Headphones Not Working On Laptop? Follow this Troubleshooting Guide

Have you also faced the problem of headphones not working when connected to the laptop? This can be the most frustrating thing ever, especially when you’re done with all of your work and are just starting to binge-watch some movies. The reason could be either your headphones are faulty, or it is just not getting detected by your laptop. 

Whatever the reason may be, it can be more frustrating if you need your headphones urgently and they just can’t start working. If you’re still wondering, “why aren’t my headphones working on my pc?” we’re here to rescue. 

You are in the right place. We got a one-stop guide for all the possible solutions you can try when the headphone is not working on the laptop. Try the following steps and find out what exactly is wrong with the device and how you can fix it: 

How to Fix Headphones Not Working When Plugged into Laptop Issue?

The reasons for your laptop headphones not working can confuse you to a great extent. There can be so many reasons for the issue that can fill your mind with chaos, and you’ll be unable to decide where to start.

Here’s what you should do stepwise to identify and locate the exact issue and troubleshoot.

1. Ensure To Connect Your Headphones Properly

The first thing you should always do is make sure that the headphones are connected to the laptop properly. Whether you’re using wired or wireless headphones, improper connectivity to the system can cause static, unclear audio, and interruptions in between. Your laptop may also stop recognizing the headphones for the same reason. 

In the case of wired headphones, ensure that they are plugged in properly inside the audio jack and most importantly, inside the correct port. The audio port usually has a headphone symbol or a color code to help you recognize and plug in the headphone jack. The port for microphones is generally colored pink, while the headphone port is lime green in color. This is the same for the headphone plug. 

However, nowadays, almost all laptops have a single TRRS port instead of the above mentioned dual color TRRS ports. So, in case your headphone has two jacks, one for the audio and the other for the mic, be ready to invest in some good quality and latest headphones or just buy a TRS-to-TRRS audio splitter.  

If replugging your headphone doesn’t solve your issue, look at your headphone jack for some outer possible damages. Check if they are bent or loose and if it keeps falling out of their port. If it’s heavily damaged and repairing will be a little challenging, go for a replacement. But if you still want to save cash, watch a youtube tutorial video on how to fix your damaged headphones. 

laptop headphones not working

Now, if you’re using wireless headphones, most of your problems can be fixed by disconnecting and again connecting the headphones to the laptop. If it still doesn’t work, there might be some software issue with the headphone or with the Bluetooth systems. In most cases, you only need a few minutes to resolve your Bluetooth connection on your PC. 

2. Isolate the Problem

The first possibility you should always look for before resolving any software issues, is the faulty or damaged hardware. The fault might be with your headphones or your laptop’s audio jack port. 

To check if your headphones are working properly or not, try connecting other headphones to your laptop. If they start working, the problem is with your headphones. Replacing or getting them repaired can solve your issue. 

On the other hand, if the headphones still don’t work, there is a high chance that the problem can be in your laptop’s jack port or your software settings. But before running to your nearest laptop repair shop or any other servicing center, try fixing the software adjustment problems by yourself. This will not only help you save a few bucks but will also prevent any possible unnecessary hardware tweaks. 

3. Switch To The ‘HD Audio Front Panel’

One more thing you can do is to check and ensure that the Connector Settings are proper by using the default audio driver tool. In most cases, it is the Realtek HD Audio Manager, but it might be different if you’ve installed a different audio driver tool. 

If you’re already using the Realtek HD Audio Manager:

Open the Realtek HD Audio Manager and click on the Settings icon in the top right corner of the screen. Under the “Connector Settings” option, select “HD Audio Front Panel”. 

4. Configure Your Headphone Settings

When you’ve properly connected your headphones to the laptop, Windows 10 will notify you for a successful connection by making a ‘ding’ sound. This means that your device is successfully connected to the laptop and is ready to use. 

But sometimes, you may ask “why is my headphones not working?” Even after your headphones got successfully connected, it may not work. This typically means that there might be some software issues that you’ve to start working on. 

Here’s an easy fix to some of the potential problems:

Set Headphones As The ‘Default Output Device’

The first thing you can start working on is to check if your headphones have been set as the default audio device. To check it, simply go through the steps mentioned below:

  1. First, go to the right side of your notification panel and look for the speaker icon. Right click on the Speaker icon and select “Open Sound Settings.”
  1. A new window will open up. After the window opens, select and click on the “Choose your output device” from the drop down menu and select your headphones. 
  1. Next, click on the “Manage Sound Devices” option and check if it shows that your device/headphones are being disabled. If they are disabled, select them and click “Enable.”

These steps will enable your device once again to the default audio option every time you connect them to your laptop.

Change Default Audio Format

In some situations, the headphones still don’t work after you set them to the default audio device. In such circumstances, you can check if the default audio format of your laptop matches the capacity of your headphones or earphones. 

