How to fix audio problems on your Windows PC

For all its positives, Windows sometimes acts in unexpected ways—like a sudden lack of audio. If your computer abruptly stops playing sound, try these easy steps to fix the issue:

No sound in one app

  1. First, reboot your computer.
  2. Confirm the program’s volume isn’t turned down or muted. In browsers like Chrome and Firefox, each tab can be muted individually—right-click a tab to see its status. (The option will say “Unmute tab” if currently silenced.)
  3. If you still can’t hear anything in this program, try uninstalling and reinstalling it. Before doing so, first back up any data and/or write down how your settings are currently configured, as applicable.Note: For paid software, your license for the program may be tied to a specific version—if that’s the case, you may need to do a little hunting to find its installation program on the vendor’s website. This same advice applies if you just prefer your version of the app over the current one.

No sound at all

Playback device selection in the Windows taskbar for Win 10 and Win 11
First thing to check: The audio output device. Windows can sometimes change it to a different source unbeknownst to you. (To view this image full-size, right-click on it and choose “Open in new tab.”)


  1. First, check to make sure Windows is using the correct device for speaker output by clicking on the speaker icon in the taskbar. (Sometimes Windows will switch output to a different device, unbeknownst to you.) At the top of the pop-up window, you’ll see the name of the speaker currently in use—e.g., Speakers (2-Anker PowerConf). Click on that name to switch to the proper device, if applicable. If using external speakers, make sure they are powered on.
  2. Reboot your computer.
  3. Verify via the speaker icon in the taskbar that the audio is not muted and is turned up.
  4. Ensure that the computer isn’t muted via hardware, such as a dedicated mute button on you laptop or keyboard. Test by playing a song.
  5. Right-click the volume icon and click Open Volume Mixer. Ensure that all options are on and turned up.
  6. Internal speakers still not working on your laptop? Plug headphones into the audio jack and test again. If the headphones work, remove them to continue troubleshooting the internal speakers.
  7. For desktop systems with speakers plugged into the 3.5mm jack, try a USB speaker or USB headphones. (Or visa versa.) If the alternative device works, remove it to continue troubleshooting the initial set of speakers. (See our roundup of best budget computer speakers if you are in need of a new set.)
  8. Right-click the volume icon again and choose Open Sound settings (Windows 10) or Sound settings (Windows 11). For Windows 10, find Related Settings in the window that opens, then click on Sound Control Panel. For Windows 11, scroll down to the Advanced section of the window that opens, then click on More sound settings. For both operating systems, a new, smaller window labeled Sound will appear. Click on the Playback tab, and then confirm that your audio device (likely “Speakers”) has a green checkmark next to it. Then click Properties and make sure that Use this device (enable) is selected.

If your sound still doesn’t work by this point, you may have a missing or corrupt driver for your audio controller.

  1. Uninstall the driver. Open the Device Manager (type device manager in the taskbar search box), go to Sound, video and game controllers, select the audio controller for the device that’s malfunctioning, and press the Delete key.
  2. Reboot the system and allow Windows to reinstall the driver, which it should do automatically. If it doesn’t, download the driver from your PC maker’s site or audio card manufacturer’s site, and reinstall it manually.

Author: Alaina Yee, Senior Editor

Alaina Yee is PCWorld’s resident bargain hunter—when she’s not covering PC building, computer components, mini-PCs, and more, she’s scouring for the best tech deals. Previously her work has appeared in PC Gamer, IGN, Maximum PC, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @morphingball.

Recent stories by Alaina Yee:

Local Locksmith

I just want to say that Bob Danelz, SaddleBrooke Locksmith, is awesome. He lives in SaddleBrooke and is a true asset. I work for Beth Fedor, Realtor and we had a situation where the locks needed to be rekeyed ASAP so I called Bob. 520.444.3351. He went over first thing this morning, rekeyed the locks and did a perimeter check only to find that one of the sliding doors had been left unlocked so he checked all doors and windows before leaving the home to ensure it was secure.

