Audio is, no doubt, the most basic multimedia component on any computer, and any device. It is, perhaps, one of the most disregarded components. However, its importance comes to the fore when it encounters certain issues. From playing video games and playing multimedia files such as movies and music to the intermittent error beeps and notification sounds, it’s almost impossible to cope without audio.
Audio issues have caused panic for many Windows users, and one of those currently rocking the Windows 10 world is the sudden inability to use the volume control bar. Losing the function to control your volume can be quite a pain when audio is too low or too high.
This particular issue, as it turns out, is quite common. If you’re one of such users that are finding it hard to perform this basic operation, don’t despair anymore. We have found out different workarounds and fixes that can help you get rid of the issue once and for all. In this article, we’ll be explaining what the problem is all about, and then we’ll show you different steps you can take to get your volume adjuster working again.
Why Are Volume Keys Not Working on Windows 10?
The issue is, most times, connected to the User Interface. During these situations, the volume control keys on the keyboard and other hardware on the PC can be used to adjust the audio level.
However, there are reported cases where nothing seemed to control the volume, even though audio worked fine. The issue can come in different forms, such as the volume mixer not opening or responding, the volume slider being completely absent from the taskbar, and the volume control being greyed out. In severe cases, some users reported that they experienced all these issues on their systems.
There are a number of possible system glitches connected to the issue. Here are some of them:
Faulty Sound Drivers
The first suspect of the problem is the audio driver. Although there are other possible software issues (which we’ll tell you later), the sound driver happens to be one of the most common culprits. This fact shouldn’t be a surprise since the driver controls every audio operation on any Windows system. The sound driver might be missing, corrupted, or obsolete. The fix, in this case, is updating it.
It could also be that the audio driver is fine but isn’t running. This piece of software is commonly called the audio manager. Some users found this basic issue to be the problem.
Faulty System Files
Certain system files and native Windows processes oversee sound operations on your computer. An example of these files is SndVol.exe. Some of these files may have encountered issues and are possibly corrupt or missing. In some cases, the glitch might be temporal as a particular component might not be responsive.
You can fix the issue by restarting certain programs, and if this doesn’t work, you can try to fix core Windows system files. We’ll show you how to do all these later on in the article.
Windows Explorer Issue
You might find this to be a bizarre reason for the volume sliders not working. But you should know that Windows Explorer is often the culprit behind some taskbar issues, such as taskbar icons not responding. A lot of users fixed the issue by fixing their explorer.
How to Fix Volume Control Not Working
Now that you know the possible reasons for the issue, you can now move on to the fixes. Below, we’ll outline the different ways you can resolve the problem and regain your ability to adjust your sound. The methods provided below are broken down in detailed steps to make things simple and straightforward for you.
We advise that you follow the methods we’ve provided in the order that are arranged. This way, you’ll start from the basic solutions and work your way down to the complex ones. That said, we believe you’ll find the right solution to the problem by the time you’re done with the article.
First Method: Run the Audio Troubleshooter
The first and most basic step to take is running the audio Troubleshooter. The Troubleshooter is a built-in tool that is designed to find and resolve different issues on Windows, from hardware to software problems. In this case, the audio Troubleshooter will try to work out the problems plaguing your sound device by scanning its components and checking for conflicts. It will go on to resolve these conflicts and restart the audio services.
This fix worked for many users, and your search for a solution might very well end here. Follow the steps below to run the audio Troubleshooter:
- Right-click the Start button and click on Settings from the menu that pops up or press the Windows and I keys together to launch the Settings app.
- Click on the Update & Security label once the Settings home page occupies your screen.
- In the left pane of the Update & Security page, click on Troubleshoot.
- Now, go to the right pane of the window, and under “Get up and running,” click on Playing Audio.
- Click on the “Run the Troubleshooter” button that appears under Playing Audio and allow the tool to do its thing.
- The Troubleshooter will let you know if it found any errors and whether it resolved them.
If the Troubleshooter reports that the issues it found (if any) were resolved, then you can check whether your volume control sliders are now working. If this doesn’t resolve the problem, don’t panic: there are other fixes that you can try.
Second Method: Restart the Audio Service Manually
One of the main jobs of the Troubleshooter is to check for components like the Windows Audio and other related services and restart them if they’re unresponsive. However, there are cases where the Troubleshooter will find the audio service to be the issue but won’t be able to reset it.
Even if the Troubleshooter produces a success message and the issue persists, manually restarting the audio service should be your next step. The steps in the guide below will show you how to reset the service:
- Open Task Manager, using the Ctrl + Shift + Esc hotkey combination.
