Seeing the “No Audio Output Device Is Installed” message on your PC can be frustrating, as this often means you’re now “stuck” without any sound coming from your computer.
With such limitations, participating in meetings and calls, relaxing by listening to music, or following instructions from online tutorials and lessons is virtually impossible.
Luckily, as daunting as this problem may look at first, it’s relatively easy to solve, and we’ve prepared the most efficient methods for it.
Without further ado, let’s get into it.
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The Problem Explained
We use the Windows taskbar indicators daily for many reasons.
For example, the time and date section is one of the most helpful features. The same applies to the internet connection icon, the Windows update notification, and what’s most relevant for this specific guide, the Windows volume indicator.
The “No audio output device is installed” error manifests by displaying a red “x” mark next to the volume icon. The icon also sets itself to the “lowest” visual level.
Note: For those who haven’t noticed, the Windows volume icon changes based on the current sound level you have set. So, having the volume set at 100% will have all sound waves showing, while having it at zero, such as while dealing with this error, there will be no waves showing.
Ultimately, hovering over the icon with your cursor “pops up” a message stating that “no audio output device is installed.” That concludes that the problem you’re dealing with is the exact same one we cover in this guide.
But what leads to this?
Well, there are several reasons everything was working as intended recently, but now you see this error and have no sound on your PC.
- You’ve intentionally or accidentally modified something regarding your sound drivers, or you don’t have the latest version installed.
- Your default playback device is damaged, disabled using a hardware switch, or is no longer set as default.
- The port where your default audio device is connected stopped working or got damaged.
- A major Windows update installed on your PC misconfiguring personal preferences and settings. This one is a common cause.
- If using a wireless device, there may be an issue with the connection.
Those were all common causes of the problem, and they are not few. Fortunately, there are ways to fix it, and the methods aren’t too demanding either.
Let’s take a look at the different approaches to solve this problem and restore your computer’s ability to emit sound during various activities.
Fix 1: Ensure There’s A Default Device Assigned In Your Sound Settings
One of the easiest and most basic methods to fix this issue is to ensure there’s a default audio device assigned in your sound settings panel. There should be, at all times, but as mentioned earlier, after a major Windows update the settings can change on their own.
So, here’s what you can do to ensure this isn’t the cause:
- Right-click the Windows Sound (Volume) icon on your taskbar, then choose the “Open Sound settings” option.
- Under the Output category, expand the “choose your output device” field by clicking on the downwards-pointing arrow, and choose the device you wish to set as your default output device.
Now, you should be able to hear a sound if the device you’ve set as default is properly configured. The error should also no longer appear when you hover over the sound icon on your taskbar.
Fix 2: Run The Windows Audio Troubleshooter
If the previous method did not fix the problem, the second option would be to run the Windows troubleshooter.
That can sometimes detect problems we cannot see “on the surface” and help you fix them without much effort, as most of the process is automatized.
However, the first step is to ruin the Windows Audio Troubleshooter, and here’s how to do that:
- Right-click the sound icon on your taskbar and choose “Troubleshoot sound problems.”
- You’ll notice your PC is working on detecting currently-connected devices, so give it a few moments.
- When done, you’ll see a list of devices you can troubleshoot. Choose the one you wish to hear sound from and click the Next button, as shown in the image below.
- Follow the recommended steps throughout the rest of the setup.
When done, the problem should no longer occur. However, this may not always fix the problem, which is why we recommend checking the other methods listed below if you’re still unable to hear sound on your PC.
Fix 3: Update Your Audio Drivers
Outdated or corrupt drivers are one of the main leading causes of various PC issues. If there’s something wrong with your audio drivers, it may be the reason you see the “no audio output device is installed” error.
Updating any drivers is relatively easy using the Device Manager panel. Here’s how you can do it easily:
- Simultaneously press Windows + S on your keyboard, then type in Device Manager and choose the first result, as shown in the images below.
- Now, in the Device Manager panel open on your screen, click the arrow to expand the Sound, Video, and Game Controllers category.
- Right-click the items listed in this category, then choose Update Driver and Search Automatically For Drivers for each one separately. Do the same for the Audio inputs and outputs category too.
When all drivers update to the latest version, reboot your PC and see if the problem persists. This method helped many users overcome the issue, so it should work for you too.
Fix 4: Download The Latest Windows Update
Windows updates are crucial for your computer’s performance, safety, and stability. We always recommend installing the latest one available for your PC.
However, as mentioned above, when updating your operating system, many settings can change or become misconfigured, different from your personal preferences.
The good thing is that Windows updates often contain solutions for known bugs and problems, so updating may fix the issue you’re currently facing.
Make sure to re-visit method #1 after updating, as the default devices are often deselected right after installing the latest version.
That’s everything you should know about this Windows error causing your PC to be unable to emit sound from any device.
If you want to fix it, following the methods in this guide should make that much easier for you.