Missing playback or recording devices in Windows Vista or 7

Missing soundBy default, Windows Vista and 7 will not show playback or recording devices that are disabled. To show these disabled devices, and then enable them, follow the steps below.

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Look for the Hardware and Sound link. If you do not see it, select View by: Category in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. Click the Hardware and Sound link, then click the Sound icon or the Manage audio devices link underneath it.
  4. At the top of the Sound window, click on the either the Playback or Recording tab.
  5. Right-click anywhere in the box where the devices are listed.
  6. Click on Show Disabled Devices so there is a check mark next to it.
  7. 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 re-installing your sound drivers.
  8. Right-click any new (or previously existing) grayed-out icon(s) and select Properties or Enable.
  9. If you selected Properties, beside Device usage there is a drop-down menu.
  10. Select on Use this device (enable).
  11. Click OK.

Note: If you are still unable to locate your missing sound device, you may need to re-install it using the Windows Device Manager.

Additional information

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