- Navigate to the Services tab once the Task Manager window comes up.
- In the bottom corner of the Services tab, click on the Open Services link.
- The Services app will now open.
- Scroll through the list of services and locate the Windows Audio service.
- Once you find the service, double-click on it to open its Properties dialog window.
- Under the General tab of the Properties window, click on the Stop button, then click on the Start button.
- Make sure the “Startup type:” drop-down is set to Automatic, and then click the Ok button.
- Reboot your PC and check if you can now access your volume slider and audio mixer.
Third Method: Reset Windows Explorer
You might be wondering what the connection is between Windows Explorer and volume control. As silly as it might sound, Windows Explorer is often responsible for nonresponsive icons in the taskbar. In this case, the issue is tied to your UI – and Windows Explorer – and you might be able to adjust your system’s volume, using the dedicated keyboard keys or other pieces of hardware on your PC.
You can resolve the problem by restarting Windows Explorer. Here’s how:
- Right-click the Start button and click on Task Manager or press the Ctrl, Shift, and Esc keys simultaneously.
- Once Task Manager opens, navigate to Windows Explorer under Processes.
- Right-click on Windows Explorer and click on the Restart option in the context menu.
- Allow Windows to refresh your UI. During this process, you’ll notice that your taskbar and desktop icons will disappear and show up again. Windows will also close the apps you have running.
- Once Windows reloads your UI, check if you can now access the volume icon and adjust your sound.
Fourth Method: Make Sure Audio Manager is Running
There’s a piece of software responsible for your sound, and it’s known as your Audio Manager. The program is the UI representation of your sound card driver, and if it’s disabled, you won’t be able to perform certain sound operations, which explains why the volume slider and audio mixer aren’t working. The solution to the problem, in this case, is pretty simple: enable the Audio Manager. Here’s what you need to do:
- Right-click the space on your taskbar and click on Task Manager.
- Once Task Manager opens, navigate to the Startup tab.
- Scroll through the list of startup programs (apps that automatically start running when your computer boots up), locate your Audio Manager, right-click it, and then click on Enable.
As long as the Audio Manager wasn’t running before now, performing this operation is sure to get rid of the problem you’re facing. Make sure you restart your PC after enabling the startup program for changes to take effect.
Fifth Method: Update Sound Card Driver
As we mentioned, your sound card driver is in charge of audio operations on your computer. If you’ve tried other fixes in this article so far and can’t get the volume control slider to work, then this should ideally be your next step. In the case where your sound driver is involved, you’ll probably be facing other audio challenges on your system, and even your keyboard keys won’t help you adjust the volume.
The problem with your audio driver could be that it’s missing, broke, or out of date. Fixing this problem is quite simple, depending on the route you take. What you have to do is update the present driver or perform a clean installation. But first, we’ll be explaining how to update the sound driver, using different methods.
Updating Your Sound Driver Automatically
The easiest step involved in updating your sound driver (and any device driver on your Windows 10 system) is using a program that automates the process, such as Auslogics Driver Updater. The program is designed to scan your computer for faulty drivers and install their latest versions. Not only will you be saving yourself a lot of stress, but you’ll also be installing the right driver for your system, from the right source.
Using Auslogics Driver Updater is simple. First, download the program and install it on your computer. Secondly, launch the tool (make sure you have an internet connection), and then click the button that boldly reads, “Start Search.” The Driver Updater will now start to scan your device driver, and you’ll be able to follow the progress. Once the search is done, you’ll be provided a list of faulty device drivers, and if your sound driver has any issue, it’ll be part of the list. You can then click on the button to update and repair the faulty driver.
Updating Your Sound Driver, using Device Manager
Updating with Device Manager is the most generic method in the driver-updating playbook. If you don’t know how to use Device Manager, the guide below will show you how:
- Press and hold the Windows logo key, then tap the X key.
- Select Device Manager from the menu that pops up right above the Start button.
- Once Device Manager opens, click on the arrow beside “Sound, video, and game controllers” to expand the entry.
- Right-click on your audio card and click on Update Driver.
- Under “How do you want to search for drivers,” click on “Search automatically for updated driver software,” and Windows will check whether your current driver is up-to-date and then search the internet for the latest version of the driver. Once Windows finds the latest driver, it will be installed automatically.
You can also get the updated driver manually by going to the website of your system’s manufacturer. Once you’re on the site, search for the sound driver for the make and model of your system, download it, and then run the installer. Make sure you confirm that the driver you’re downloading is for your system, as installing any other thing might cause problems. If you’re not sure what installer you’re meant to download, use Auslogics Driver Updater.
