How to Fix the ‘no audio output device is installed’ Error in Windows 10

You’re all set to play the latest remix you just downloaded, but when you click play, Windows 10 gives you the dreaded “No audio output device is installed” error. You try installing the drivers, but you’re not sure you have the right ones, you reboot, you try different drivers…

How to Fix the ‘no audio output device is installed’ Error in Windows 10

Fear not, there is a simple way to ensure you’ve got the right drivers, and that all the necessary services are running. Usually, you can get back to pumping those jams in a matter of minutes and this is how.

Fix the ‘no audio output device is installed’ Error in Windows 10

First let’s see if Windows Audio services are running and then what Windows has in terms of output devices and drivers.

  1. Right-click on an empty section of the Taskbar and select Task Manager, you can also type Ctrl + Shift + Esc. Windows Taskbar menu
  2. Now, select the Services tab at the top. Task Manager Top Menu
  3. Then, click on the Open Services text link at the bottom. Task Manager Services Tab Menu
  4. Next, look for Windows Audio and Windows Audio Endpoint Builder services. Make sure they are running and set to automatic. How to fix the ‘no audio output device is installed’ error in Windows 10-3
  5. Also, check for the service related to your audio device and make sure that is running too. The name will differ depending on your hardware.

How to fix the ‘no audio output device is installed’ error in Windows 10-2

If all services are running, move on to the next step.

Checking the Audio Drivers

  1. Open the Start menu, type in “Control Panel“, and then select it. Start menu
  2. Now, select Hardware and Sound. Control Panel Menu
  3. Then, click on Device Manager. Hardware & Sound
  4. Next, click on Sound, video and game controllers. Device Manager
  5. Check to see if your device is listed, it may be detected but an error occurred, if it is, right-click the audio device in question (it may have a yellow triangle next to it, it may not) and select Update driverDevice Manager 2
  6. Select Automatic and let Windows find the driver or manual if you would prefer to do it yourself.
  7. Reboot your system if prompted and retest.

In the vast majority of cases where you see the ‘no audio output device is installed’ error, re-installing the driver will address the issue. Occasionally when selecting Automatic driver mode in Windows 10, you’ll be presented with several options. If the specific driver doesn’t work, repeat the process and find the default ‘High Definition Audio Device’ driver that should be listed. Reboot and retry.

Check Your Hardware

Before we move on to resetting Windows 10, let’s cover the possibility that your hardware is causing the problem.

Test the Audio Equipment

If you have another computer or port/jack to use, then you should test it with that.

  1. Unplug your audio device and insert it into the other port, jack, or computer.
  2. Now, try to play some music, a test sound, or a video.

If it works, then the other device, port, or audio jack is to blame.

Inspect Your USB and Audio Jack Ports

Depending on the audio you use, it either requires the USB port or the audio jack to operate. Although it’s more common for there to be an issue with the USB port, it’s important to check them both.

  1. Take a flashlight and inspect the USB port or audio jack for hair, dust, dirt, bent pins, or other issues.
  2. If you locate an obstruction, carefully remove the dirt, debris, etc. with a pair of tweezers or thin plastic spudger.
  3. For a bent pin/connector (mostly applicable to USB ports), you can attempt to carefully push/bend it back into position.

If you notice a bent connection in a USB port and are uncomfortable trying to fix it, then take it in to a professional.

Resetting Windows 10

If the above solution didn’t work, you could try a fresh install of Windows 10. Note, only do this if you’re willing to put up with reinstalling all of your apps and the possibility that it might not resolve the issue.

  1. Perform a system restore or backup any files you cannot afford to lose.
  2. Navigate to Settings, Update & security, Recovery.
  3. Select Reset this PC and the keep my files option.
  4. Follow the wizard to reset Windows while keeping your personal files.
  5. Then reboot and retest.

A system refresh is a last resort but has been known to restore audio to fully working status. Even though the correct drivers may be present, the correct hardware selected, services running and everything appearing as it should be, there is occasionally a disconnect between the driver and Windows core. The refresh links the two together again restoring sound to your device.

If that still doesn’t work, it’s possible you’re experiencing a hardware failure. Though it’s rare for a sound card to die, it can happen to any component in your system. If you have a desktop PC with a free PCI or PCIe slot, the best bet may be to just buy another sound card. They’re very cheap, and would certainly be less cost and trouble than hauling your machine to the repair shop.

If you do have a laptop, there are other workarounds still. If your laptop is Bluetooth enabled, and most laptops these days are, you should consider investing in a pair of Bluetooth headphones. If you need to connect your laptop to a stereo system, there are Bluetooth adaptors that will allow you to do so. Many smartphones these days make do without the minijack—you can make your laptop work without one too.

I hope one of these steps works for you. If you have any other fixes for this error, let us know in the comments section.

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