Windows 10 Audio Troubleshooting Guide

An introduction and some troubleshooting steps to fixing common audio issues in Windows 10 with Zoom and Skype for Business.

Windows 10 Sound Settings

To open the Windows 10 Sound Settings, open your Start menu and type "sound settings" and select the top option.

Windows 10 - Open Sound Settings

From the Sound Settings window, you have access to all of your audio devices and can change some of their settings directly.

Windows 10 Sound Settings window.


You can select your Output Device (where sound will come from - speakers or headphones) as well as change the volume. To change the Output device, you can click the dropdown menu that shows the name of your currently-select output device. To change the volume, you can simply drag the Master Volume slider.

Windows 10 Output Device Settings


You can select your Input Device (our microphone) as well as change the input volume by opening the Microphone Device Properties and changing the Volume Slider there.

Windows 10 Input Device settings and Microphone Properties.

Zoom Client Audio Device Settings

To open the Zoom Client Audio Device Settings, first open your Zoom client by opening your Start menu and typing "Zoom." In the Zoom window, click the grey Gear icon underneath your profile picture at the top right.

Zoom Settings Button

Audio settings can be accessed in the Audio tab on the left side of the Settings window. 

Zoom Audio Settings

From here, you can directly select which audio devices Zoom will use by clicking the dropdown lists under Speaker or Microphone – that can mean either choosing a specific device, or choosing “Same as System” in which Zoom will defer to the Windows Sound Settings. You can also change the volume of your speakers from here, but you cannot directly change the volume of your microphone – you’ll have to do that in the Sound Settings mentioned above. 

Quick tip: Set the Microphone volume to 100% in the Windows Sound Settings, and just check the box in Zoom to Automatically Adjust Microphone Volume. That will usually get you ideal audio levels.

Zoom also has in-meeting audio controls, which can be accessed by clicking the ^ symbol next to the Mute button in the bottom left of your meeting window.

Zoom In-Meeting Audio Controls

From here you can select any of your available audio devices to change your microphone or your speaker, or you can click the "Audio Settings…" option at the bottom to open the full Audio Device Settings window shown above.

Skype for Business Audio Device Settings

To open the Skype for Business Audio Device Settings, first open your Skype for Business client by opening your Start menu and typing "Skype for Business." Then, click the grey Gear icon at the top right.

Skype for Business Settings

Select the Audio Device tab on the left.

 Skype for Business Audio Device Settings

From here, you can select your audio device and change volume levels of your speaker and microphone. Skype’s setting are slightly more restrictive in that you cannot select separate input and output devices – it wants to use a single audio device that supports both input and output (e.g. a desk phone, a headset, or a conference speaker with a built-in microphone).


Basic troubleshooting steps.

"How do I know which device to choose?"

Most devices will have relatively descriptive names – if you aren’t sure, all 3 settings windows have options to test the device. 

The Windows Sound Settings output can be tested just by clicking on the volume slider – it will play a single tone. The microphone will have a bar under “Test your microphone” that will show the volume of input audio it’s receiving. 

The Zoom Audio Settings have a Test Speaker button that will play a short tone out of the selected speaker. The Test Mic button will record a short section of audio input and play it back. 

The Skype Audio Device settings are similar to Zoom, with a green triangle button to test output and a volume input bar next to the microphone.

"My microphone is too quiet."

Make sure your microphone volume is turned up in the Windows Sound Settings as shown above.


"My microphone doesn’t work."

Make sure you have the correct microphone selected, both in the Windows Sound Settings and whichever application you’re using. In addition, make sure you don’t have another application trying to simultaneously use the same microphone (e.g. a Zoom call and a Skype call at the same time)

"My microphone sounds bad."

Make sure you’ve selected the proper microphone device. In many cases applications will default to a built-in microphone in a webcam, and those are very often extremely low quality. Refer to the instructions above to change the audio device in your chosen application.

"My speakers are quiet."

Turn up the Audio Output volume in the Windows Sound Settings. If it’s at maximum and your speakers are still too quiet, check and see if they have a hardware volume control (e.g. a knob on the front of a set of speakers).Unfortunately, especially in the case of built-in laptop speakers, sometimes they're just more quiet than we'd like. Feel free to contact your local IT Pro to discuss additional speaker options.

"I'm using a front audio jack, and my microphone doesn't appear."

This can be caused by several things, and has to do with how particular Windows audio drivers see a device's physical audio jacks. Different devices will have different audio drivers, and thus different settings that may need to be modified. Please consult with your IT Pro before making any changes to your audio drivers or their settings. Two common audio driver managers are mentioned below.

For Dell devices using the MaxxAudioPro audio drivers, you can open the MaxxAudioPro application with your headset plugged in. Under the Playback tab, next to "Select Output Device", change it to "Headset."

For devices using the Realtek HD Audio drivers, you can open the Realtek HD Audio Manager in the Control panel. From the list at the bottom, click the jack that your headset is plugged into, and it will allow you to select the "Headset" option that will activate the microphone.

Keywordsaudio, sound, microphone, speakers, headset, Zoom, Skype   Doc ID108603
OwnerAlex G.GroupAnswers @ ACES
Created2021-01-26 13:38:47Updated2021-01-28 16:02:05
SitesUniversity of Illinois - College of ACES
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