Applies to

Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Surface 3.

Applies to

Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Surface 3.

Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2.

Operating system:

Troubleshoot Surface sound and audio accessories

If you're having trouble with the sound, volume, audio playback, or recording on your 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.


Before you begin

Remove obstructions

Make sure nothing is obstructing the speaker and microphone openings on your Surface, including screen protectors or decals. If you're not sure where the speaker and mic openings 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.
  • Check that the cables connecting your Surface to the accessory are plugged in securely. If the connection is secure but you still can’t hear sound from the accessory, try using different cables.
  • Close all audio apps, then remove any accessory cables from your Surface and the accessory and reconnect them.
  • Make sure the connection is secure.
  • Make sure that accessories that use Bluetooth® wireless technology are paired correctly to your Surface. To learn more, see Troubleshoot Bluetooth devices.

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 button. Press the volume button on your Surface to adjust the volume up or down.
  • Keyboard. If your Surface Typing Cover has volume keys, press the volume-down, volume-up, or mute key.
  • Desktop taskbar. In the desktop taskbar, select Speakers Speakers icon, and adjust the volume control up or down.
  • Audio accessories. Adjust the volume on the headset, speakers, phone, or other audio accessory, or adjust it in the software included with the accessory. To learn more about adjusting volume levels, check the info that came with your accessory or go to the manufacturer's website.
  • Apps. Some apps have a volume control within the app.
Notes
  • The volume button on your Surface and the desktop volume setting in the taskbar work together. If you raise, lower, or mute the setting in one, the volume level in the other 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 the volume level in more than one place.

Check the quality of the recording

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 people have trouble hearing you when you’re using the mic, or if you have trouble recording sound, try adjusting your mic settings:

Step 1: In the search box in the lower-left corner of the screen, enter control panel, and in the search results, select Control Panel.
Step 2: Select Hardware and Sound > Sound.
Step 3: Select the Recording tab, select the mic you want, and select Properties.
Be sure to select a mic that's enabled and connected to your Surface.
Step 4: Select the Levels tab. You'll see two sliders:

  • Microphone: Controls the mic’s volume
  • Microphone Boost: Controls the strength of the mic's input signal
Step 5: Adjust the sliders until your mic 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 the mic that’s built into Surface or an external mic. A good starting point is to set Microphone to 50 and Microphone Boost to +24.0 dB.

If you’re still having problems, go to Solution 1.

Solution 1: Install Surface and Windows updates

Installing the latest updates for your 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: Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > Update & security > Windows Update.
Step 2: Select Check for updates. If updates are available, select Details.
Step 3: Select the updates you want to install, and select Install.
You may need to restart your Surface after the updates have installed.

Install or update drivers manually

If Windows Update doesn't find a driver for your audio accessory, a driver may be available from the accessory manufacturer's website.

If you’re still having problems, go to Solution 2.

Solution 2: Restart your Surface

Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo, and select Power > Restart.
Step 2: After your 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 mic.

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

Solution 3: Check your default audio device settings

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

Step 1: In the search box in the lower-left corner of the screen, enter control panel, and in the search results, select Control Panel.
Step 2: Select Hardware and Sound > Sound.
Step 3: Do either or both of the following:
  • Select the Playback tab, select the device you want to use for playback (for example, the built-in speakers on your Surface, external speakers, or a headset), and select Set Default.
  • Select the Recording tab, select the device you want to use for recording (for example, the built-in mic or an external mic), and select Set Default.
Step 4: After you select your default devices, select 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 doesn’t help, go to Solution 5.

Solution 5: Two-button shutdown

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

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

Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo, and select Power > Shut down.
If you can’t shut down your Surface normally, press and hold the power button for 30 seconds.
Step 2: After your Surface turns off, press and hold the volume-up button 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. Then press and release the power button again to turn your Surface back on.

If you're still having problems, go to Solution 6..

Solution 6: Restore or reset your Surface

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

  • Restore Surface
    Restoring your Surface is a way to undo recent system changes that may be causing problems. Restoring your Surface might change your personal files, and it might remove recently installed apps and drivers.

If restoring your Surface doesn't resolve the problem, reset your 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. If you want to keep your personal files, choose Keep my files during the reset process.
Note
If you updated your Surface from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, a reset will reinstall Windows 10. However, if you choose Restore factory settings during the reset, the version of Windows that came installed on your Surface will be reinstalled.

For detailed how-to info, see Restore or reset Surface Pro or Surface 3.

Need more help?

If the speakers or mics that are built into your Surface still don’t work as well as they should after resetting your Surface, your Surface may need service. Go to Get my Surface fixed.

