Windows 10 5.1 surround sound not working ?


Few days ago, my 5.1 surround sound speaker stopped working on my windows 10 laptop. So I researched for various solutions. I will write a few solutions which worked for me..

First try these steps to make 5.1 surround sound working again.

Right click on “Speaker Icon” and select the “Sound” option. Then among the playback devices right click on your 5.1 surround sound speaker and click on Properties. Then select the Enhancement tab under speaker Properties. Now uncheck the “disable all sound effects” option and check the “Speaker Fill” option. Now save and see.

Method 1: Enabling Speaker Fill and Enhancements

The first method to fix the surround sound issue on windows 10 is enabling enhancements and Speaker Fill. This will lower the overall audio quality while allowing you to use all your speakers. Follow the below mentioned steps to enable “Speaker Fill”.

  1. Right click the “Speaker” icon in the right corner of the taskbar.
  2. Select the “Sound” option and go to the Playback tab.

  1. Now select your 5.1 surround speaker from the list there and click on Properties.

  1. Then go to the Enhancement tab under the Speaker Properties. 

  1. Now uncheck the box next to Disable all sound effects.If such checkbox does not exist, simply uncheck the sound effects one by one manually .
  1. Thereafter, Scroll down to the menu below and check the box next to Speaker Fill and save the changes made by clicking “Apply”.

Now, Restart or reboot your computer and check whether the  5.1 surround sound features  are working or not. If it works you should be able to hear the sound from the rear speakers. If it is not working fine still, try the next method.

Method 2: Changing the Audio Format to 24/96

Here we try to enable 5.1 surround sound by changing the audio format to 24 bit, 96000 Hz. If you are using a S/PDIF port for audio output,most probably this method will fix your issue with surround sound. Also this method has solved many issues that occurred while enabling Dolby Direct Live.

  1. Right click the “Speaker” icon in the right corner of the taskbar.
  2. Select the “Sound” option and go to the Playback tab.
  3. Now select your 5.1 surround speaker from the list there and click on Properties.
  1. Then go to the Advanced tab under the Speaker Properties. 
  1. Now change the Default Format to 24 bit, 96000 Hz (Studio Quality) from the dropdown list appearing. Save the changes done by clicking “Apply”.

Now, Restart your computer and check whether the sound features  are working fine. If its not yet working, let’s try the 3rd method.

Method 3: Uninstalling Windows Audio Drivers and reinstalling

Here we are going to check whether there are any driver (Audio Drivers) issues and fix them. This can be also called as a good solution which you could even try at the beginning. In this method, first of all we will try to update the drivers. If it doesn’t work let’s uninstall and reinstall drivers. Follow the below steps to get your sound drivers updated.

  1. Go to “Device Manager”.(you can find it on the control panel or you can type as “device manager” in the windows 10 search box)
  1. Expand the sub-items under “Audio inputs and outputs” by clicking on it.
  1. Now Right-click on the available audio devices and select “update driver” in each of the devices.

  1. Now test for sounds and if your 5.1 surround sound issue is fixed you can skip the other steps and enjoy your music. Otherwise try the below steps too.
  1. Now again Right-click on the available audio devices and select “Uninstall” in each of the devices and confirm the uninstallation.
  1. After Uninstalling the old drivers, click on the “Action” option in the menu bar. Select “Scan for hardware changes” option. (If asked for automatic driver update, allow it)

Most probably after a restart your 5.1 surround sound system will start working. 

Note: Sometimes Windows may not automatically detect your sound card or the relevant drivers. In such cases you can manually upgrade or install the latest drivers which are downloaded from the original sound card manufacturer website.  ( You can download Latest High Definition Sound drivers for Realtek from their website). 

If none of the above methods worked the issue might be a bit serious. However, let’s try the last option (Method 4) too.

Method 4: Run System File Checker (SFC)

This will be the final of my solutions. Even Though none of the above methods worked for you , this may make your 5.1 surround sound system working on Windows 10. Here we will be  going to check whether there are any issues with system files. System errors, corrupted files, missing system files, and various other system related issues will be concerned here. Such errors occur mostly after new major updates on Windows 10 (eg: Windows 10 1809 Update).

We will be using the System File Checker to find whether there are any corrupted files and to repair them, 

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator.(Search for “cmd” →Right-click on command prompt → Run as administrator )
  1. In the Command Prompt window, enter the “sfc/scannow” and press Enter.
  1. Now the System File Checker (SFC) will start finding and repairing the possible file errors.

Hope your Surround sound system is working, since we tried the most of the possible major solutions.

Related Queries

How to Configure 5.1 Surround Sound on Windows 10?

  1. Right click on “Speaker Icon” and select the “Sound” option. 
  2. Then among the playback devices click on your 5.1 surround sound speaker and click on Set Default.
  3. Now click on the Configure button on the left bottom. 
  4. In the speaker view select “5.1 surround” and go forward.
  5. In the next window, tick all the options under “Optional Speakers” and click next.
  6. Then tick the boxes under Full-range speakers if possible and click Next.
  7. Click Finish. Come-on You have configured the 5.1 Surround Sound system on Windows 10. Now Test!

How to Test 5.1 Surround Sound on Windows 10?

  1. Right click on “Speaker Icon” and select the “Sound” option. 
  2. Then among the playback devices Right-click on the 5.1 surround sound speaker which you want to test.
  3. Now select the “Test” option on the appeared dropdown list.
  4. After you finish testing your speakers, then right-click and select Stop Testing.

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