Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1.


Troubleshoot Surface sound and audio accessories

If you're having trouble with the sound, volume, audio playback, or recording on Surface, or if you're having trouble with an audio accessory such as headphones, external speakers, or a mic, here are some things to try.


Things to check first

Remove obstructions

Make sure nothing is obstructing the speaker and microphone openings on Surface, including screen protectors or decals. If you're not sure where the speaker and mic openings on your Surface are, see Surface features.

Check audio accessory connections

If you can hear sound from your Surface speakers, but can’t hear sound from an accessory, make sure the accessory is working and is connected properly:

  • Try using the accessory with a different device.
  • Close all audio apps, then remove and reconnect any accessory cables from your Surface and the accessory.
  • Make sure the connection is secure.
  • Check that devices that use Bluetooth® wireless technology are paired correctly to your Surface. See Troubleshoot using Bluetooth accessories for more info.

Adjust the volume

Make sure that you've adjusted volume levels in the right places. You can control the volume in a few places:

  • Volume rocker. Press the volume rocker (along the left edge of your Surface) to adjust the volume down or up.
  • Keyboard. If your Surface Cover or other keyboard has volume keys, press the volume down, volume up, or mute keys.
  • Settings. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings. Next, tap or click the speaker icon and adjust the slider down or up, or tap the small speaker icon to mute.
  • Desktop. From the Start screen, tap Desktop, and then tap the speaker icon on the taskbar (lower right corner.) Adjust the volume control down or up.
  • Audio accessories. Adjust the volume on the headset, speakers, phone, or other audio accessory, or in the software included with the accessory. For more info about adjusting volume levels, refer to the instructions that came with your accessory or visit the manufacturer's website.
  • Apps. Some apps have a volume control within the app.
Notes
  • The following volume settings all work together: the volume rocker, Surface Cover and keyboard volume up/down keys, the Start screen, and Desktop volume settings. If you raise, lower, or mute the setting in one, the volume level in the others will change, too.
  • Volume controls in apps and on accessories such as headphones and external speakers may work independently of the controls built into Surface. You may need to adjust volume levels in more than one place.
  • If the sound quality coming from your speakers or from an audio accessory isn't good, it's possible the audio recording itself isn't of good quality. Try listening to the same recording on a different device.

Adjust microphone settings

If you’re having trouble being heard or recording sound with your microphone, try adjusting your mic settings:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.)
Step 2: In the search box, enter adjust sound, and in the search results tap or click Manage audio devices.
Step 3: Tap or click the Recording tab, tap or click the microphone you want, and then tap or click Properties.
Be sure to select a microphone that is enabled and connected to Surface.
Step 4: Tap or click the Levels tab. You'll see two sliders:
Step 5: Microphone: Controls the microphone volume
Step 6: Microphone Boost: Controls the strength of the mic's signal
Step 7: Adjust the sliders until your microphone is recording at the levels you want.
The levels you'll use will vary depending on the amount of background noise, and on whether you're using Surface's built-in mic or an external mic. A good starting point is to set Microphone to 50 and Microphone Boost to +24.0 dB.

Solution 1: Install Surface and Windows updates

Installing the latest updates for Surface, including updates to Windows and any audio accessories you use, may help fix issues with sound. The Windows Update service includes updates to drivers for many third-party audio accessories.

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Change PC settings, and then tap or click Update and recovery.
Step 3: Tap or click Check now.
Step 4: If there are updates available, tap or click View details.
Step 5: Tap or click to select the ones you want to install, and then tap or click Install.
You may need to restart Surface after the updates have been installed.

Install or update drivers manually

Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2: If Windows 8.1 does not find a driver for your audio accessory, a driver may be available from the accessory's manufacturer. Check with the manufacturer's website to find out if you need a driver for your accessory.

Surface RT and Surface 2: In Windows RT 8.1, you can update drivers only through Windows Update.

Solution 2: Restart Surface

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Power, and then tap or click Restart.
Step 3: After Surface has restarted and you've signed back into Windows, try listening to something (play music or a video) on the built-in speakers and try recording something using the built-in microphone.

If you’re still having problems, go to Solution 3.

Solution 3: Check your default audio device setting

Check, and if needed, change your default audio device settings:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen and move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.)
Step 2: In the search box, enter adjust sound, and in the search results tap or click Manage audio devices.
Step 3: Next do either or both of the following:
  • Tap or click the Playback tab, tap or click the device you want to use for playback (for example, the built-in speakers on Surface, external speakers, or a headset), and then tap or click Set Default.
  • Tap or click the Recording tab, tap or click the device you want to use for recording (for example, the built-in microphone, or an external microphone), and then tap or click Set Default.
Step 4: After you've selected your default devices, tap or click OK.

If things still aren't working right, go to Solution 4.

Solution 4: Run troubleshooters

Try running automated troubleshooters. These tools can automatically find and fix problems with sound:

If running the troubleshooters didn't help, go to Solution 5.

Solution 5: Two-button shutdown (Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 only)

Important
Don’t use this process on Surface RT or Surface 2.

Use this two-button shutdown process to ensure that Surface is turned off completely. Here’s how:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right and tap or click Settings, tap or click Power Power icon, and then tap or click Shut down to shut down Surface. If you can’t shut down Surface normally, press and hold the Power button (located on top right) for 10 seconds.
Step 2:

After Surface turns off, press and hold Volume Up (located on the left side) and the Power button at the same time for at least 15 seconds, and then release both.

The screen may flash the Surface logo, but continue holding the buttons down for at least 15 seconds.

Step 3: After you release the buttons, wait 10 seconds.
Step 4: Press and release the Power button to turn your Surface back on.

If you still have a problem with your Surface Cover, try Solution 6.

Solution 6: Restore, refresh, or reset Surface

If you're still having audio problems, try in this order: restore, refresh, or reset your Surface.

  • Restore Surface
    Restoring your Surface is a way to undo recent system changes that may be causing problems. Restoring Surface doesn’t change your personal files, but it might remove recently installed apps and drivers.

    Note
    Restore is not available for Surface RT or Surface 2.

If restoring Surface doesn't resolve the problem, refresh Surface.

  • Refresh Surface
    Refreshing your Surface reinstalls Windows and keeps your personal files, settings, apps that came installed on your Surface and those you've installed from the Windows Store. Desktop apps you installed on Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 will be deleted, but you can reinstall them after refreshing Surface.

    Note
    If you updated Surface Pro from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, refresh will reinstall Windows 8 (not Windows 8.1) and apps that came installed on Surface Pro. Other apps and your settings will be gone. You can reinstall them after the refresh is complete.

If refreshing Surface doesn't resolve the problem, reset Surface.

  • Reset Surface
    Resetting your Surface reinstalls Windows, but removes your personal files, settings, and apps that did not come installed on your Surface. Reset keeps the apps that came installed on your Surface.

    Note
    If you updated Surface Pro from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, a reset will reinstall Windows 8 (not Windows 8.1). You’ll need to reinstall the Windows 8.1 update.

For detailed how-to info, see:

Need more help?

If the speakers or microphones that are built into Surface still don’t work as well as they should after resetting Surface, your Surface may need service. Request service at the Surface Online Service Center.

If you've tried these solutions but your audio accessory still isn't working, you'll need to contact the accessory‘s manufacturer for support.



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