Missing playback or recording devices in Windows Vista or 7

Updated: 06/30/2020 by Computer Hope
Missing sound

By default, Windows Vista and 7 will not show playback or recording devices that are disabled. To show these disabled devices, and then enable them, follow the steps below.

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Look for the Hardware and Sound link. If you do not see it, select View by: Category in the upper-right corner.
  3. Click the Hardware and Sound link, then click the Sound icon or the Manage audio devices link underneath it.
  4. At the top of the Sound window, click the either the Playback or Recording tab.
  5. Right-click anywhere in the box where the devices are listed.
  6. Click Show Disabled Devices so there is a check mark next to it.
  7. This action displays any disabled device relevant to the category. If no new devices are found, it is because it is not detected by Windows. If you're having sound issues, we'd suggest reinstalling your sound drivers.
  8. Right-click any new (or previously existing) grayed-out icon(s) and select Properties or Enable.
  9. If you selected Properties, beside Device usage there is a drop-down menu.
  10. Select on Use this device (enable).
  11. Click OK.

If you are still unable to locate your missing sound device, you may need to remove it using the Windows Device Manager, and reboot so Windows can detect the device again. For more information, see: How to remove a device in Windows Device Manager.