Some Intel CPUs are breaking Chrome and Edge — here’s what you can do

© Provided by Tom’s GuideIntel Alder Lake mobile CPU promo image

Intel is aware of the issue and posted about it on its website. The company says that recent Intel UHD Graphics 770 drivers for Alder Lake CPUs are causing Chromium-based browsers to “lag severely.” Browsers behave as if they’re “semi-frozen,” with click response times as slow as two seconds. Scrolling is also “delayed and choppy.” 

Intel said the issue can happen by opening many tabs at once or scrolling and clicking around. Using a mechanical hard disk drive (HDD) also causes problems.

So far, this problem is linked to machines with both Alder Lake CPUs and UHD Graphics 770 integrated GPUs. Eighteen desktop and laptop CPU models released between late 2021 and early 2022 are directly affected. This ranges across the i5 through i9 lines. There’s a full list of models with UHD 770 integrated GPUs that you check out to see if you’re at risk.

Intel details how affected users can resolve this problem, suggesting users update the browser and Windows to their respective latest versions. Users should also update the graphics driver with a clean install, along with disabling hardware acceleration on the browser or switching from an HDD to an SSD.

We expect issues to pop up with new tech, but this particular problem seems especially troublesome. After all, Chromium browsers — specifically Google Chrome — are the most widely used on Earth. Unlike AMD CPUs slowdowns in Windows 11, you’ll actually see these slowdowns since you’d only notice the latter if you were looking at your CPU speeds. 

Hopefully, Intel rolls out a fix sooner rather than later. The company certainly doesn’t need this hanging over its head before the global launch of its Intel Arc Alchemist desktop GPUs, which are expected to arrive in late summer.

Find out who’s calling you from an unknown or blocked number

Star 69

Unwanted calls can be so frustrating. You’ll find yourself typing something like “no caller ID how to find out who called” or “how to find out no caller ID” into the search bar to get answers.

That can take a long time, though. When mysterious phone calls clutter your call log, this phone number lookup trick helps you identify the unknown number calling your device. Follow these steps, and you won’t have to grimace when you look down at your phone and see that unknown number.

You may have heard of or used *67 to conceal your number from someone you called. Did you know there are similar numbers you can dial to respond to these anonymous callers?

The first one is *69, which traces the number of the last person who called you. It works even for anonymous or hidden calls, so you can get the phone number and the exact time they called.

Once you have that hidden phone number, you can block it on your phone, so it can’t call you anymore.

RELATEDTap or click here for ways to block unwanted robocalls

Dialing *69 may also provide you with the option to call a number back right then and there, so if you want to confront a scam or spam caller, you can. But don’t expect to get any information from them or be removed from their list.

Another number you can use to trace a call is *57. This is the number to use if you believe a scam or spam caller is harassing you. *57 gets you the phone number and call information *69 does, but it goes above and beyond.

When you dial *57, the information you obtain is passed along to the police. Your phone service will log a *57 call in a special way, so authorities can more easily locate whoever is harassing you and arrest them.

You’re also meant to call the police right after a *57 call with a written log of the calls from your harasser so that the police can act. If you feel an anonymous caller is contacting you too often, it’s worth using this number; otherwise, stick with *69.

Note: Many phone companies charge extra for *69 and *57 calls, so don’t be surprised to see a few additional charges on your bill if you use them. Also, not every phone company provides these services. Check with yours to see if it does.

Contact your phone provider

If you need help with a consistent spammer, you can contact your provider directly for caller ID services. You might even be able to find out who blocks your caller ID.

More importantly, you can also ask for Anonymous Caller ID on a particular caller. This can help you ID spammers and let you block them on your own if you don’t want to pay for a subscription. Tap or click here to see how the top carriers are fighting robocallers.

When inquiring about your carrier’s services and pricing, remember there are also third-party apps you can utilize.

Get an app

There’s an app for everything, including identifying unknown or blocked numbers as they come to your phone. (We don’t recommend relying on Siri’s suggestions.) One of the most popular apps is TrapCall. This app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

© Provided by KomandoFind out who’s calling you from an unknown or blocked number

It tells you the number of anonymous calls in real-time and can automatically block spam for you. It does notify you when it blocks a call, just in case you want to call back. But you can create a blacklist, and when they call, the app plays a message claiming your number was disconnected.