What is the role of audio format? Well, the audio format determines the resolution, the frequency range, and the dynamic range of the audio. Of course, not all the headphones can manage and cope with the high frequency audio formats. Hence, it becomes essential not to use specific audio formats all the time as it can prevent your headphones from connecting and functioning properly. 

To check this:

  1. Go to your notification panel and look for the Speaker icon. Right click on the Speaker icon and select “Sounds.”
  1. Next, choose and select the Playback option, right click on your device name and click on “Properties.”
  1. A new window will open. After that go and select the “Advanced” tab. You’ve to individually select and ‘Test’ the formats from the list until you find one that works.
  1. Click Apply and then ‘OK.’

5. Run The Window TroubleShooter

Headphones not working

Window automatic troubleshooting can also work if there are minor system glitches and you want to fix your headphones not working on laptop. You should use both General windows troubleshooting and audio troubleshooting at once to identify and locate the problems in your PC. 

General Window Troubleshooting

  1. Go to the Notification panel and simply right-click on the speaker icon. A pop-up menu will appear. Select “Troubleshoot sound problems” from the menu. 
  1. A new screen will open. You will be asked which device you want to troubleshoot. From the given list of devices, select your headphone and click on “Next”. 
  1. If there are any Windows troubleshooters identified, just simply follow the instructions on your screen to fix them. 

Audio Troubleshooting

  1. For doing audio troubleshooting, press the Windows key + I key together at once to open the system settings window. 
  1. Go to the left side of the panel and select the “Update & Security” tab option. Next, click on the “Troubleshoot” option. 
  1. Click on the “Additional troubleshooters” tab and navigate through the options to look for the option “Playing Audio”. Click on it and next select “Run the troubleshooter”. 

After any troubleshooters are found, follow the on-screen instructions and let the laptop do it on its own. Your laptop will hopefully start working with the headphones again. 

6. Install/Uninstall Driver Update

Drivers allow the hardware systems to be read and recognized by the Windows. A corrupt or an outdated driver can bring in various issues on your laptop. Tired asking, “why won’t my headphones connect to my laptop?” Check your driver updates. 

Just as the Windows updates, both updated and outdated drivers can cause problems on your laptop systems. Updated drivers can bring in new bugs while outdated ones can result in incompatibility and dysfunctioning. 

In case you want to check the drivers’ update, go through the following steps on how to install or revert back to your last driver update: 

How to install driver update:

  1. Click on the “Start” menu and search for “Device Manager.” A new screen will pop up. Open “Device Manager”. 
  1. After the Device Manager screen opens, select “Sound, Video And Game Controllers”. 
  1. A list of all the connected devices will open. Now, search and right-click on the name of your headphones and select the “Update Driver” option from the menu. 
  1. After the page opens, choose and select the option “Search automatically for drivers”. This will make the PC look for any available diver updates. If there is a new update available, simply follow the next given instructions on your screen and install it. 

How to revert back to your last driver update:

Sometimes, a new driver update can bring in new bugs to your system and can result in the headphones not working on the laptop after being plugged in. In such a situation, you can revert back to your previous driver. In order to do so, go through the following steps: 

  1. Go to “Start” and search for “Device Manager.”  A new screen will pop up. Open “Device Manager”. 
  1. After the Device Manager screen opens, select “Sound, Video And Game Controllers”. 
  1. Search for your device’s name and right-click on it. Next, a pop-up menu will appear. Select “Properties” from the given list of menus. 
  1. After selecting “Properties”, a new window will open. Now, click on the “Driver” tab and select the “Roll Back Driver” option. 

7.  Install/Uninstall Windows Update

Another possible reason for the headphone not working on the laptop may be if you recently updated your Windows to a newer version. On the contrary, using an outdated version of the operating system can also result in incompatibility with the headphones. 

Whatever may be the case, here is how you update or go back to an old version of your Operating System for 9+ Windows: 

  1. Go to the Start and search for “Settings”. You can do this by clicking and typing on the search bar of the Start menu. 
  1. Search and look for the “Update & Security” panel. Click on it and then select the “Windows Update” option. 
  1. You can either uninstall the recent updates or check and install if a newer version is available. 

8.  If All Fails, Consider Replace Or Repair

If you’ve tried all the steps mentioned above and still couldn’t resolve the “headphones not working on a laptop” issue, you should start considering replacing or repairing your laptop. The damage must be in the internal part of your laptop or headphone. It cannot be solved manually and a guide by the technician is a must. 

If your headphones or laptop is still under the warranty period, go for a replacement option. If repairing the laptop involves too much extra cost, it’s better to go just for a replacement. 


We believe you must have stopped thinking, “why are my headphones not working on my laptop?” We hope all these steps have been useful to you to resolve your issue. Headphones not connecting to the laptop can be very frustrating, especially if you require the setup on an urgent basis. 

Have patience and go through the above mentioned steps carefully. You should now have been able to plug in your headphones and use them properly if you were already trying the steps. 

Which of these steps resolved your problem? Let us know in the comments!

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