter from Start Menu in Windows 11
Audio Troubleshooter from Start Menu in Windows 11
  1. On the screen which says “Which of these devices do you want to troubleshoot?“. Select the Audio device and click on Next.
Audio Troubleshooter in Windows 11
Audio Troubleshooter in Windows 11
  1. On “Turn off Sound Effects and Enhancements” page. Select Yes, open audio enhancements.
Audio Troubleshooter in Windows 11
Audio Troubleshooter in Windows 11
  1. Check the box next to Disable all sound effects and click on OK button.
Speaker Headphone Properties "Disable all sound effects"
Speaker Headphone Properties “Disable all sound effects”
  1. Click on Play test sounds. This will choose the best audio driver installed on your device to play the sound. If you do not hear any sound still then you can proceed with the next section which provides further troubleshooting guidance.
Play Test sound Windows 11
Play Test sound Windows 11
  1. After clicking on Play test sounds, It will try to Resolve the issues automatically.
Resolving audio related issues on Windows 11 by Audio Troubleshooter
Resolving audio related issues on Windows 11 by Audio Troubleshooter

3. Reset sound devices and volume for all apps to Default

If the previous step does not resolve audio issues, then you can try to reset all audio settings on windows 11 device using “Reset sound devices and volumes for all apps to the recommended defaults” setting.

How to reset all audio settings on Windows 11

  1. Go to Settings App -> Systems -> Sound
  2. Click on Volume Mixer under Advanced options.
  3. Under Apps, Find “Reset sound devices and volumes for all apps to the recommended defaults
  4. Click on Reset
  5. Restart your Device.
  6. Test Audio.
Reset sound devices and volume for all apps to Default
Reset sound devices and volume for all apps to Default

4. Update Audio Drivers for the device

If Previous step does not resolve Audio related issues, then you can update audio drivers on your Windows device. You can update Audio drivers using Device manager which is a native windows tool installed on all windows devices.

There are various ways to open Device Manager on a Windows device.

  1. Open Device Manager by going to Start -> Run -> In the Run box Type devmgmt.msc and press enter.
  2. Click on Start / Windows Icon and Search for Device Manager.
  3. Click on Start -> Run and In the Run box type compmgmt.msc to open computer management window which contains Device Manager as well.
Windows 11 Device Manager using devmgmt.msc
Windows 11 Device Manager using devmgmt.msc
  1. From Device Manager page, find Sound, video and game controllers. Right click on the audio device having issues. I have right-clicked on Conexant SmartAudio HD which is an Audio device installed on my laptop. This is my laptops built in Audio device. Right click on it and choose Update driver to update the audio drivers of this device.

If you have headphones attached to the device for example in my case, its Jabra Link 370 and the headphones are not working. You will then have to right click on Jabra Link 370 and click on Update driver.

Update Audio Drivers on Windows 11 using Device Manager
Update Audio Drivers on Windows 11 using Device Manager
  1. On How do you want to search for driver ? select “Search automatically for drivers”. If you have downloaded your device drivers manually or have it in a USB drive then you can select the other option “Browse my computer for drivers” and browse to select the driver file in your USB.
Search Automatically for Drivers to update from Device Manager
Search Automatically for Drivers to update from Device Manager
  1. System has searched for the drivers and found that best drivers are already installed. You can click on Search for updated drivers on Windows Update to find the drivers using Windows update service. If Windows Update does not find the updated drivers for your device, you need to visit the Audio device company’s website and download the latest device drivers and update manually.
Search for updated drivers on Windows Update
Search for updated drivers on Windows Update

5. Uninstall Audio Driver for the problematic audio device

If the previous step does not resolve the audio issues on your windows device, then you can Uninstall Audio device and restart your system. This will Install a fresh copy of Audio driver automatically.

  1. From Device Manager page, find Sound, video and game controllers. Right click on the audio device having issues and click on Uninstall device.
Uninstall Audio device from Device Manager on Windows 11
Uninstall Audio device from Device Manager on Windows 11
  1. Select “Attempt to remove the driver for this device”. This option will remove the device and associated driver from the windows OS. Click on Uninstall to begin the uninstallation process.
Uninstall Audio device and Driver from Windows 11
Uninstall Audio device + Driver from Windows 11
  1. Restart your Laptop or Desktop once. You will notice that the driver will be installed automatically by system using Operating system files. If it is a third party audio device then device drivers may have to be downloaded from Vendors website and installed manually using Device Manager -> Sound, video and game controllers -> Right click on the Device -> Select Update Driver and select Browse my computer for drivers to provide the driver file.

Conclusion

In this blog post, we have seen how to fix Audio related issues on Windows 11 device. There are several options available, some are easy and some are complex. Please make sure to restart the device after uninstallation of audio drivers to get the fresh copy of drivers installed by your Operating system automatically. If you are using third party device / speaker / Headphone attached to your laptop, you can download your device audio drivers manually from vendor’s website and install it yourself.

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