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Where's my sound?


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First of all, I hope i'm in the right place with an appropriate question.

I have a HP desktop that is about 4 years old. I had a crash a while back, and after doing

a system recovery, everything came back (including things I had installed after market which

I understood would not happen) except my sound.

It is impotant to realize you are dealing here with, um, a computer idiot, and all I can say is

my sound used to come out of speakers on my monitor, and though I have heard of drivers and sound cards, I don't know what I have.

If it helps, my model number is HP Pavillion a335w Desktop PC. I have browsed the forum

of HP users, and asked my question there, but got no reply, and my browsing only produced

a lot of new terms I didn't understand, though I did discover that there are MANY sound problems

with HP products of all kinds.

Of course, any help will be greatly appreciated, and laughing is allowed.


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First things first, and forgive me if I'm teaching my grandmother to suck eggs.

Have you moved your computer, or unplugged stuff from the back? If your loudspeakers are built into your monitor, you should have two separate cables running from the rear panel of the computer to the back of the monitor. One is a thick cable that carries the picture signal, and the other is probably much thinner, like an iPod earphones cable. It will have a plug which may be coloured green, plugged into one of a row of three small sockets, maybe coloured red, green and blue on the rear panel of the computer. It should be plugged into the green socket, which may have a label with a symbol showing audio out. The other end of this cable should be plugged into a socket (possibly it splits, and plugs into a pair of sockets) on the rear of the monitor.

It's a common diagnosis, when establishing why there's no sound, to find this cable plugged into the blue socket, or the red (pink) socket. It needs to be in the green one.

If there's nothing wrong with the connection of this cable, the next step is to establish whether Windows thinks the computer has sound circuitry. You mentioned you've installed after-market items. May I ask what? It can happen that such items can appear to Windows in such a way that they mask the presence of sound circuitry. Originally your computer had already identified the sound system and installed drivers for it before you installed your extra item(s). This time the extra items were present when Windows first started after the restore - so it might have allowed the extra items to hog the natural 'home' of the sound circuit, leaving the sound nowhere to 'live'.

Rather than go on about this interminably, perhaps you'd let us know how you get on with what I've suggested so far, and then we can look at how to establish if Windows knows you've got a sound card and what to do if it doesn't. It's a bit complicated. :lol:

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If your using windows, you can also do this.

In the tray on the lower right hand corner, look for the speaker icon. When you roll the pointer over it, it should say volume. Click on the icon. It should bring up a small window with a slide button and mute with a check box at the bottom. If the box is checked, your sound is muted. Uncheck it and your sound should return. If not, do the following.

Click Start in the lower left hand corner.

Click Control Panel.

Click Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices.

Then choose from the list of options.

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When all else fails, try System Restore to go back to a previous version of your computer's files (say, from last week or a month ago), when things were working:


On the Mac, we have Time Machine for the same thing, provided you have a backup disk installed. I've never had to use it, but it's nice to know it's there.

Update: Oops, I didn't realize you had already tried to use System Restore. My bad.

You can hunt around for support on the main Microsoft XP Help site:


That's the main page for "Sound Troubleshooting," and there's some good tips there.

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Ok, I've been a slacker and now i'll try to keep my replies in some semblence of order. I appreciate all the response, and

will even venture some hope that somebody can help the obviously helpless. :-)

The aftermarket stuff is just a few games from discs, which I mentioned because I thought I would have to remember where I put them

and I didn't.

The green cord is plugged into the green slot.

And I'm not muted, funny boy. Although, when I first did the restore, the volume icon was still in the bottom right section, but I moved

last year and had not noticed that is no longer there. I may have done something that picked what's down there, if that's how they get there, or whatever, it's not there and it used to be, and was after I was missing sound, at which time I checked the volume control and mute box.

When I went to control panel and sound devices in the past, or where ever someone may have told me to look, I always found it to say

everything was functional. Today, when I followed the instructions to cp, sound devices, on the opening tab which is volume, it says "no sound device". On the audio tab, where it says playback, recording etc, it says no default devices.

My daughter used to live with me, and when she left I made her remove her zillion files of downloaded music, and maybe whatever she used

to do that with, like Limewire or whatever.

It does appear like maybe I lost something somewhere and compounded the problem since it used to say things were functional.

If you're still with me, I promise to be diligent in keeping up with your posts. I am not, and would not want to appear, ungrateful. How I missed the notifications is anyone's guess.


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Tracy, my best advice is to wipe the machine and re-install Windows from scratch with the disks provided by the manufacturer.

Be sure to backup all your files and programs first. You'll need to be sure to get all the Windows updates before visiting other websites, and then install all the anti-virus/spyware/adware protections you can.

This should bring the sound back. I'm sure it's just a system file that got munged, but tracking it down would take more time than just reinstalling Windows.

