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    Headphones not working in Windows 10?

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    Judit Llordés
    @juditllordés

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    Just when you were about to listen to your favorite music, you noticed that your headphones are not working. If you are having trouble getting them to work, keep reading this article and you will find out the possible solutions to why the headphones are not working in Windows 10.


    Headphones not working in Windows 10?

    There are various possible reasons why your headphones are not working in Windows 10. You can always try to fix the problem to determine the cause of your problem.



    How to enable Bluetooth on Windows 10 PC

    HD Audio your AC97

    HD Audio and AC97 are two Intel audio standards on many computers. HD Audio was in fact produced to replace AC97 and has improved specifications. While they may look identical, they are not interchangeable.

    For example, if you plug an AC97 connector into an HDA motherboard, there will be no sound output, so your headphones won't work. Since they are not interchangeable, some motherboard manufacturers allow you to choose between the two.


    How do you know which one to use? This depends on your case. First of all, the right connector should be labeled. If not, try the HD audio connector first, as this is likely the cause of the headphones not working.

    Assuming everything is fine with your hardware, here are the steps to follow to choose HD audio on AC97 in Windows 10:

    1. Open the Start menu
    2. Find "Realtek HD Audio Manager" (you should have it installed by default on Windows 10. If not, make sure to install it)
    3. Open "Settings"
    4. Make sure "HD Audio" is selected in "Connector Settings"

    Change the default audio format

    One of the ways you can try to get your headphones to work is to change the default audio format in Windows 10. Here's how you can do it:




    1. Open the Start menu
    2. Start typing "Control Panel" and open it
    3. Tap "Hardware and Sound"
    4. Tap "Sound"
    5. Tap "Headphones"
    6. Tap the "Advanced" tab
    7. Here you'll see the default format and a number of other options to choose from.

    Suggestion: every time you change the format, click on the "Test" button. This way you will check if your headphones work with another format.

    Update audio driver

    If your audio drivers are out of date, they will most likely be the cause of your headphones malfunction. You can update them by following the steps below:

    1. Open the Start menu
    2. Start typing “Device Manager” and open it
    3. Double-click "Sound, video and game controllers"
    4. Right click on the audio driver you want to update (most likely it will be Realtek)
    5. Tap "Update Driver"
    6. Tap "Automatically search for drivers"

    Done! You have successfully updated your audio drivers. If this was the cause of the headphones not working, they should work now.


    Disabling Front Panel Jack Detection

    There are several ways in which the front panel audio jack can be disabled. In this guide, you will learn how to disable it using audio settings and using Realtek HD Audio Manager.

    If you want to disable front panel jack detection using the audio settings, follow these steps:


    1. Open the Start menu
    2. Start typing “Settings” and open it
    3. Tap "System"
    4. Tap "Sound"
    5. Tap "Device Properties"
    6. Tap "Disable"

    If you want to disable front panel jack detection via Realtek HD Audio Manager, follow these steps:


    1. First, make sure you have the app installed on Windows 10
    2. Open the app
    3. Tap the wrench icon in the lower right corner ("Connector Settings")
    4. You will see a “Disable Front Panel Jack Detection” slider. Click on it

    If you want to play music on your speakers while you have headphones plugged in, or your computer got stuck in headphone mode, you can simply disable detection by following the steps above.

    Plug in your headphones and restart

    Sometimes in Windows 10, the connected headphones will only work after restarting the computer. There are several potential causes for this problem, but the most common is that the speakers are set as the default device rather than the headphones.

    Here's how you can fix this:

    1. Plug in your headphones
    2. Open the Start menu
    3. Start typing "Control Panel"
    4. Tap "Hardware and Sound"
    5. Tap "Sound"
    6. Tap the headset device and click "Set Default"
    7. Unplug the headphones
    8. Tap the speakers and click "Set default"

    You should now be able to plug in your headphones and use them without having to restart your computer every time.


    Enable the headphones and set as default device

    One of the potential causes of the headphones not working is that they are not enabled and / or set as the default device on your computer.

