Missing playback or recording devices in Windows Vista or 7

By default, Windows Vista and 7 will not show playback or recording devices that are disabled. To show these disabled devices, follow the steps below.

  1. Click Start.
  2. From the menu that opens, select Control Panel.
  3. Look for the Hardware and Sound link. If you do not see it, select View by: Category in the upper right-hand corner.
  4. Click the Hardware and Sound link, then click the Sound icon or the Manage audio devices link underneath it.
  5. At the top of the Sound window, click on the Recording tab.
  6. Right-click anywhere in the box where the devices are listed.
  7. Click on Show Disabled Devices so there is a check mark next to it.
  8. This action displays any disabled device relevant to the category. If no new devices are found, it is because it is not detected by Windows. If you're having sound issues we'd suggest reinstalling your sound drivers.
  9. Right-click any new (or previously existing) grayed-out icon(s) and select Properties or Enable.
  10. If you selected Properties, beside Device usage there is a dropdown menu.
  11. Select on Use this device (enable).
  12. Click OK.

Additional information

  • See our sound definition for further information and related links on this term.