Sound issues are something that has affected nearly everyone using a PC or laptop at some point.
Whether it's a pair of headphones that won't connect, or you're simply getting no sound from the built-in speakers, it can be incredibly frustrating.
If you're now relying on a device to work from home or stay in touch with friends and family, it's crucial you sort any audio issues out as quickly as possible.
As has been reported by Digital Trends, here are the best ways to diagnose and fix any sound problems in Windows 10.
Update to the latest version of Windows 10
Before you try anything else, it's worth checking to make sure your device is running the latest software version.
Head to Settings, Update & Security and choose Check for Updates.
If there's already an update waiting for you, go ahead and install it.
At the time of writing, the Windows 10 May 2020 update was the latest major version to arrive, bringing with it a host of bug fixes.
If you think an update has caused the problem, you can downgrade to a previous version, although the issue may still persist.
Check volume sliders
It might sound obvious, but it's always important to check if you haven't accidentally muted the speakers on your device.
Clicking the speaker icon in the taskbar will give you a basic overview, but Windows 10 also offers some more in-depth sliders.
To access these, right-click on the taskbar and open 'Volume Mixer'. Some third-party apps may be listed separate from the regular system volume, and may have been turned down very low.
Use the audio troubleshooter
The 'Windows is looking for a solution to the problem' message may have been annoying in the past, but a similar troubleshooter could help finding any sound issues.
- In the search bar next to the Start Menu type 'troubleshoot'
- Click on the option which says 'Troubleshoot settings' and look for a section which says 'Get up and running'
- Here you should find a 'Playing Audio' option. Click on this and then click 'Run the troubleshooter'
- Click the new icon that appears on the taskbar and choose the audio device that you'd like to troubleshoot
- Run the troubleshooter and try any of the things it suggests
Check output device
If you've recently connected other audio equipment, it may be possible that your device is outputting sound somewhere else.
- Locate the speaker icon in the taskbar, which is accessible via the ^ icon if you can't already see it
- Right click and choose 'Open Sound settings'
- Click the drop-down box under 'Choose your output device' and ensure it's set to the correct place
From here you can also ensure the master volume is set to an appropriate level, and there's also an option to troubleshoot here.
Update sound card drivers
Sound card driver problems can easily cause audio issues without you knowing, as they help Windows 10 communicate with any audio hardware.
Installing updates should help them run more efficiently, and the good news is that they're readily available.
- In the search bar next to the Start Menu type 'Device Manager' and click on the top result
- You'll see various folders in here, but the one you want is 'Sound, video and game controllers'
- Double click to open, and if you have a sound card it will display here
- Double click the relevant icon and head to the 'Driver' tab
- Click the option that says 'Update Driver'
- Restart your device for the changes to take effect
From the same menu, you can also uninstall the device. This acts as a hard reset for the driver, as Windows 10 will prompt you to re-install it when you restart your device.
If the updates don't work, you can try switching to Microsoft's generic drivers instead. To do this:
- Head to the same menu but when you click 'Update Driver', choose 'Browse my computer for driver software'
- Choose 'Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer' and you should find something called 'High Definition Audio Device'
- This is the generic driver, so select this and install to see if it works