Windows Vista Tutorial

Enable the speakers in Windows Vista

The previous tutorial explained how you can disable your speakers in Windows Vista; of course, Vista lets you re-enable speakers. Whether you accidentally disabled your speakers, someone did is as a bad prank, or if a driver update caused the problem, this tutorial will explain how you can enable your speakers, or re-enable them, as the case may be. Enabling your speakers may be a solution for sound problems, if Windows no longer makes any sounds, or if applications, like iTunes, that usually produce sounds are now completely mute.


Access your speakers' properties

Access sound configuration settings To open Windows Vista's Sound properties and settings to enable or disable your speakers, click on the Start button and click Control Panel. Now type speaker in the Control Panel's search box (which is located in top right corner of the window).

Manage audio devices in Windows Vista Windows Vista will now show all settings related to speakers (containing "speaker" in their description). The results displayed contain a "Sound" section: click its "Manage audio devices" link, below Adjust system volume. Vista will load the Sound properties dialog, with the Playback tab preselected (the one we want).

If you are using Vista's Classic Start Menu, go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Sound. This will directly open the Sound dialog, without having to go through the Control Panel.

Enable or re-enable a set of speakers in Windows Vista

Display disabled audio devices in Windows Vista The Sound dialog's Playback tab provides a listing of all the speakers detected by Windows Vista: by default, the disabled speakers are not displayed in the list, so if you do not see the speakers you want to enable, right-click anywhere inside the Select a playback device below to modify its settings area, and choose "Show Disabled Devices" from the menu.

Enabled a disabled audio device or speaker in Windows Vista This will displays any disabled audio devices, including speakers, that Windows Vista knows about. (If the speakers you want to enable are not listed among the disabled audio devices, a later sound troubleshooting tutorial will explain in details how to proceed.) Right-click on the speakers to enable, and choose Enable from the context menu that appeared.

Notice that the disabled speakers' icon displays a black, downward pointing arrow - Windows Vista also indicates "Disabled" next to the icon. Once you have enabled the speakers, a new icon is displayed in place of the former, and it now features instead a green checkmark, as shown on the screenshot below:

Fully-functioning speakers in Windows Vista

Notice too that the speakers now say "Working" (i.e. "Enabled") where "Disabled" used to be displayed.

Why enabling and disabling speakers is so easy in Windows Vista

The reason Windows Vista lets you enable, disable, and re-enable speakers so quickly is because it only installs the needed sound drivers (if any) the first time the speakers are connected. Anytime you disable and re-enable the speakers, Vista just keeps track of the virtual on-and-off switch, without uninstalling any speaker features or drivers. (This is also the reason Windows Vista can optionally display disabled speakers: it has not uninstalled or removed them from your system).

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