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


If you're having trouble with the sound, volume, audio playback, or recording on your 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 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.

Make sure that accessories that use Bluetooth® wireless technology are paired correctly to your Surface. For more info, see Troubleshoot Bluetooth accessories.

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 button. Press the volume button on your Surface to adjust the volume up or down.

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 tap Settings. Tap or click Volume Volume icon and adjust the slider up or down. To mute the sound, tap or click Volume Volume icon.

Desktop taskbar. On the Start screen, tap or click Desktop, and in the desktop taskbar, tap or click Speakers Speakers icon, and adjust the volume control up or down.

Audio accessories. Adjust the volume on the headset, speakers, phone, or other audio accessory, or adjust it in the software included with the accessory. For more info about adjusting volume levels, check the info 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 button, the Start screen, and desktop volume setting in the taskbar. 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.

Check the quality of the recording

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 people have trouble hearing you when you’re using the mic, or you have trouble recording sound, 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 click Search.)
Step 2: In the search box, enter sound, and in the search results, tap or click Sound.
Step 3: Tap or click the Recording tab, tap or click the microphone you want, and tap or click Properties.
Be sure to select a microphone that's enabled and connected to Surface.
Step 4:

Tap or click the Levels tab. Depending on which Surface model you have, you'll see either one or two sliders:

Microphone: Controls the microphone volume (all Surface models)

Microphone Boost: Controls the strength of the mic's signal (Surface Pro models and Surface 3)

Step 5: 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 the mic that’s built into Surface 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 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 Change PC settings, and 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 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 3: If Windows 8.1 doesn't find a driver for your audio accessory, a driver may be available from the accessory manufacturer's website.

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 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 tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen and move the mouse pointer down, and click Search.)
Step 2: In the search box, enter sound, and in the search results tap or click Sound.
Step 3:

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 models and Surface 3 only)

Warning
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 edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings, tap or click Power, 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 on your Surface for 30 seconds.
Step 2: After Surface turns off, press and hold the volume-up button and the power button on your Surface 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 again to turn your Surface back on.

If you're still having a problem, 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. Refreshing Surface will delete desktop apps you installed on, but you can reinstall them.

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:

Refresh or reset Surface RT or Surface 2

Restore or reset Surface Pro or Surface 3

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. Go to Get my Surface fixed.

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


If you're having trouble with the sound, volume, audio playback, or recording on your 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 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.

Make sure that accessories that use Bluetooth® wireless technology are paired correctly to your Surface. For more info, see Troubleshoot Bluetooth accessories.

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 button. Press the volume button on your Surface to adjust the volume up or down.

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 tap Settings. Tap or click Volume Volume icon and adjust the slider up or down. To mute the sound, tap or click Volume Volume icon.

Desktop taskbar. On the Start screen, tap or click Desktop, and in the desktop taskbar, tap or click Speakers Speakers icon, and adjust the volume control up or down.

Audio accessories. Adjust the volume on the headset, speakers, phone, or other audio accessory, or adjust it in the software included with the accessory. For more info about adjusting volume levels, check the info 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 button, the Start screen, and desktop volume setting in the taskbar. 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.

Check the quality of the recording

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 people have trouble hearing you when you’re using the mic, or you have trouble recording sound, 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 click Search.)
Step 2: In the search box, enter sound, and in the search results, tap or click Sound.
Step 3: Tap or click the Recording tab, tap or click the microphone you want, and tap or click Properties.
Be sure to select a microphone that's enabled and connected to Surface.
Step 4:

Tap or click the Levels tab. Depending on which Surface model you have, you'll see either one or two sliders:

Microphone: Controls the microphone volume (all Surface models)

Microphone Boost: Controls the strength of the mic's signal (Surface Pro models and Surface 3)

Step 5: 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 the mic that’s built into Surface 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 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 Change PC settings, and 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 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 3: If Windows 8.1 doesn't find a driver for your audio accessory, a driver may be available from the accessory manufacturer's website.

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 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 tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen and move the mouse pointer down, and click Search.)
Step 2: In the search box, enter sound, and in the search results tap or click Sound.
Step 3: 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 models and Surface 3 only)

Warning
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 edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings, tap or click Power, 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 on your Surface for 30 seconds.
Step 2: After Surface turns off, press and hold the volume-up button and the power button on your Surface 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 again to turn your Surface back on.

If you're still having a problem, 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. Refreshing Surface will delete desktop apps you installed on, but you can reinstall them.

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:

Refresh or reset Surface RT or Surface 2

Restore or reset Surface Pro or Surface 3

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. Go to Get my Surface fixed.

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