Jump to content

Troubleshooting Sound Problems with External Speakers and Headsets in Windows 7

  • PrintPrint
This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows 7.
Sometimes when a computer is changed from Vista to Windows 7, external speakers and headsets will not work. This happens because drivers are specific to an operating system and will not transfer to the new operating system. However, it is also important to have external speakers and headsets that are compatible with your computer, install the latest sound driver updates, and to have the hardware connected and configured correctly.
NOTE:Not all HP notebook models are designed to operate with different operating systems. HP does not support the upgrading of older models and does not provide Windows 7 drivers for older computers that are not certified by HP as Windows 7-capable.

Perform a Windows sound system test

Before troubleshooting sound problems with external speakers or headsets, perform a Windows sound system test to verify that the built-in speakers are working. To do this, follow the steps below.
  1. Disconnect all external speakers and headsets.
  2. Click Start, Control Panel, Hardware and Sound,Sound, Speakers and Headphones, and then click Configure.
  3. Click Test to test that sound is audible from the built-in speakers.
    Figure 1: Speaker Setup window for stereo
  4. If you hear sound from both built-in speakers, continue troubleshooting your external speakers or headset.
    If you do not hear sound from both speakers, contact HP for further support.

Use compatible speakers

Most computers that were manufactured after the year 2000 require powered speakers. Powered speakers use a power adapter or batteries to amplify the volume. They can connect into a line-out connector on the computer.
When you use non-powered speakers with a line-out connector on the computer, the volume is much lower/softer than usual.
Figure 2: Example of powered speakers (your speakers may look slightly different)

Install the latest driver updates

Most compatibility issues can be resolved by installing the latest updates for your drivers. Select one of the following options to install the latest updates for your audio drivers:
  • Go to the HP Drivers and Downloads page and search for updated drivers for your model. Be sure to select your operating system.
  • If the computer is upgraded to Windows 7, use HP Support Assistant to scan for updated drivers. To use HP Support Assistant, click Start, All Programs, HP, HP Support Assistant, 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 Windows 7. 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.

Connect the external speakers and headset correctly

When using external speakers or headsets, verify that the sound cables are properly connected from the computer to the speaker. 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. Connect the headphones into the correct connector and try again. If sound is still not audible, continue to another configuration test in this document.

Configure external speakers and headset correctly

If the speakers are properly connected and sound is not audible through the built-in speakers, verify that the device is 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 3: Sound window with speakers and headphones selected
  3. From the Playback tab on the Sound window, click the Speakers and Headphones 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.
  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.
If problems persist, test with a different headset or set of external speakers to verify that there is not a product defect.

HP Support forums

Find solutions and collaborate with others on the HP Support Forum
HP.comHP on FacebookHP on TwitterHP on YouTubeHP on Linked InHP on FlickrHP on Google+