    To enable the headphones, follow these steps:

    1. Open the Start menu
    2. Start typing "Manage audio devices"
    3. Here you will find a list of disabled devices. If your headphones are disabled, click "Enable"

    If you want to set the headphones as the default device, follow these steps:


    1. Open the Start menu
    2. Start typing "Audio Settings"
    3. Under "Choose your output device" select your headphones

    Check if the problem is software or hardware related

    To determine the cause of your faulty headphones, it's best to start by confirming whether the problems are software or hardware related. There are several ways you can check this. First of all, make sure your headphones are working properly. Try it out by connecting them to another computer or phone. If they still don't work, it means the problem isn't with your computer.

    Also, be sure to check the door. You can do this by plugging the headphones into another port on the same computer. If they work, it means that one of your ports is not working properly.

    After verifying that the problem is not hardware related, you can be sure that something on your computer is causing the problem.

    Additional FAQs

    Why isn't Bluetooth showing up on my Windows 10 computer?

    When Bluetooth is turned on on Windows 10, a small icon will appear in the system tray. While it is very easy to accidentally remove this icon, recovering it is not that easy.

    If you want to add the Bluetooth icon to the taskbar again, follow these steps:

    1. Open the Start menu
    2. Start typing “Settings
    3. Tap "Bluetooth and other devices"
    4. Tap "More Bluetooth Options"
    5. Make sure there is a check mark next to "Show the Bluetooth icon in the notification area"

    Why doesn't Bluetooth work in Windows 10?

    There could be several possible reasons why Bluetooth isn't working on your computer. First of all, make sure your Bluetooth is on. You can do this by following these steps:

    1. Open the Start menu
    2. Start typing “Settings” and open it
    3. Tap "Bluetooth and other devices settings"
    4. Turn on Bluetooth Bluetooth

    There are also several things to check to make sure Bluetooth is working properly.

    Turn off airplane mode on your computer:

    1. Open the Start menu
    2. Start typing "Settings"
    3. Tap "Network and Internet"
    4. Turn off airplane mode

    You can also try to remove the added Bluetooth device and add it again:

    1. Open the Start menu
    2. Start typing "Settings"
    3. Tap "Bluetooth and other devices settings"
    4. Select the device you want to remove

    Why are my speakers not working in Windows 10?

    Several things can prevent the speakers from working.

    First of all, make sure the speakers are turned on and connected properly. If your speakers aren't working, it could be a hardware problem, so be sure to check all cables.

    So, be sure to check the volume levels. Here's how you can do it:

    1. Right-click the Speaker icon in the system tray (lower right corner)
    2. Tap "Open Volume Mixer"
    3. Make sure the volume is turned up

    If your speakers aren't working, be sure to check if they've been disabled. Here's how you can do it:

    1. Open the Start menu
    2. Start typing "Control Panel" and open it
    3. Tap "Hardware and Sound"
    4. Tap "Sound"
    5. Right-click the blank area to make sure you have the check marks next to "Show Disabled Devices" and "Show Disconnected Devices" - your speakers will show up in the list if they have been disabled
    6. Tap "Enable"

    If you have recently updated your system, you may need to update the audio driver:

    1. Open the Star menu
    2. Start typing “Device Manager” and open it
    3. Double-click "Sound, video and game controllers"
    4. Right click on the audio driver you want to update (most likely it will be Realtek)
    5. Tap "Update Driver"
    6. Tap "Automatically search for drivers"

    If you have both headphones and speakers connected to your computer, the headphones may be selected as the output device, causing the speakers to not work.

    Make sure your speakers are set as the output device, here's how you can do it:

    1. Right-click the Speaker icon in the system tray (lower right corner)
    2. Tap "Open audio settings"
    3. In "Choose your output device" be sure to select "Speakers"

    Let the music play!

    You have now learned more about the different reasons why headphones don't work in Windows 10 and the possible solutions. We know how frustrating this can be. So if you want to know how to fix this, be sure to follow our step by step guide and you'll be back to listening to your favorite music in no time.

    Have you ever had such problems in Windows 10? Tell us in the comments section below!

    Further Reading:

    • Windows 10 does not detect headphones, 9 solutions
    • How to pair Bluetooth headphones to your Apple Watch
    • The best headphones for wireless gaming
    • How to connect Bluetooth headphones to PS4
    • The best noise canceling headphones
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