And fake numbers aren’t a problem, either. TrapCall forces callers to identify themselves before letting their calls go through. Get your first week of TrapCall free. Then it’s $3.95 a month for a single user or $7.95 for the premium package.

The premium package allows you to record incoming calls and the option to play a warning message to make sure whatever you do complies with your state’s laws. The warning is not mandatory.

There are other caller ID apps out there, as well, like Truecaller. Tap or click here to learn more about Truecaller.

For all those unknown callers

The goal of identifying unknown phone numbers is to block those you don’t want to speak to. If you have an iPhone, you can take a more extreme step and automatically block numbers that aren’t in your Contacts list.

This feature is called Silence Unknown Callers. Calls from numbers not in your Contacts will still go to your voicemail and appear in your recent calls list, but your phone won’t ring for them.

If you get a lot of unknown calls, this might be the feature for you. Just follow these steps to turn it on:

  • Go to Settings, then Phone.
  • Scroll down to the Silence Unknown Callers heading and select it.
  • Slide the toggle next to Silence Unknown Callers to the right to enable the feature.

A similar feature exists on the Samsung Galaxy. To activate that:

  • Open the Phone app, and tap the More icon at the bottom of the screen – it’s the one that’s three verticle dots.
  • Tap on Settings, then Call blocking.
  • Turn the Block anonymous calls switch to on.

If you have another type of Android, you can download the Should I Answer? app for a version of the Silence Unknown Callers feature.

Learning who is calling you anonymously can save you the headache and potential exploitation of spam and scam calls. Tap or click here for information regarding the Anti-robocall law.

Whether you have iOS or Android, use any of the above methods to ID hidden phone numbers and block them. Or block unknown numbers altogether. Whatever your method, you’ll be keeping yourself safe – and sparing yourself some annoyance – which is 100% worth the effort.

Bonus: How to tell if it’s a spam number

An easy way to find out is to Google the number. It’s kind of like a reverse image search.

By inputting the phone number into the search bar, you may see that it has been reported before. People on forums will often share stories about scammy calls, posting the scammers’ numbers for all the world to see.

If your Google search leads you to a forum of people discussing spammers, that’s a red flag. However, if the number shows up on a company website, that means the phone number may be from a legitimate company.

Notice that we said it may be from a legitimate company. Remember, caller ID spoofing is a huge problem. If a number calling you turns out to be from a company, that doesn’t necessarily mean the company itself is calling you.

DIY Remedy for Ants & Roaches

Forget the exterminator…

It’s not a secret in my household, I prefer to have my house clean at all times, however, I also understand there are times when we go to sleep and my child’s toys never got put away. While that’s okay, one thing I will never make an exception with is going to sleep with dirty dishes. The reason for this is not just because I appreciate the look of an empty sink and it usually gives me the energy I need to clean the rest of the kitchen, but mainly because I do not want to have roaches and ants in my house.

Thankfully, @rif_meista understands the annoyance of these unwanted pests and provided a solution so simple that should completely rid your home of roaches and ants!


View the original article to see embedded media.

This is such a simple solution! And if you live in the southern states, you might want to try this asap given the hot summer months are quickly approaching. The simple ingredients work together to attract the pests and ultimately kill them and apparently the boric acid is the key ingredient that does the job according to the comment section. “All you need is the boric acid,” @harleymom3 wrote. “Just use boric acid and sugar in water. It works,” @birdsarepeople2 commented. “Boric acid and peanut butter is the best bar none!” @magnoliaspx wrote.

There you have it. Be sure to add boric acid to your grocery list and see how works in your home.

Unclog Shower Head

How to Unclog Your Showerhead

Nick GerhardtNick GerhardtUpdated: Mar. 10, 2022

Check out a $5 fix to keep your shower clean.


Best Trick for Unclogging a Showerhead

Every few months, my showerhead gets partially clogged with calcium deposits from our well water. I used to remove the showerhead and soak it overnight in vinegar until the small holes were cleared. To get the job done faster, I bought a welding tip cleaner at my local home center for about $5. The cleaner has different-size abrasive needles that quickly knock out the mineral chunks from the tiny holes—no need to remove the showerhead. — reader Mike Henrich

Learn how to unclog just about anything else around the house.