Options greyed out - why ?


I am helping a friend who is disabled by a stroke so she needs to use screen-reading software.

However, the sound on her computer isn't working anymore. The Windows Control panel shows - "No audio devices found" and all the options are greyed out. I suspected there may be a problem with the built in sound (on the mainboard), so I downloaded the drivers from the Dell website, then removed the drivers and reinstalled them - to no avail. I believe the device is working correctly as there is a connection sound when you begin to plug the speakers in.

Rather than open up the computer, I decided to buy a USB sound card. But although this installed and appeared to work (the llight came on), still Windows Control Panel showed "No audio devices found".

This was true even in "Safe Mode" which I decided to try - in case something was interfering with the operation of the sound. Also, after I disabled the built in sound in the BIOS (in case it was preventing the USB sound card from working).

If I return with a replacement PCI sound card to install, will it definitely restore the sound feature ? Or is this a Windows problem ?

I'd really appreciate your comments.

5 answers Last reply
More about options greyed
  1. You are hearing noise when you plug in the speakers because of the voltage that comes through the wire when the metal connectors touch, not from the sound card itself. Sounds like a problem with Windows; try repairing the current installation or, better yet, backup whatever you need and do a fresh install.
  2. Right click the sound icon and go to playback devices, and right click the box then click show disabled devices. If anything if disabled make sure you enable it!
  3. Hi,

    Thanks very much for your replies, Mdsiu & Winner4555.

    I had a feeling that the crackling was just an electrical sound, not a suggestion of sound card activity - thanks for confirming my suspicion.

    When you say to click on the Sound icon and check for disabled devices - can you clarify what you mean by the "sound icon" ? I would like to check if this is one option I haven't yet tried (I'm a pretty experienced troubleshooter).

    I have removed the sound card drivers in Control Panel - and then re-installed them from the website, to no avail.

    I look forward to your reply.

  4. If you're using a dedicated sound card (the usb one you purchased) you will most likely need to disable the onboard sound in the BIOS settings.
    I haven't been keeping up on sound card advancements but I've never heard of a usb sound card - did you mean pci?

    Sorry I missed the part where you said the onboard was already disabled. Sounds like a strange problem you're having. If nothing else works though, I have found many times in the past that a format and fresh windows installation will fix just about everything :)
  5. Sound icon located on the tray - bottom right corner.
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