Fix Your PC’s Audio Problems

Fix Your PC’s Audio Problems: What To Do Before You Call Tech Support

By Sarah Borroum

Okay, so your computer’s audio just died, so you’re picking up the phone to call technical support. You know that this phone call will take a couple of hours at the least, and that you might not even find the right answer. Diagnosing computer problems over a telephone is hard for anybody – even experts.

But knowing that doesn’t change the fact that you really don’t want to make that call. You would really rather just fix the problem yourself, right?

Of course you want to do this on your own! You can have the job done faster and easier – which is definitely possible depending on the problem.

Here are the things that you should always try to fix before you call technical support. If nothing else, you will have more information to give the person on the other end of the line, so that you can get off the phone and get back to playing CDs sooner.

You should check the most obvious possibilities first.

Are the speakers plugged in?

Is the power on? Check power to the speakers as well as to your surge protector.

Is the power strip or surge protector working properly?

Do you have the volume on? Even if the answer is “yes,” try turning the volume up a little – just to be sure.

Are you playing audio, such as a CD or computer sound file? Sometimes you think that you’re playing the CD when it’s actually stopped.

These might seem like stupid questions, but they’re so obvious that many people forget all about them. And don’t you want the problem to be really simple anyway? If it’s a loose cord, you can plug it in tightly and be back to your music in just a couple of seconds.

Next, you should double-check your audio sources. Change them a couple of times so that you’re sure it isn’t a problem with, say, the CD you’re trying to play.

If you’re playing a CD, change it out for a different one. If you’re trying to play a computer audio file, play a different one. In fact, switch out the types of audio that you’re trying to hear.

The next step is to re-boot the system. Shut down all of your open programs and restart. Sometimes, especially with Windows systems, this fixes glitches that cause temporary problems with all sorts of system features.

Now you should go into your Control Panel and check the drivers for your sound card. You shouldn’t have to change any settings: just check to make sure that everything is enabled and there are no hardware conflicts or other problems.

Tip: If you check the “Properties” section of your sound card’s window, you should see a message on the screen stating that there are no known problems or conflicts.

If there is no obvious problem, you can try re-installing the sound card. Make sure that you have the software and then uninstall the hardware through your computer’s “Add/Remove Hardware” menu. When you re-install the device, you should be able to re-install its drivers and other associated files as well.

Should all of these solutions fail, you should call technical support or take your computer to a reputable repair center. You might think that you’ve wasted an hour or so of your time trying to fix the problem on your own, but you haven’t. You have eliminated the “easy solutions” that probably would have been a waste of time on the phone (or money in the repair shop) if you had never checked them for yourself.