If you have just upgraded your PC to Windows 11 or Windows 10 and can’t find the Playback and Recording devices options where they usually are, here’s how to open them:
- Right-click the speaker icon on your taskbar and select Sound. This will bring up the Sound settings window.
- From there, you can go to the Playback tab to see a list of your audio playback devices or the Recording tab for your microphones and other recording devices.
Note: In Windows 11, after selecting Sound settings via the taskbar, you’ll need to select “More sound settings” on the Settings page to open the Sound window.
If the Playback devices won’t show up or won’t open when you click on them, it may be due to a bug or conflict during the update. Try running Windows Update to see if it fixes the issue.
Playback devices showing “No audio output device is installed” in Windows 11/10
If there is no audio device listed in the Playback tab and you see “No audio output device is installed” in Windows 11/10, it means that Windows has not detected a connected speaker, or the driver for your speaker is not installed or has become corrupted. Here’s how to fix it.
If you have a driver CD for your speaker, install it now. This should fix the problem. If you don’t have the driver, follow the solution below to reinstall your audio driver.
- Go to the Start menu and search for Device Manager, then open it.
- Expand Sound, video and game controllers.
- Right click your audio device. In the screenshot below, I have multiple audio devices in my computer. You might see different devices.
- Click on Update driver.
- Click Search automatically for updated driver software.
- When the driver is finished installing, restart your computer. Your audio should work now.
If you don’t see any device listed under “Sound, video and game controllers,” look under “Other devices” to see if there is any audio device with an exclamation mark. If so, it means that the driver for the connected audio device is not installed. Right-click it and select “Update driver.” Click “Search automatically” to let Windows find the driver automatically.
Related issue: Audio Not Working on Windows 11/10 After Update
If it fails to find a suitable driver, right-click it again and select “Update driver.” This time, select “Browse my computer for driver software.” In the next screen, click “Let me pick a list of available drivers on my computer.”
You may see different models in the list. For now, we will try with the Realtek High Definition Audio driver. Select it and then click “Next.” Windows will now install the driver automatically. When it’s done installing the driver, restart your PC. Your audio should work on the next restart.
Uninstall and reinstall audio device in Windows 10/11
If none of the above solutions work for you and the Playback devices tab is still not showing anything at all, another workaround you can try is to uninstall and reinstall your audio device:
- Open device manager.
- Expand Sound, video and game controllers.
- Right-click your audio device, then select Uninstall.
- Restart your computer.
- On the next startup, Windows will automatically attempt to download the driver that best matches your audio device from the Windows Update driver repository and install it. This should also fix the problem.
Other things you can try to fix the issue
In some cases, the issue may persist even after trying the above solutions. If you are still experiencing problems with your audio devices, there are a few other things you can try:
- Check your hardware: Make sure that your speakers or headphones are properly connected to your PC and turned on. Also, check if the volume is turned up and not muted.
- Run the Audio Troubleshooter: Windows has an Audio Troubleshooter tool that can help diagnose and fix common audio problems. To access it, go to Start menu > Settings > System > Troubleshoot > Additional troubleshooters > Playing Audio. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the troubleshooting process.
- Reset Windows: If none of the above solutions work, it may be necessary to reset Windows to factory defaults to fix the issue. Before doing so, make sure to back up your important files and data.
It’s important to note that some audio devices may not be compatible with Windows 11 or Windows 10. In such cases, you may need to purchase a new device that is compatible with your operating system.