There's also the 1% chance the soundcard has died, but if you hear a beep when the computer reboots, it's making sound somewhere.

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Got my Beeps, so that answers that. Thank you.

My computer didn't come with discs (someone else set it up for me, and back then I REALLY didn't know anything, so didn't even pay attention) and they suggested you make your own, which I did, but it took me two attempts, and I can't remember why except that it

did not go through to completion the first time. I guess I should assume they are OK, but maybe I will try to get a set from HP and do it

from them.

I do wish I knew when it went from saying functional to saying no device, but when you don't know what you're dealing with it's hard to

remember what you did or why you did it. That sounds so ridiculous, and to think when I was in college someone trusted me to backup

their whole research study files every weekend. I must follow simple directions pretty well, it's the thinking about what and why that gets

me into trouble. My logic is not like, well, anybody's.

I did go to the HP site where there was a lot of talk about sound problems and solutions, none of which I could follow with any confidence.

To go back to where the problem occured sounds like good advice, and I thank you for your time and attention. It will no doubt take me a

bit, but you'll certainly hear about it if I get it solved--I won't be able to contain myself.


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  • 5 weeks later...
I noted that someone suggested you buy a mac when you eventually replace your HP. I point you to this; http://www.awesomedude.com/adboard/index.php?showtopic=3650

I sent this to lots of Mac owners I know and about half don't speak to me any more.

Could that be a blessing in disguise? :icon_twisted:

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There's also the 1% chance the soundcard has died, but if you hear a beep when the computer reboots, it's making sound somewhere.

The beeps you hear on power-up are not generated through the sound card, but through the (usually very small) system speaker mounted on the motherboard. It's there only to make the beeps to let you know if there's a hardware problem. The sound card can't be used for this process because the sound card drivers haven't been loaded yet; that won't happen until the OS is loaded and running successfully.

I strongly advise against wiping the hard drive and reinstalling Windows to try to resolve this problem. It could be a hardware problem with the sound card. Wiping the hard drive and doing a clean install of Windows means going through the tasks of saving all of the data files, recording all of the settings for Windows (like your ISP settings and passwords to get on the internet), recording the settings for application programs, reinstalling Windows, reinstalling peripheral drivers for printers, mice, etc., reinstalling every application program, restoring all of the data and hoping that you didn't miss some critical data files, and reentering all of the settings for Windows and your application programs. There are several other alternatives:

1. Have a friend who's a PC expert check out your sound problem (his time will be free; you may have to buy a new sound card).

2. Replace your sound card (low to modest cost).

3. Take the PC to a reputable computer repair shop and have them fix it (medium to high cost).

4. As a last resort, do a refresh install of Windows that will retain all of your data files, applications programs, and settings (free, but unlikely that this will solve the problem)

Colin :icon_twisted:

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I can't decide which of your quotes I like best! :lol:

I am relieved to hear I don't have to reinstall Windows, as nothing for me seems

to go as planned, and drastic measures make me think "drastic consequences".

I think I will have to start at step two, because I seem to know a number of folks

who think they are experts, I have yet to see evidence of that fact. Thanks also

for the info about the beeps, seems sophistocated to me but is likely elementary to

you. I do best when spoken to simply, hehe, and slowly is good too.

So here's to hoping a sound card will do it, but don't be surprisd if i'm back saying

"what do I do with this thing?".

Have I said you guys are wonderful? I really do appreciate every bit of your attention.


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My own experience with sound cards would suggest that somewhere a configuration or preference setting has been altered by accident or another program.

Uninstalling the sound card drivers and reinstalling those drivers may solve the problem. :lol:

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If you only knew what you were getting yourself into...though this seems like a good

step one.

Instructions for a young child, or where to get them would be very much appreciated.

And if we've covered this before, your infinite patience is again a blessing I may or may

not deserve. :lol:


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If you only knew what you were getting yourself into...though this seems like a good

step one.

Instructions for a young child, or where to get them would be very much appreciated.

And if we've covered this before, your infinite patience is again a blessing I may or may

not deserve. :icon1:


A nice girl like you deserves everything you get, except my boy friend. :hehe:

I'll write later. Right now I must get some sleep. :lol:

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  • 3 months later...

I have sound!

So it came with a new computer attached to it. I believe the thing is called a hard drive,

and mine died. God works in mysterious ways, and the long way around still finds me

just as happy when I get there.

If that's not the philosophy of a Dork, then it's likely they don't have one.



Now I can sing along with AD radio.


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I hope you bought a Mac! [running for my life]

BTW, I was just at the Apple store in Northridge (20 miles N of LA) this afternoon, and damned if there weren't like 80 people shopping in the store. It was F'in' jammed!

It was also announced this week that Apple has 91% (!!!) of the over-$1000 laptop market. Granted, most of the entire laptop market is under $1000, but still, it's clear a ton of people are buying Macs for some reason.

