Windows Audio Guide: Troubleshoot, Customize, Optimize

Configuring Windows Sound Settings

Basic troubleshooting of Windows sound problems can be achieved by checking the sound settings. Here you should find that various issues such as low volume, accidentally muted devices, and activating and adjusting new sound settings can be dealt with simply via the user interface for the card.

Using these basic troubleshooting tips you should be able to learn pretty quickly the steps required for correctly configuring and changing sound settings, surround sound and accessing other sound options.

Choosing Audio Hardware

Finding the right audio hardware for your PC or laptop will help you to avoid problems in the long-term. The right hardware should fit the computer perfectly, both in terms of connection type and the capabilities and compatibility of the device and its drivers.

Tackling problems with your default sound device might require a simple fix of downloading a new driver, or you might find that a sound card is unsuitable for your motherboard. Choosing a stable sound card for your PC is vital for consistent performance, just as choosing the right USB microphone will help you avoid glitches!

Windows 7 Audio Drivers

The majority of audio problems in Windows 7 are caused by having missing or incorrect audio drivers installed. Drivers are required to allow your operating system to communicate with the sound card, and therefore send sound to your speakers or receive data from microphones. With the wrong drivers installed you're likely to experience poor or faulty performance from your sound card.

Finding the right drivers can be tricky in some cases. For instance, Windows XP may not be supported in newer sound cards, although there should be a driver available via Windows Update that might do the job.

To find the right sound card drivers you will need to identify the model of your sound card and visit the manufacturer's website to find the correct driver for your operating system. If this is not possible, alternative sources will need to be used.

Can’t Playback Audio?

Other Windows sound problems might have a very different cause: codecs.

Being aware of the audio formats supported natively by Windows Media Player 11 is a good start to working out what files you can or cannot playback. There is a chance that you will encounter more severe audio issues in Windows 7, but on the whole the majority of problems that you might encounter that are not hardware or driver related will require updated audio codecs. These are files that allow you to playback audio of a particular format that is not supported natively in Windows, and they are usually free to download and install.

Problems Recording Audio in Windows?

The native audio options in Windows 7 don't feature a competent sound recording tool, and there is nothing present that will allow you to edit audio tracks. In order to get around this shortcoming you will need to find some top audio editing applications or audio manipulation tools. Whether you simply want to record with a tool that has more options than the limited native application, or if you want to be able to edit the audio you have recorded, there are free and premium options for Windows 7 users to take advantage of.

Of course, audio problems are not particular to Windows 7; there are plenty of issues that you might encounter in Windows XP or Vista. On the whole the same steps as detailed above can be applied to these older operating systems in order to successfully troubleshoot any audio problems, although the process of recording audio is a little different.

Troubleshooting Audio in Windows Movie Maker

Audio issues in Windows can also occur in Windows Movie Maker, the popular movie editing tool that is available free from Microsoft. Problems might be related to the playback of the original audio track, or importing and adjusting new audio tracks for your movie project. In Windows Movie Maker it is possible to import several types of audio file to accompany your edited movie, such as MP3 music tracks or even audio from a completely different project. Audio start points, volume and even the speed of the audio playback can be edited, which is why any sound problems in Windows Movie Maker will need to be addressed if you are to complete your project as intended…

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