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Laptop Audio Hardware Problem

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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July 2, 2012 3:21:35 AM

Problem description: About a week ago, I dropped my laptop from about two feet because I forgot to zip up my backpack compartment. Since then, my audio (both speakers and the headphone port) has stopped working. When I open the playback devices, it shows my speakers and "communications headphones" (which are non-existent). When I try to test the speakers, nothing comes out, but audio plays through the speakers when I test the phantom communications headphones. When skype plays sounds, I can hear them through the speakers as well (along with any other audio that may be playing).

Attempted fixes: Switched the default device in between the speakers and this Communications Headphones. Tried uninstalling IDT audio codec.

Recent changes: Dropped the laptop, potentially messing up the side audio jack

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Operating system: 64 bit Windows 7 SP1
System specs: Dell Latitude E6420
4 GB RAM
Intel i5-2520M @ 2.5GHz

Some google searches seem to suggest a registry fix to bypass it using the headphone jack, which I suspect is broken and saying something is plugged into it. I need my laptop for the time being, so sending it back into Dell is an option I cannot take until mid-August at least.
a b D Laptop
July 2, 2012 5:14:28 AM

Hi and welcome to Tom's Hardware Forums,
I did a little reading myself on your issue - seems you are not alone. Basically, you have two options until the I/O board is replaced.
1) Use headphones
2) Disable external speakers in Control Panel (I am not absolutely sure this will work but it should)
I'm going to link a few things I think are helpful here. The last two entries here
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/window...
and (a good to have even if not used thing) service manual for your laptop
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/late6420a...
Happy reading, good luck.
July 2, 2012 5:31:13 AM

I should clarify, headphones don't work either :( 

I'm sure that I probably have to replace the I/O board, seeing as how the VGA and USB ports near the headphone jack are dead as well. I was looking for a way to make my computer forget that the headphone jack exists and just play straight to the speakers (which work, based on the weird way I can get them to play audio via testing)
Related resources
a b D Laptop
July 2, 2012 6:37:00 AM

I tried to find your I/O daughter board to see how involved repair would be but cannot find sources for it so, at this point I think you're going to have to work handicapped until you can get it to Dell for repair. That really bites, not having the other ports working either.
Hopefully disabling your external speaker (perhaps the communication headphones too) in the control panel helped some.
July 2, 2012 7:10:10 AM

So, when you 'test the speakers' and use Skype sound does come out - then there's hope for a workaround (i.e. an application can clearly route audio to the working speakers) - try right-clicking the speaker icon in the taskbar and playing with the volume mixer and speaker device options. You are looking to route all audio in the same way that skype does. To help, look at the audio settings within skype and see if you can mirror this (I don't have skype so I can't confirm).

Alternatively, try checking out a USB audio interface - you don't have to spend much, just get a USB stick type device that has a headphone or audio out jack -incase you need to route to external speakers - but for now,audio would normally be defaulted to the internal speakers...again, you may need to play with it's own mixer/routing settings.
!