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Troubleshoot Audio Problems

How to update a sound card driver in Windows Vista

This article describes how to update a sound card driver in Windows Vista.
You cannot use all the features of an AC '97-compliant audio device after you install Windows Vista

After you install Windows Vista, you cannot use all the features of an integrated audio device that is compliant with the Audio Codec '97 (AC '97) specification.
The startup sound is not played correctly when you start Windows Vista

Your startup sound may sound choppy, contain popping sounds, or pause while it is played. This issue occurs only with some hardware devices and drivers loaded.
You may not hear any sound when you play back a recording that was recorded by using the Sound Recorder application in Windows Vista

You try to record audio by using the Sound Recorder application and a microphone in Windows Vista. When you play back the recording, you may not hear any sound.
When you use Sound Recorder to record audio in Windows Vista, the recorded audio may contain pops, clicks, or other distortions

When you use Sound Recorder to record audio in Windows Vista, the recording may contain extraneous noises such as pops or clicks. Or, the recording may sound distorted. This problem may occur when you record from a device that is connected to the line-in port on the computer's sound card. Additionally, this problem may occur more frequently when Sound Recorder is configured to sample at rates other than 16 bits and 44100 hertz (Hz). This problem does not occur when you use certain third-party programs to record audio.
You experience problems with sound after you install Windows Vista Service Pack 1

After you install Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), you may experience one or more of the following problems with sound:
  • No sound is produced when you play audio files or run programs that have an audio component.
  • The speaker symbol next to the clock in the notification area may display the following message:
    • No Audio Output Device is installed
  • The Sound Controller in Device Manager displays a yellow exclamation point.
A high definition audio device may no longer work after you resume Windows Vista from hibernation or from sleep

After you resume a Windows Vista-based computer from sleep or from hibernation, a high definition audio (HDA) device may no longer work. The device may be a sound device or a modem. You may see an "X" character appear on the speaker icon in the notification area.
Message when you try to shut down or to restart Windows Vista: "The following programs are still running: Explorer.exe Playing logoff sound"

When you try to restart or to shut down Windows Vista, you receive the following message:

The following programs are still running:
Explorer.exe
Playing logoff sound
To close these programs and restart your computer,
click Restart Now.


You may lose work that you haven't saved.

Note If you are trying to shut down Windows Vista, "click Shut down now" appears in this message instead of "click Restart Now."
You may receive an error message when you run an application that uses audio recording or playback functionality in Windows Vista

When you run an application that uses audio recording or playback functionality in Windows Vista, you may receive an error message that states that a file or a Microsoft Windows component is missing or could not be started.

For example, when you click Mixer in Windows Media Encoder 9, you receive the following error message:

The mixer application 'sndvol32.exe' could not be started.
The system cannot find the file specified. (0x80070002)


Note The specific error message that you receive depends on the application.
Recording devices may not work if the devices have the same name in Windows Vista

In Windows Vista, if multiple recording devices have the same name, the recording devices may not work.
The audio output is not automatically routed to a Bluetooth audio device on a Windows Vista-based computer

When you connect a Bluetooth audio device to a Windows Vista-based computer, the audio output is not automatically routed to the Bluetooth audio device.
 
When you connect a Bluetooth audio device to a Windows Vista-based computer, the audio output is not automatically routed to the Bluetooth audio device.

Default Format list on the Advanced tab of the properties dialog box. Also, when you select one of the entries, and then click Test, you may receive an error message that resembles the following:

Failed to play test tone

You may receive a different error message, depending on your hardware.

After this problem occurs, you may be unable to use other programs that play audio. For example, programs such as Windows Media Player or Windows Media Center do not play sounds correctly.
When a Windows Vista-based computer resumes from sleep or from hibernation, you cannot use the USB microphone device to record audio

Consider the following scenario:
  • You use a Windows Vista-based computer that has a USB microphone device.
  • You open the Sound and Multimedia tool (Mmsys.cpl).
  • The computer enters sleep or hibernation.
In this scenario, when the computer resumes from sleep or from hibernation, you cannot use the USB microphone device to record audio.

Note: A built-in microphone may be attached by using a USB connection internally. In this scenario, you may also experience this symptom.
An MPEG movie's sound may not play when you use a Media Center Extender device in Windows Vista

When you use a Media Center Extender device to play an MPEG movie in Windows Vista, the movie's sound may not play. Additionally, the Finished page does not appear when the video is finished.
After you upgrade to Windows Vista, audio playback no longer works on the computer if the SigmaTel HD audio driver is installed

Consider the following scenario:
  • You upgrade a computer to Windows Vista.
  • The computer uses a SigmaTel HD audio driver.
 In this scenario, audio playback no longer works on the computer. Additionally, you receive the following message when you position the pointer over the speaker icon in the notification area:

No audio output device is installed.

