How to disable or adjust my computer's sound

Updated: 07/31/2022 by Computer Hope
Speaker icon

There are several options for adjusting (increasing or decreasing) or disabling your sound, depending on what you want to accomplish. You may want to disable sounds from a program, the internal speaker, a modem, sound from the speakers/headphones, or disable an onboard sound card. For more information on these options, review the options below if they apply to what you're trying to disable.

How to disable sound from speakers or headphones

To disable the sound from the speakers or headphones, you can mute them (turn the volume off) or turn down (adjust) the volume.

How to mute

Mute in Windows

Windows mute

In Windows, click the sound icon in the Windows Notification Area of the Taskbar that looks like a speaker. In the small window that appears, check the Mute box or click the sound icon (shown to the right) below the volume to mute the sound. To un-mute it later, you can follow the same procedure.

Mute in the software program

If you only want to mute a movie, sound file, or audio in programs, most programs include a configuration option to mute the audio through the program or audio player. Look for a sound icon and click the icon to open the sound properties or mute the sound.

Mute on speakers

Look for a mute or power off button on your computer or speakers as another alternative.

Mute on headphones

Some headphones and headsets have a button on the cord that connects in-between the headphones and the computer. Pressing this button may mute the sound.

Mute on laptop

Some laptops have buttons that control the audio. If the laptop has buttons similar to those shown below, press the crossed-out speaker button to mute the laptop speakers. If your laptop does not have these buttons, look for an Fn key combo to mute the speakers. The Fn key combination is specific to your laptop brand or model, so examine the keyboard or check your laptop documentation.

Laptop mute button

How to turn down and adjust the volume

Turn down the volume in Windows

In Windows, click the sound icon in the Windows Notification Area of the Taskbar that looks like a speaker. In the small window that appears, drag the volume down to turn down the sound. You can follow the same procedure and drag the slider up to the desired volume level to turn it back up later.

Turn down the volume in the software program

If you only want to adjust a movie, sound file, or other audio program's volume, most programs include a configuration option to adjust the volume through the program or player. Look for a sound icon or volume slider to adjust the audio settings. If you're in a game, you may have to go into the game's audio settings to adjust the volume.

Speaker volume knobs

Adjust the volume on speakers

All computer speakers have a volume knob that can be adjusted on the front of the speaker. Moving that knob to the left turns down the main speaker volume.

Adjust the volume on headphones

Some headphones and headsets have a volume control on the cord connecting between the headphones and the computer. Moving this knob in one of the available directions turns down the sound.

Adjust the volume on the laptop

Some laptops have buttons that control the audio. A laptop with buttons similar to those below can press the button with the least amount of sound waves (usually the left) to turn down the volume. If your laptop does not have these buttons, look for any Fn key combo to adjust the speaker's volume. The Fn key combination is specific to your laptop brand or model, so examine the keyboard or check your laptop documentation.

Laptop volume buttons

Adjust the volume using a keyboard

Some computer keyboards include special keys or secondary functions on the function keys to increase or decrease sound volume without using a mouse. If you have a multimedia keyboard, it may have a volume control knob too. Look for any volume control keys or knob or any Fn key and function key combo to adjust the speaker's volume.

How to disable an onboard sound card

If you want to install a new sound card and need to disable the onboard sound card on your computer, follow the steps below.

Disable through Microsoft Windows

  1. Open the Device Manager.
  2. Click the + or > symbol next to the Sound, video and game controllers option in the list.
  3. Right-click the onboard sound card.
  4. In the pop-up menu that opens, select the Disable device option.

After disabling the onboard sound card, you can shut down the computer and install a new sound card.

Disable through BIOS

Note

Before performing the BIOS steps below, we recommend installing a new sound card to use in place of the onboard sound card.

  1. Open the BIOS setup.
  1. In the BIOS, look for an option like Integrated Peripherals, Integrated Devices, or something similar. Depending on the type of BIOS, you may need to look in a section named Advanced or Configuration. Access that option to view the next screen of options.
  2. Look for an entry like Audio Device, Onboard Sound, or something similar. To the right of that entry, change Enable or Enabled to Disable or Disabled.
  3. Look at the bottom of the BIOS screen to see which key or key combination to press to save the BIOS settings change. F10 or F12 are common keys to save BIOS settings changes. Press the appropriate key to save the changes.
  4. After saving the changes, exit the BIOS. The key to exit the BIOS is shown at the bottom of the BIOS screen.

After exiting the BIOS, the computer will restart. Because the onboard sound card is disabled, you need to connect the speaker's mini plug connector to the new sound card.