Me, I've bought two new Windows Vista machines this year, so I'm bucking the trend. But I try to use my Macs for the bulk of my work most of the time.

At the risk of repeating myself, my advice for Tracy is: 99% of the time, the answer is 1) "reinstall your drivers", and 2) reinstall Windows. That will fix it most of the time.

I've had this happen once with Macs in 20 years, but only once. It's happened a dozen times with Windows (especially Windows95, which was a horror show). Go figure.

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WBMS gave me the greatest definition of the difference between a Mac and

a PC, and in one sentence sold me on Mac. Unfortunately, I haven't convinced

anyone to buy me one.

So I have Vista, which so far, for two days and my purposes, does not seem

much different than XP. I've heard some groans about it, but when you're

me, the most basic operations present a surprising amount of unusual difficulty. :icon11:

For the life of me, I can't imagine why a person would have 3 or 4 computers.

One to stay and one to go is about all I can come up with. That, and "gee, he must

be really smart.... :lol:

There is something to be said for a person who thinks a current version of

Microsoft Word, and sound, are worth 500.00. My daughter sums it up rather

nicely, in a word... DORK! Yea, well, that's a happy dork anyway, at least



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For the life of me, I can't imagine why a person would have 3 or 4 computers. One to stay and one to go is about all I can come up with.

A few reasons that justify it for me:

1) we have a bunch of rooms in the house, so I have one in the bedroom, one in the kitchen, one in my office, one in my partner's office, plus we each have laptops. I also have a fairly substantial collection of music and videos, with separate computers devoted to each. In some cases, these are real cheap (<$400) computers, so it wasn't a substantial investment.

I also have a very tiny Asus netbook that I drag into work on occasion, plus another Mac laptop devoted only to recording sound on location.

2) often, the only way to fix a computer is to use another computer, like trying to troubleshoot bad monitors and video cards, or trying to resurrect a crashed hard drive. Plus, an extra computer is extremely handy for certain kinds of specialized jobs, like backups and file copying. That way, your main computer isn't tied up for hours doing one thing.

3) my partner and I have owned computers almost since the day the IBM PC and the Apple Mac were first released in the 1980s. We usually give our old computers away to friends and relatives, but sometimes we'll hold on to some recent-vintage machines just for the above reasons. For example, the 8-year-old computer in the kitchen works fine just as a web browser. So it's not like we have ten brand-new computers sitting around the house.

4) we reuse a lot of components even when we replace the computer itself. For example, I really like Dell monitors, and I'll buy those instead of Apple monitors because they work great on Windows and Mac computers. And I'm a big believer in 3-button mice, which Apple kind of steers away from.

There is something to be said for a person who thinks a current version of

Microsoft Word, and sound, are worth 500.00.

I don't consider myself a computer nerd, because I generally think only think about getting specific results out of using the machine. I'm not a guy who enjoys tinkering with computers just for the sake of it. To me, it's all about the software and performing a specific job in a way that makes me comfortable.

In your case, I wouldn't buy a computer just to use Microsoft Office. In fact, I'm getting to the point where I'm staying away from Office just for philosophical reasons, and moving more towards Open Office (available for free from openoffice.org) and other open-source software. The user interface is close enough to Office 2006/2007 that I have no problem using it, and it's 100% compatible with all .doc files.

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My world expands by the minute around here. I am continually amazed at what I get just for having an open channel from my mind to my mouth, and how useful the information turns out to be.

I really bought a computer because I can't live without one and mine died. The Word thing was a bonus that was pointed out to me after the fact by Rick Beck, as it means I can make myself useful to him by correcting his spelling without obliterating the format his work must be in for posting. But your info about the alternative means I can let the trial run out without shelling out the 2 or 3 hundred bucks to purchase it. God love you!

The picture painted of your household with a computer for every room and need has some humor in it, and a degree of functionality beyond even my wildest dreams. My understanding of music and video requirements comes from my daughter who says "I can, and you can't".

You're very gracious, and I appreciate that.


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My daughter sums it up rather nicely, in a word... DORK! Yea, well, that's a happy dork anyway, at least temporarily.


And long may you continue happy, dork or otherwise.

I can second Pecman's endorsement of OpenOffice. it works just fine and it's free. What more could you want? :)

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One friend of mine recently quipped, "the only room in this house that doesn't have computers or video in it is the cat litter room." I may give them a busted Linux box, but only dial-up. I ain't payin' for broadband for cats! (Even I have my limits.)

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:icon11::lol::icon_cat::icon_cat::icon_cat::icon_cat::icon_cat::icon_cat::icon_cat::icon_cat: :icon

And a Cat lover, too...it just gets better and better. If you give your cats a 'puter, they can answer my questions!


p.s. is it hijacking if it's a thread you started yourself?

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