The following guide provides you with a fix that may help you recover a Windows 7 system if sound suddenly stops playing.
Something strange happened from one day to the next on a computer system running Windows 7 Professional. The sound would stop playing even though sound worked before, and was configured properly.
What this meant was that no sound was audible regardless of the program used to produce it. This included music files, video files, YouTube videos and games, and regardless of the program used.
Video players, music players, computer games, and browsers would produce no sound at all anymore on the system.
Something was wrong and I had to troubleshoot the issue to find out why sound was not working on the system. The puzzling thing was that I did not make any modifications to the system.No software installation, no changes to sound related settings or anything like that.
The Creative X-FI sound card was connected, the volume was set to a moderate level and the devices were enabled. Still no sound in Windows 7.
A check in the Sound control on the Control Panel showed the devices that were able to produce sound on the computer system.
The strange thing here was that the default device was set to be WSAudio_DeviceS and not the Creative SB X-Fi Speakers. The configuration looked like the following in the Sound control panel:
The default device is the WsAudio_DeviceS(1), and the Creative SB X-Fi Speakers are only set to be the default communications device. It is possible to change the default device with a right-click on the preferred device for default sound playback and the selection of Set As Default Device from the menu.
This turned the sound back on immediately. A good way to test is to play some sound in the background while performing the operation. Later that day the sound device was switched again to WsAudio-DeviceS(1) which was obviously not wanted. It is unclear why the device was switched again.
The only viable solution to prevent that was to disable the device that was not needed by right-clicking and selecting Disable in the Sound control panel. This removed the device from the display and prevented Windows 7 from switching the sound output device again.
Please note that the same sound control panel is also part of Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. You can use the same process described above to troubleshoot sound issues on those newer versions of Windows as well.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.