This problem occurs even if all the audio cables are connected correctly, and the sound driver appears to be working correctly in Device Manager.
When you use Media Center to watch Live TV on a Windows Vista-based computer, you cannot always hear the audio

When you use Windows Media Center to watch Live TV on a Windows Vista-based computer, you cannot always hear the audio.
You cannot adjust the volume for a USB speaker after you resume the Windows Vista-based computer from sleep or from hibernation

Consider the following scenario:
  • You are running a Windows Vista-based computer.
  • A USB speaker is connected to the computer.
  • You resume the computer from sleep or from hibernation.
  • You use Windows Media Player to play music.
In this scenario, you cannot adjust the volume for the USB speaker. This is true even when you move the volume slider up or down or click the mute button in either of the following locations:
  • In Windows Media Player
  • In the Windows Vista sound control panel
An audio device outputs PCM audio instead of DTS audio from the S/PDIF connection in Windows Vista

When you select the DTS Audio option in the SPDIF Out Properties dialog box for an audio device in Windows Vista, the device may output PCM (pulse-code modulation) audio instead of DTS (Digital Theatre System) audio from the Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format (S/PDIF) connection. Therefore, you may hear a stereo signal instead of a signal that uses additional channels. Or, you may hear no sound at all. When you select the DTS Audio option, you expect to hear 5.1-channel audio output or another DTS signal.

Note: The symptoms of this problem may vary, depending on the specific configuration. For example, any of the following may affect this scenario:
  • In most cases, DTS is used to store 5.1-channel audio. However, DTS also supports 2-channel stereo.
  • A program that plays DVDs, such as Windows Media Center, may only output DTS audio when it is configured to do this. This behaviour may affect what you hear. For example, you may hear no audio from the DVD when this problem occurs.
  • Windows Vista tries to use PCM audio for error dialog box notifications. Therefore, you may hear these notifications on a home theatre system when this problem occurs.
A USB telephony device that is installed on a Windows Vista-based computer is unexpectedly set as the default audio device

After you install a universal serial bus (USB) telephony device on a Windows Vista-based computer, this device is unexpectedly set as the default audio device. The USB telephony device can be a USB telephone, a USB handset, or a USB headset. This behaviour occurs even though other audio devices are already installed on the computer. In this situation, the computer cannot correctly play media or record media.
The audio from a USB speaker is distorted after you connect an additional USB device to a Windows Vista-based computer

Consider the following scenario. You connect a universal serial bus (USB) speaker to a Windows Vista-based computer. The audio sounds clear. Then, you connect another USB device to the computer. For example, this USB device may be a USB mouse, a USB keyboard, or a USB game controller. In this scenario, the audio from the USB speaker is now distorted. This problem occurs when the computer uses an Open Host Controller Interface (OHCI) controller.
The DVD playback volume in Windows Media Player or in a Windows Media Center application is not loud enough on a Windows Vista-based portable computer

You insert a DVD disk to watch a movie on a Windows Vista-based portable computer. You use Windows Media Player (Wmplayer.exe) or an application in Windows Media Center (Ehshell.exe) to watch the movie. However, the overall volume seems to be too low. For example, when you set maximum gain on all volume controls that are available in the audio mixer, system sounds and CD music playback are loud enough. However, DVD playback volume is still not loud enough.
Changes to the audio stack and changes in Windows Media Player audio playback behaviour in Windows Vista

To improve reliability and to simplify audio application development in Windows Vista, the Windows audio stack has been redesigned. Microsoft Windows Media Player 11 uses a new multimedia API in Windows Vista that is called Media Foundation. Media Foundation provides Windows Media Audio (WMA), Windows Media Video (WMV), and MP3 media formats. Because of these changes, Windows Media Player audio playback may behave differently in Windows Vista than Windows Media Player audio playback behaves in Microsoft Windows XP. This article discusses aspects of audio playback in Windows Vista and provides options to modify symptoms that you may experience therein.
There is no longer any audio playback after you unplug a USB audio device from a Windows Vista-based computer

After you unplug a USB audio device such as a microphone or headphones on a Microsoft Windows Vista-based computer, there is no longer any audio playback. For example, if you unplug USB headphones to hear the speakers, there is no audio playback from the speakers.
Audio may be much louder when you play an alternative audio source than when you play a DVD movie in Windows Vista

