Change or set the default speakers in Windows Vista
Windows Vista can handle multiple speakers connected to your computer; when it comes to outputting sound, though, Vista uses your default speakers, or the set of speakers that has either automatically become the default, or that has manually be set as the default speakers. Without having to unplug speakers to use another set (like speakers embedded in your monitor), this tutorial will show you how to set the default speakers in Windows Vista.
Access sound and speakers customization settings
To open Windows Vista's Sound properties and settings in the Control Panel, and customize speakers' properties and options, go to the Start Menu: click Control Panel. In the Control Panel main window that opened, type speaker in the Control Panel's search box (top right corner of the window).
Windows Vista will open all settings related to speakers (and containing "speaker" in their description). In the results displayed, locate the "Sound" section and click on "Manage audio devices", right below Adjust system volume. Vista will open the Sound properties of your system, and preselects the Playback tab.
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.
Set your default speakers
In the listing of available speakers that Windows Vista displays in the Sound dialog, there are two ways to quickly tell which speakers are currently the default speakers: first, a green checkmark is displayed in above the speaker icon; second, the Set Default button is disabled when you click on the speakers in question. To set your default speakers, select the speaker icon and click the Set Default button.
The speakers you selected are now your computer's default speakers, and will be automatically used for sound output by Windows Vista.
Note that most computers contain an internal speaker, used to send auditory cues in case of problem (ThinkPad laptops notoriously use this internal speaker when two keys on the keyboard are hit to quickly back to back). This internal speaker is useful in cases where problems arise before Windows Vista has fully booted up (e.g. a problem detected by the BIOS, or low level software that checks your computer when it starts). This rudimentary internal speaker has nothing to do with Windows Vista's speakers, which are typically external, or sometimes integrated to the hardware, as is the case for laptops and all-in-one PC's.up ↑