I recently worked with a client computer that gave it a “no active mixing devices” error whenever it clicked on the volume icon in the taskbar. This problem came out of nowhere and it felt like there was never any sound in the computer!
Everything was inactive in the Sound and Audio Devices or Sound applet in Control Panel, and the message “No audio device” appeared on the Volume tab. In Windows 7, the “No Sound Devices Installed” message appears on the Playback tab.
After checking the Hardware section under System Properties, we found a couple of yellow exclamation marks next to the multimedia audio controller. This issue would now be easier to fix if a separate sound card was installed on the computer, and it would simply require downloading and reinstalling the latest driver for the sound card.
Sometimes the driver gets damaged and the sound disappears. In this case, simply go to the Dell, HP or your manufacturer’s website and download the audio drivers. After installing the required drivers, you should go to Device Manager, right-click on your audio device under Sound, Video and Game Controllers and see something similar to the one below.
For the driver vendor, you might see other names like Realtek, etc., depending on the sound card manufacturer. If your sound card is integrated into the motherboard, you will have to reinstall the motherboard chipset drivers. Follow the previous link to install the chipset drivers for your motherboard manufacturer.
Windows Sound Service
If you get an inactive issue in Control Panel, but it seems that the driver is installed fine in Device Manager, then your only other issue is probably with the Windows Audio service. If for any reason the service is stopped, you will experience the aforementioned problems. To fix this problem, we need to open the Services dialog box.
To do this, click Start and then run and type services.msc in Windows XP, or just click Start and type services.msc in Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8.
By default, the Status section should indicate Started. If not, you need to double-click the service, start it, and then set the Startup type to Automatic.
Reboot your computer. Hopefully you can change the sound properties in Control Panel and play sounds on your computer. If you still have problems, please leave a comment and we’ll try to help. Enjoy!