Sound suddenly gone

  polymath 18:10 05 Sep 2009

Packard Bell Ixtreme 2711 desktop, Vista Home Premium, Realtek HD Audio (onboard, I gather). Windoes Media player, Real Player, Audacity.

I'm thoroughly mystified, and was hoping to hear tonight's Planet Rock programme on Jimi Hendrix!

Sound working fine until today. Have tested speakers & headphones (in Sound in Conrrol Panel), & the tones came through loud & clear. But there's no other sound from the desktop PC, whether from files in computer (either Windows samples or created by self), music CD or internet radio (all of which I could hear until today). The earphones work fine with my (also Win. Home Premium) laptop. The earphones plugged into the green socket at the front of the desktop override the speakers plugged into the back, as I think they're supposed to (confirmed by the above Windows test). Speakers are plugged into a greem socket, as always.

The speaker icon's still in the system tray, and working as before, as far as I can remember. The hover popup says Volume 50, Realtek digital output & Realtek High Definition Audio. The Volume Mixer is settable, and Playback Devices shows Speakers & Realtek Digital Output both working (the latter with a green tick, which I don't yet understand). The Recording Devices section looks as normal, as does the Sounds one (that is, with Windows Sounds exterminated).

I've checked all the volume controls I've been able to find, and they're all set to medium if they weren't before (I found no muted ones),

The recent events I can think of are installing Audacity a few days ago (though it all seemed to work until now); and trying earphones today for the first time in this computer. I plugged them in to listen to an audio file and, when they didn't work, tried the speakers, but no sound came out of them either (yes, I did turn the volume up!). The earphones are Maplins own brand PC & Multimedia Stereo Headset, bought nearly 2 years ago - could plugging them in have somehow zapped the sound, although they didn't do that to the laptop? (Not that I know anything about it, but the earphones packet says Frequency response 20Hz-18kHz, impedance 24 Ohm, max. power input 100mw).

There are no ?s in the Device Manager, and Windows Audio (in Admin. Tools - Services) is already set to Automatic.

  eedcam 18:21 05 Sep 2009

Tried a system restore to when they were working

  polymath 21:18 05 Sep 2009

Thanks eedcam! System restore did the trick.
I don't know why I didn't think of it before. Maybe it just wasn't second nature yet (it's the first time I've needed it since having that facility).

I tried each restore point, working back from the most recent until the sound worked again, which was just before an 'important' Windows Defender Update 2 days ago, KB915597, definition 1.65.330.0.

I don't know anything about the update (except it's repeated with each new definition), and can't find any other instances (yet) of problems caused by it. But it doesn't sound like a firewall thing (?), and the firewall's the only Windows security software I use, so doubt if I need this update?
Until I find out, I've told Windows to ask before installing the updates it offers.

Like I said, I'm new to this stuff; would it be a good idea to stay at the restore point just before the offending update, and just reinstall the subsequent Windows & AVG updates, which didn't cause the problem (if I'm thinking straight)?

Anyway, thanks again.

  eedcam 22:26 05 Sep 2009

Some Windows updates are often the to do them manually Glad you are sorted there are better free Firewalls Like Zone alarm

  Stuartli 23:35 05 Sep 2009

One possibility is that in the Volume tab (Start>Settings>Control Panel>Sounds and Audio Devices) the Mute section has been inadvertently Disabled.

This is not necessarily done via this route as sometimes Muting the sound from, for instance, the Volume icon or Windows Media Player and then Enabling sound again doesn't always work.

So the tick in the Mute box in the Volume tab has to be Unchecked.

  polymath 13:39 06 Sep 2009

Thanks Stuartli. I think I had checked that setting, but I've made a note re any sound problems in the future!

Yes eedcam - thanks for reminding me about the upside of doing Windoes updates manually, which I'd forgotten about.
I bought the Vista desktop and notebook nearly 2 years ago (straight from 98SE) but couldn't use them till recently as couldn't connect them to the internet (due to 12kbps max. dialup connection). Broadband became available here a few months ago (from a mast), and the first job (the preinstalled Norton Security trial already being expunged) was setting Win. updates to automatic, to catch up with the security ones. After the 1st rush of those, I installed AVG Free (having had plenty of time to consult these forums while waiting for BB!). I'm doing some networking soon, when the firewall requirements may change with having the router's one.
I'm a bit prejudiced against Zone Alarm, my sole attempt at installing it having killed my internet connection & forced a reinstall of 98SE (programs, as well as people, can change, of course!)

  Stuartli 18:30 06 Sep 2009

I stopped using ZoneAlarm a while back in favour of Comodo Firewall Pro (freeware as well), but seem to recollect that there were different versions for XP and Vista at the time.

Perhaps at the time you needed to go back to an earlier version to use with 98SE?

  polymath 21:12 06 Sep 2009

I think I got the correct Zone Alarm for 98SE. My then computer guru said it was a bad idea though, once back from his holidays (I was too impatient to wait for advice about firewalls).
I was a bit new to things, my previous computer being a 1980s 286 (and not having had the opportunity to even see any other computers in between!).

  polymath 21:12 07 Sep 2009

I'm not so sure now about the above mentioned Windows update having been the problem. I've found the laptop (with no sound problems) has had that same update installed for several days. Apart from Windows updates, the 2 machines have identical software & settings (that's the idea, anyway), so it looks as if it was something I did.
If I ever find out what, I'll post it here!

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