No Computer Sound

By: Stephen Bucaro

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No Computer Sound

By Stephen Bucaro

Today's computer equipped with a sound card is capable of
generating sound from many different sound and music format
files. Formats include WAV, MIDI, MP3, and many more.

Conversion of these sound format files to actual audio
relies on several layers of software and hardware. The
most basic sound format file compatible with the Windows
operating system is the WAV file format. Before
troubleshooting any of the more complex formats, make sure
that your system is capable of playing WAV files.

The Windows operating system has a built-in program called
Sound Recorder to record and play WAV files. To open Sound
Recorder, select Start | Programs | Accessories |
Entertainment and click on Sound Recorder. In the Sound
Recorder program, select File | Open. In the Open dialog
box, navigate to C:WindowsMedia and select one of the
WAV files to play. Click the Open button and then the Play
button (right arrow).

If you hear the WAV file play, then your basic sound
configuration is working properly. If you did not hear
the WAV file play, continue reading (troubleshooting
problems with the more complex sound file formats
will be covered in future article).

The first thing you should do is eliminate the obvious
possibilities. Many speakers have a volume control on one
of the speakers.

Many times I have thought that the sound
was not working in one of my programs, only to find that
someone turned the volume control all the way down.

You can test your speakers by plugging them into the
headphone jack on your CD-ROM drive and playing a music
CD. This bypasses the sound card.

Check the Windows Volume Control by right-clicking on the
speaker icon in the Task Bar and Selecting "Open Volume
Contols" in the popup menu that appears.

Open the Multimedia utility in Control Panel (Start |
Settings | Control Panel) and select the Audio tab. Make
sure that your soundcard's Playback device is selected in
the Playback section.

If that looks correct, open the System utility in Control
Panel and select the Device Manager tab. In Device Manager,
open the "Sound video and game controllers" branch. Click
on the name of your sound card to select it, then click on
the Properties button. In the Sound Card Properties dialog
box, select the General tab and verify that "Disable in
this hardware profile" is not checked. Select the Driver
tab and make sure that a driver is selected. Click on the
Resources tab and make sure there is no conflicts.

Resource conflicts related to sound cards are usually
caused by sharing an IRQ (Interrupt Request). The default
setting for a sound card is usually IRQ 5. The sound card
should not share an IRQ with any other device.

If you can't determine the reason why the sound card does
not work, or you can't solve a resource conflict, you may
need to uninstall and re-install the sound card.

To uninstall the sound card, open the Add/Remove Programs
utility in Control Panel. Scroll through the list of
installed software and select any programs related to your
sound card. Click on the Add/Remove button to uninstall
the program.

Open the System utility in Control Panel and select the
Device Manager tab. In Device Manager open the "Sound
video and game controllers" branch. Click on the name of
your sound card and then click on the Remove button.

After removing the sound card's software and drivers, turn
off the computer and physically remove the sound card.
I like to restart the computer without the sound card to
make sure Windows plug-an-play can't find any of the
software components of the sound card. Then turn off the
computer and re-install the sound card in a different
slot. You may have to switch slots with another card.

If your computer can play WAV filesFeature Articles, then that verifies
that your sound card has been installed properly and your
speakers are working. Playing more complex sound file
formats like MIDI or MP3 requires more layers of software.
We will cover how to troubleshoot those in future
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