Consider the following scenario. You play a DVD movie by using Windows Media Center in Windows Vista or by using Windows Media Player 11. You eject or stop the DVD, and then you play audio from an alternative source, such as a music CD or a multimedia audio format. (WMA and MP3 are examples of multimedia audio format files.) In this scenario, the audio may be much louder when you play the alternative audio source than when you play the DVD movie.
Error message when you use Windows Media Center to play music in Windows Vista: "Audio Error: An unknown audio error has occurred"

When you use Windows Media Center to play music in Windows Vista, you may receive the following error message:

Audio Error
An unknown audio error has occurred.
(80010001)


This error message automatically disappears after several seconds. This error message does not affect the music that is playing.
You may be unable to hear the audio from a newly connected USB audio device in Windows Media Player 11 in Windows Vista

On a computer that is running Windows Vista, you may be unable to hear the audio from a newly connected USB audio device in Windows Media Player 11.
A High Definition (HD) audio device no longer plays audio files after a BIOS update on a Windows Vista-based computer

A High Definition (HD) audio device may not play audio files after you update the BIOS on a Windows Vista-based computer.
Some USB audio devices and some USB audio TV tuners do not work correctly together with a Windows Vista-based computer

Some universal serial bus (USB) audio devices and some USB audio TV tuners do not work correctly when you use the devices or the TV tuners together with a Windows Vista-based computer.
You cannot hear the audio in Live TV or on a DVD in Windows Media Center after you wake a computer that is running Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate

Consider the following scenario. You watch Live TV or a DVD in Windows Media Center on a computer that is running Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate. You pause the video. Then, you use the Start menu, a sleep button on a keyboard, or a Windows Media Center remote control to put the computer to sleep. Finally, you wake the computer and then try to continue watching Live TV or the same DVD. In this scenario, you can view the video in Live TV or on the DVD. But you cannot hear the accompanying audio.

Note: You can still hear audio in Windows Vista, in Windows Media Center, and in other programs.
When you play a Windows Media High Definition Video DVD in Windows Media Center in Windows Vista, the video may not be synchronized with the audio

When you play a Microsoft Windows Media High Definition Video (WMV HD) DVD or a WMV HD file in Windows Media Center in Windows Vista, the video may not be synchronized with the audio.

This problem may occur if the following conditions are true:
  • You pressed the Fast Forward button multiple times on the Media Center remote to fast forward the video at high speed.
  • You pressed the Play button to return the video to regular playback speed.
When this problem occurs, the audio plays at the new location. However, the video is not synchronized with the audio for a while. Eventually, the video catches up to the audio.
Voice commands may be unintentionally issued to Windows Speech Recognition when you play an audio file in Windows Vista

When you play an audio file in Windows Vista, voice commands may be unintentionally issued to Windows Speech Recognition. This problem may also occur if an audio file plays when you visit a Web site.
MIDI notes are played in the wrong order when you perform a capture operation on a MIDI audio device in Windows Vista

On a computer that is running Windows Vista, you perform a capture operation on a MIDI audio device by using the Microsoft DirectMusic components. When you do this, the MIDI notes are played in the wrong order.
When you use Windows Media Center to play live TV or a DVD on a Windows Vista-based computer, you cannot hear the audio after you wake the computer from sleep

Consider the following scenario:
  • You watch live TV or a DVD in Windows Media Center on a Windows Vista Home Premium-based computer or on a Windows Vista Ultimate-based computer.
  • You pause the live TV program or the DVD.
  • You use the Start menu, a sleep button on the keyboard, or a Windows Media Center remote control to put the computer to sleep.
  • You wake the computer, and then you try to continue watching the live TV program or the DVD.
In this scenario, you can view the video part of the live TV program or of the DVD. However, you cannot hear the accompanying audio.
Audio may not be synchronized with video playback when you play a video in Windows Vista

When you play a video or a DVD in Windows Vista, the audio part of the playback may not be synchronized with the video playback.
You notice timing jitter and clock drift when you perform an editing operation or a playback operation on a MIDI audio device in Windows Vista

On a computer that is running Windows Vista, you perform an editing operation or a playback operation on a MIDI audio device. When you do this, you may notice timing jitter and clock drift.

This problem occurs if the following conditions are true:
  • The MIDI device does not reside on the peripheral component interconnect (PCI) bus.
  • The MIDI device does not advertise any audio endpoints.
AVC functionality is not supported in Windows Vista

Windows Vista does not support audio video command (AVC) functionality. Specifically, Windows Vista does not support the following AVC functionality:
  • Capturing video from a set-top box (STB) or from digital TV (DTV)
  • Playing back content across the IEEE-1394 FireWire bus
  • Changing channels on an STB or a DTV as described in the CEA-931, the CEA-775, and the CEA-2027 standards