Sixth Method: Reinstall Your Audio Driver
If updating your Audio Driver doesn’t solve the problem, consider performing a fresh installation. The present sound driver on your computer might be responsible for the error and might still be causing conflicts even after the update. Solving the problem, in this case, involves removing the driver, and then reinstalling it. Follow these steps:
- Open Device Manager.
- Go to “Sound, video, and game controllers” and expand it.
- Right-click on your sound card and click on Uninstall Device, and then click on the Uninstall button in the confirmation dialog.
- Restart your system once the uninstallation process is complete.
Once your system comes up, you can reinstall the driver by using Auslogics Driver Updater as explained above or by going through Device Manager again.
In Device Manager, click on the “Scan for hardware changes” button, which is a magnifier and monitor icon at the top of the window. Doing this will prompt Windows to reinstall missing drivers. Restart your computer after Windows reinstalls your sound driver and check for the error.
Seventh Method: Run the System File Checker
Certain system files that are related to your computer’s audio components might be faulty and causing the volume control slider to be nonresponsive. Fixing this problem involves repairing the affected files. To do this, you can use the SFC or DISM tool. The SFC (System File Checker) tool is a command line utility that is dedicated to finding and replacing faulty Windows files. On Windows 10, the SFC tool is designed to work hand in hand with the DISM (inbox deployment image servicing and management) tool. DISM’s job is to make sure the files needed by SFC to perform the repair are available. In some cases, though, running DISM is enough to fix the problem.
Follow these steps to repair faulty system files:
- Press and hold the Windows logo key, then tap the R key to launch Run.
- In the Run dialog box, type “CMD,” no quotes and then press the Ctrl, Shift, and Enter keys simultaneously.
- Click on Yes once the User Account Control dialog requests for confirmation to allow Command Prompt to make changes to your computer.
- Once the elevated Command Prompt window opens, enter the command below to run the DISM tool and provide the files needed for the repair operation. Make sure you hit the Enter key after typing the command line:
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
Ensure the command is typed exactly as shown above, noting the spaces before each “/.” Allow the command to completely execute (this could take more than 25 minutes). Once the message that reads, “The operation completed successfully” shows up in the command prompt, move on to the next step.
- Type the line below into the black screen and hit the Enter key:
- Exit Command Prompt and check for the error after you see the “Verification 100% complete” message.
Eight Method: Stop the SndVol.exe Process
SndVol.exe is a program that is related to your system’s volume settings. As weird as it might sound, this program might be responsible for the problem. As many users found, stopping the process had restored the volume control button. However, since the process seems to start up automatically, you might have to stop it manually whenever you encounter the problem.
Here’s how to end the SndVol.exe process:
- Right-click the Start button and click on Task Manager or use the Ctrl + Shift + Esc combo to launch Task Manager.
- Once Task Manager opens, locate the SndVol.exe process, click on it, and then click on End Task.
That’s it. The volume slider should now be visible in the taskbar.
What if the Volume Icon isn’t Visible in Windows 10?
In some cases, users are not able to access the volume icon because it has completely disappeared from the taskbar. This problem might be a simple case of the volume icon being turned off in the Taskbar settings. Here’s what you need to do:
- Right-click on the taskbar and click on Taskbar Settings, which should be the last option in the menu that pops up.
- Once the Taskbar settings page opens, scroll down to the “Notification area” segment and click on “Turn system icons on or off.”
- On the next screen, toggle the Volume switch on if it is turned off.
If the Volume icon is switched on in Taskbar settings and you still can’t find the icon in the taskbar, you can use the Group Policy Editor to fix the issue. Here’s how:
- open the Search utility, using the Windows + S combination.
- Type “gpedit” (no quotes) into the text field and click on Edit Group Ploicy in the results.
- Once the Group Policy Editor opens, go to the left pane of the window and click on the arrow beside User Configuration to expand the entry.
- Under User Configuration, expand Administrative Templates.
- Left-click Start Menu and Taskbar under Administrative Templates.
- Now, scroll through the right pane, locate the “Remove the volume control icon” policy and double-click it.
- On the dialog that pops up, select the “Not configured” radio button and click on Ok.
- Exit Group Policy Editor and reboot your PC, then check if the volume icon is now visible.
You should now be able to adjust your system’s sound how you see fit. If you have further issues or have thoughts on this particular problem, please communicate with us, using the comments section below.