How to fix the no sound or low audio issue on Windows 11

How to fix the no sound or low audio issue on Windows 11. Struggling to hear things on Windows 11? This article will show you how to get things audible again. We’ve been seeing more and more reports of Windows 11 issues complaining that their overall PC audio volume is unusually low. This problem occurs for both system sounds and sound in native and third-party applications.

Windows 11 has been great so far but as expected it has had its fair share of bugs since its release. There have recently been several reports that Windows 11’s audio falls too low, which users did not experience with Windows 10.

Normally, most Windows sound-related problems are not physical issues with the audio device but because of software-related issues within the system. Below we highlight some of the most effective troubleshooting methods for beginners and experts on Windows 11.

Effective Audio troubleshooting methods for Windows 11 – Fix no sound

 Below you’ll find a list of methods that have proven to be applicable for other users that have been dealing with low volume issues on Windows 11.

Check Your Audio Source

Windows 11 allows you to choose an appropriate output device by selecting it from the Action Center. After you select a device, your system routes the audio to it so that you can listen. If you don’t select the right output device, you won’t be able to listen to the audio correctly or even at all.

Here is how you can select the correct audio source on your Windows 11 device:

  1. Press Win + A simultaneously to launch the Action Center.
  2. Click on the arrow associated with the audio bar.
  3. Now, choose the audio device you wish to use for playback.
  4. Once done, play something and check if adjusting the audio source helped fix the issue.

Set Your Audio Device as Default Device

Depending on whether you’re connected to an audio device via USB or HDMI, you might need to specify it as the default audio device.

In several cases, Windows 11 users were facing a low audio problem because their external monitor without any built-in speakers was selected as the default audio device. If this scenario is applicable, setting your preferred audio device as the default device will do the trick for you.

Follow the steps below to determine whether your monitor is set as the default audio device. If it is, change it to your preferred device.

  1. Type Control Panel in the search area of your taskbar and click Open.
  2. Select Hardware and Sound from the list of options available.
  3. Next, click on Sound.
  4. In the newly launched Sound dialog, head over to the Playback tab and right-click on your preferred audio device.
  5. Choose Set as Default Device from the context menu and then hit OK.

 Run the Audio Troubleshooter

Running the Audio Troubleshooter is also an effective way to diagnose audio issues within the Windows operating system.

Like several other troubleshooting utilities, the Audio Troubleshooter is also built into Windows. Running it will launch a scan that will check your operating system for potential sound-related issues and fix the ones that are identified without significant user input.

Moreover, there have been reports that Microsoft is already aware of the low audio problem in Windows 11, and has launched a few automated fixes that will do the trick for you. You can apply these fixes by running the Audio Troubleshooter as described below:

  1. Press Win + I simultaneously to launch Windows Settings.
  2. Choose System from the left pane.
  3. Now, click on Troubleshoot on the right-hand side of the window.
  4. Inside the Troubleshoot window, click on Other troubleshooters under the Options section.
  5. Next, scroll down to the Most frequent section and click on the Run button associated with Playing Audio.
  6. This should begin an initial scan. Wait for it to complete.
  7. Then, choose the device you are having issues with. If you are unsure, choose your default device and hit Next.
  8. The following scan should identify the potential issues that might be causing the low volume problem. If the troubleshooter finds any issue, click on Apply this fix.
  9. Finally, restart your PC and check if the problem is resolved.

Update Your Audio Driver

In some cases, outdated audio drivers are also responsible for issues like the one under consideration. A driver is a piece of software that communicates with your hardware to make it work with your OS.

The best way to keep your hardware functional with the latest version of your operating system is by updating your audio drivers. However, if updating does not fix the problem for you, you can try rolling back or reinstalling the audio driver.

Here is how you can update your audio driver:

  1. Type Device Manager in the search area of your taskbar and click Open.
  2. In the Device Manager window, expand the Sound, video, and game controllers menu and right-click on your audio driver.
  3. Select Update driver from the context menu.
  4. In the newly launched dialog, click Search automatically for drivers.
  5. Wait for the Device Manager to identify an available driver and then follow the on-screen instructions to proceed.
  6. In case the Device Manager does not identify any available drivers, click on Search for updated drivers on Windows Update.
  7. Then, follow the on-screen instructions to install the updated driver.
  8. Finally, restart your PC and check if you can hear the audio properly now.

What are the common causes of audio issues on Windows 11?

  • Common inconsistency – As it turns out, a lot of the problems that could be responsible for the low audio issue you’re experiencing on Windows 11 are already covered by the automated fixes available via the Windows Audio troubleshooter. Because of this, the ideal way to start troubleshooting this problem is by running the Audio troubleshooter and applying the recommended fix.
  • Outdated audio driver – If you haven’t updated your audio driver in a while and Windows Update is not allowed to update it, chances are you are experiencing this problem due to using an older audio driver version. In this case, you can force the driver version to update via Device Manager.
  • The generic driver is partially incompatible – If you’re using a generic update (migrated after the upgrade to Windows 11), it’s very likely that the low-volume behavior will be rectified if you actually take the time to install the dedicated sound card driver applicable to the motherboard that you’re using.
  • The dedicated audio driver is not updated for Windows 11 – The opposite scenario of the potential caused detailed above is a scenario in which you’re using a dedicated driver for which the manufacturer has not yet made it fully compatible with Windows 11. In this case, the ideal way to fix it is to uninstall the current dedicated driver and use a generic driver equivalent instead.
  • Interfering audio enhancements – As it turns out, software simulated audio enhancements can also cause low volume outputs on Windows 11, especially when using speakers instead of headphones. To fix this particular scenario, you’ll need to disable every software simulated enhancement via Sound Properties.
  • Incompatible BiRate sound format – If you have previously established a Studio quality format as the default BitRate for your default audio device, you will experience lower volume when playing sounds of inferior quality. To avoid this problem, you will need to change the default BitRate sound format from your Sound settings.
  • Recent driver or app conflict – As with every operating system, there are a lot of moving parts that could actually interfere with the sound output on your Windows 11 installation. Both drivers and 3rd party processes can ultimately be responsible for this weird behavior. If this problem only started to occur recently, try tapping into the latest System Restore snapshot to revert your PC to a state in which the problem did not occur.
  • System file corruption – According to some affected users, this issue can also be rooted in some kind of system file corruption. Other users dealing with the same sound issues have confirmed that they’ve completely managed to fix the problem by deploying SFC and DISM scans in quick succession.
  • No compatible audio driver for Windows 11 – If everything else fails to work, there’s always the option of reverting to Windows 10. In this case, chances are you’re using a legacy sound card that is not yet made compatible with Windows 11. In this case, the only option unfortunately is to move away from Windows 11.

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