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HP Notebook PCs - Resolving Sound Problems with External Speakers and Headsets

This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows Vista.

No sound after changing from XP to Vista or Vista to XP

The drivers for recording and playing sounds are designed for specific operating systems.

When the operating system on an HP-certified, Vista-capable computer is changed from XP to Vista, it is necessary to locate and install the current drivers for the Vista operating system.

NOTE: Not all HP notebook models are designed to operate with different operating systems. HP does not support the upgrading of older models. HP does not provide Vista drivers for older computers that are not certified by HP as Vista-capable.

See the HP Notebook PCs - List of HP Certified Vista Capable Notebook PCs support document to determine if your notebook computer can be upgraded.

When the operating system is downgraded from Vista to XP, the universal audio architecture (UAA) sound drivers must be installed. After installing UAA sound drivers, an updated driver for the component must be installed. HP nor Windows Update support UAA drivers.

NOTE: HP does not support the downgrading of HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario computers from Windows Vista to Windows XP.

See the HP Notebook PCs - Issues with Downgrading HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario PCs to Windows XP and Restoring Windows Vista support document for more detailed information.

Select one of the options below to locate the available audio drivers if you already changed the operating system and you are experiencing sound problems.

  • Go to the HP Drivers and Downloads page and search for updated drivers for your model. Be sure to select the correct operating system.

  • If the computer is upgraded to Vista, use HP Update to scan for updated drivers. To use HP Update, click Start , All Programs , HP , HP Update , and then follow the on-screen instructions.

  • If HP has not released specific audio drivers for your operating system, use the Microsoft Windows Update utility, or search the Microsoft web site for generic drivers for Vista. To use Windows Update, click Start , type update into the search field, select Windows Update from the list when it becomes available, click Check for updates , and then install any available updates.

Begin by determining the actual sound problem

This document addresses sound problems with external speakers or headsets when there is sound from the built-in speakers. If there is no sound from the built-in speakers or if there is an error message, select a symptom from the list below that best describes the problem. The link that you select takes you to a section within this document or to another HP support document.

NOTE: Before troubleshooting sound problems with external speakers or headsets, disconnect all external speakers and headsets, and then perform a simple test of the Windows sound system to be sure that sound is audible from the built-in speakers.


Resolving the most common low volume problem: unpowered speakers

It is important to know the type of speakers that are compatible with your computer. Most computers that were manufactured after the year 2000 require powered speakers. When using non-powered speakers with a line-out connector on the computer, the volume is much lower/softer than usual.

Powered speakers use a power adapter or batteries to amplify the volume. They can connect into a line-out connector on the computer.

Figure 1: Example of powered speakers (your speakers may look slightly different)


Checking the headset and the external speaker connections

When using external speakers or headphones, verify that the sound cables are properly connected from the speaker to the computer. Cable connectors and plug assignments are normally color-coded to aid with connections.

To check the headset and the external speaker connections, follow the steps below.

  1. Disconnect the speaker cable from the computer.

  2. Insert the headphone jack directly into the “speaker out” connector on the computer. The connector is marked with either a speaker icon or a headphone icon.

  3. To test the sound on the computer, follow the steps below.

    NOTE: The steps below assume you are not in the Classic View of the Control Panel.
    1. Click Start , Control Panel , and then Hardware and Sound .

    2. Click Change system sounds under Sound to open the Sound window.

    3. From the Sounds tab, select any option under Program that has the sound icon next to it, such as Asterisk , click Test , and then OK .

  4. Determine if sound is audible through the headphones.

    • If sound is audible through the headphones, the sound hardware on the computer is working and the issue is most likely related to the speakers or the speaker cables. Go to step 5 .

    • If sound is not audible through the headphones, go to step 6 .

  5. Disconnect the headphones, reconnect the speakers, and then test for sound again. If sound is still not audible, replace the speaker cable or perform the test again with different speakers.

  6. Be sure that you connect the headphones into the correct connector and try again. If sound is still not audible, continue to another test in this document.


Checking speaker configuration

If the speakers are properly connected, or if sound is not audible through the built-in speakers, verify that the proper sound and device drivers are installed and configured by following the steps below.

  1. Click Start , Control Panel , and then Hardware and Sound .

  2. Click Manage audio devices under Sound to open the Sound window.

    Figure 2: Sound window with speakers selected

  3. From the Playback tab on the Sound window, click the Speakers icon to enable the Configure button, and then click Configure to open the Speaker Setup window.

    NOTE: If you are using an HDMI video connection with an HDMI monitor that has speakers, the HDMI cable is only capable of sending audio to the monitor speakers when HDMI audio is selected as the default device from the Playback tab. Instead of selecting Speakers as the default device from the Playback tab, select Realtek HDMI Audio , and then click the Set Default button.

    Figure 3: Speaker Setup window for stereo

  4. Select the option that represents your speaker setup from the Audio channels field, and then click Test .

  5. If sound is audible from each speaker, or if the configuration type was changed, click Next to continue with the speaker setup, and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the speaker setup.

  6. If sound:

    • is audible from each speaker - you are finished.

    • problems persist - check the headset and the external speaker connections to continue troubleshooting sound problems.


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