How to Check a Bad Sound Card

The sound card is the hardware on the computer that allows sound to be played through your speakers. Some computers have sound cards built into the motherboard but in many cases, the sound card is an actual card that connects to a slot in the computer. If your sound card goes bad you won't be able to hear anything from the computer. However, several other things may be the problem and you should check them before replacing the sound card.


1 Check the audio level on the computer. Each program may have a sound level that you can change. In Windows there is also a volume level. In the lower right corner of the screen, click on the speaker icon and raise the volume.

 2 Play different sounds to see if the file or source you are playing from is bad. You can try online videos or radio stations, but you should also try to play computer sounds. Go to the Control Panel and click on "Hardware and Sound." Choose "Change system sounds" and click on one of the Windows sounds that has a speaker icon next to it. Click the "test" button. You should hear the sound if the sound card is working.  

3 Check to see if your computer speakers are plugged into the speaker connection on the sound card and that the plug is fully connected and are not loose. Make sure the speaker volume is turned up. Try other speakers to see if the original speakers are bad.

 4 Download new drivers for the sound card. Go to the sound card manufacturer's website and under the support section look for newer drivers. Go to the Control Panel. Click on "Hardware and Sound," then "Device Manager." Under "Sound Video and Game Controllers" right-click on the sound card and choose "Properties." Click on the "Driver" tab, then "Update driver." Select "Browse my computer for driver software." Browse to the driver location and click "Next" and let Windows install the driver. If the computer still doesn't play audio correctly the sound card is likely bad.

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