When playing games or having online classes/meetings, wired headphones could provide you with a better audio environment. If your headphone is not working with your computer and causing you inconvenience, there are several effective ways for you to make the headphone work again.

  1. Update your audio driver
  2. Set your headphone as the default
  3. Run the Hardware Troubleshooter
  4. Perform a repair reinstall of Windows 11

Before we start troubleshooting, please restart your computer and re-plug your headphone to see if it works. It’s also suggested to test your headphone on another computer, if available, to rule out any possibility of hardware issues. If it’s tested fine, kindly proceed with the steps below.

Please note that the screenshots in this guide are taken on Windows 11, but the instructions work on Windows 10 as well.

1. Update your audio driver

When your headphone is not working or cannot be detected by Windows, one of the first things you should do is to update your audio card driver, since an up-to-date audio driver always helps Windows detect newly released headphone models and fixes some known bugs.

To update your audio card driver, here’s what you can do:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows key and X at the same time, select Device Manager.
  2. Double-click to expand the category Sound, video and game controllers. Then right-click your audio driver and click Update driver (the name of the device can be different on your computer).
  3. Then click Search automatically for updated driver software.
  4. Wait for Windows to find the latest driver available for you.
  5. When the driver update is done, restart your computer for the change to take effect.
  6. Then check and see if the problem is fixed.

If Windows says that it’s already found the latest driver for you, so no newer drivers are found, then you should consider updating your Audio driver in a different way with the help of Driver Techie.

Its ever-growing driver database allows you to always have access to the latest device drivers that you need. More importantly, Driver Techie simplifies the driver update process, so all it takes is just 3 clicks (for Pro users), and all your drivers are updated.

To use Driver Techie to find you the latest drivers:

  1. Download and install Driver Techie, then launch it.
  2. Click Scan Now.
  3. After the scan, select all the drivers you need to update and click Update All. Then all your drivers will be updated automatically without you having to do anything else.

Please note that Update All is available for Pro subscribers only, otherwise, you can only manually update the driver one at a time. To see how to manually update the drivers one by one, please check this post.

If you’re a Pro user of Driver Techie, and need our technical support to help with the headphone not working problem, please feel free to contact <support@drivertechie.com>.

2. Set your headphone as the default

If updating audio drivers still doesn’t help your headphone work properly, then you’ll have to check that your headphone is set as the default playback device. If it isn’t, you’ll hear no sound from the headphone as some other device may hog your audio resources. To fix this, follow the steps below.

  1. Right-click the speaker/sound icon on the system tray, and select Sound settings.
  2. Scroll down the new window and select More sound settings.
  3. Check if your headphone is showing up in the Playback tab. If not, right-click the blank space and select Show Disabled Devices and Show Disconnected Devices.
  4. Now you should see your headphone. Right-click it and select Set as default.
  5. Click Apply and OK to save changes.

Once complete, check if your headphone is back to work again. If the problem persists, continue with the next solution.

3. Run the Hardware Troubleshooter

Windows OS has built-in troubleshooters which help users to detect and fix some common computer issues, including hardware glitches. If your headphone is not working or not detecting by Windows, try this hardware troubleshooter to see if it helps.

To do so:

  1. On the system tray, right-click the speaker/sound icon and select Troubleshoot sound problems.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the scan and fix.

If Windows cannot detect problems or cannot fix the problem, move on to the next tip.

4. Perform a clean reinstall

When there are corrupted system files that Windows cannot fix, a clean reinstall of Windows is strongly recommended. It’ll restore your Windows to a clean version and those corrupted files will be restored as well. This works for many of those affected by the headphone not working issue. But before we make a conclusion that Windows cannot fix the corrupted files, do an SFC scan instead.

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key and R together to invoke the Run prompt, type cmd and press Shift, Ctrl, and Enter together.
  2. Paste the following command line and press the Enter key, Windows will automatically detect and repair files that went corrupted.
    SFC /scannow

Once SFC finishes, check if the issue is found and fixed. If nothing, then we can do the clean reinstall as follows:

  1. Click Start > Settings > System > Recovery > Reset PC

  2. Before the reset starts, you’ll be prompted to choose either Keep your files or Remove everything. In this case, you don’t have to remove everything on your system, so just choose to keep your files and then proceed.
  3. Next, you can either choose Cloud download or Local reinstall. Cloud download means you will get the latest version of Windows 11 from Microsoft, whereas Local reinstall is to reinstall the Windows version that you’re currently using. Both of them are OK, albeit Cloud download requires more than 4GB of data.
  4. Now, confirm the settings you made and click Next > Reset to begin the reinstall.
  5. Wait until the process finishes. Note that Windows will restart while resetting.

Once complete, sign in to your system and your headphone should be working then.

At the end of this article, we recommend you always keep your system and drivers updated, as it ensures the best overall performance. If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.