Computer speakers do not work

Volume turned down

Speaker volume knobsVerify that the volume knob on the speakers is properly turned up. If you are uncertain what direction to turn the knob, play a long sound file or CD and while the sound is being played, adjust the knob left to right or up to down. Almost every pair of speakers with knobs will increase the volume by turning it left to right or clockwise.

If you have a laptop computer with no speakers connected, make sure the volume controls on the laptop are also turned up. A laptop has volume controls that resemble those shown in the picture below.

Laptop mute button

Make sure volume in the software is also turned up.

The sound is also able to be turned up and down through the software installed on the computer. Verify the sound settings in the software are properly turned up.

Speakers are not connected properly

Laptop computers

If you are troubleshooting a laptop computer, skip this step since you cannot verify the laptop speaker connections.

External desktop speakers

Line out on the back of sound cardSpeakers that are connected to the computer have different cables connected to them. First, check that the right speaker is connected to the sound card on the back of the computer. As seen in the picture the sound card has multiple jacks and the speakers must be connected to the Line Out connector, which usually is an icon of sound waves with an arrow pointing out. In this example and with most sound cards, the Line Out connector will be the green connector.

Tip: Even if your speakers have worked in the past, still check this connection since it is not uncommon for this cable to be kicked out of its jack.

Finally, make sure the power cable is connected to the back of the right speaker, or in some cases, the subwoofer. Most speakers have a small LED (light) indicating if the speaker is on or off. Verify that if this light is present that it is illuminated.

If no LED is seen or the speakers don't appear to be getting power, verify the power cable is properly connected to a working outlet or if your speakers use batteries that the batteries are good. Finally, most speakers can be turned on either by using a button or by moving the volume knob from left to right.

Sound card does not work

Like everything else in a computer, the speakers can also fail. Make sure the computer sound card works properly by connecting either another pair of speakers to the computer, or a pair of headphones.

Note: Do not test the sound through a game or other program, but instead by playing either a CD or a sound file. It is possible that a program or game may be unable to play the sound for other non-related issues.

If another pair of speakers or headphones also doesn't work, your sound card has problems. See our Missing or lost sound in Windows document for troubleshooting sound card issues.

Windows speaker setup

If you are running Microsoft Windows, make sure the speaker setup is correct. It is possible that during an installation of another program that the speakers software setup was changed causing issues with your sound. To do this follow the steps below.

  1. Open Control Panel
  2. Open "Sounds and Multimedia Properties" or "Sounds and Audio Devices" in the Control Panel.
  3. Click the "Audio" tab.
  4. In the Audio tab click the "Advanced" button under "Sound Playback."
  5. In the Advanced Audio Properties window make sure your speaker setup is correct. If you're not sure what to set this setting as, set it to the default "Desktop Stereo Speakers" option.
  6. If you changed this setting click "Apply" and close out of all windows.

Bad hardware

Finally, if all of the above recommendations do not fix your problem, but connecting another pair of speakers or headphones did work, the speakers are bad. It is recommended that you contact the manufacturer of the speakers or computer for a new replacement if your are still in warranty.

If the speakers are out of warranty or do not want a replacement pair, we recommend buying a new pair of speakers.

Additional information