What should you do if your PC does not detect headphones?

PC unlike a laptop does not have its own audio system. Sound speakers and headphones are used for the aims of sound generation. Audio devices are connected with the help of 3.5 mm (Jack) plugs into special connectors located on the front or back of the system unit. There are also wireless headphones that work via Bluetooth. In most cases you can solve the problems with the headset without any assistance.

Device serviceability

Headphones with a microphone are equipped with two plugs: green and pink. Each plug must be connected to the connector of the corresponding color. Green is for headset, pink is for microphone. First of all, you should check whether everything is connected correctly: are the headphones firmly inserted into the correct jack? Make sure the front panel is connected to the motherboard. Sometimes people neglect this fact when assembling their PC.

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It is also worth trying if the headset works on another device. It could be a smartphone, an MP3 player, or another computer. This way you will know for sure that your device is not broken and you will be able to address the problem of your PC. If the headset does not work at any device, most likely you will need to buy a new one. They can be repaired in some cases, but it only has a temporary effect.

Sound card setup

When you are sure that you device works fine, it is worth checking whether the sound card is working correctly as well. Open the "Device Manager". First method: in the Run window (opens by pressing Win + R), where you should enter devmgmt.msc. Second method: right click “My Computer” icon and select the desired item in the drop-down menu.

There is information about every PC component in the "Device Manager". In this case, you need to pay attention to the section "Audio inputs and audio outputs." An exclamation mark next to the device means that you need to install the driver for the sound card. You can download the driver at the manufacturer official web site. It is important to check that the software version remains up to date.

There are some more problem connected with the sound card:

  • external sound card damage.
  • BIOS settings failure.
  • driver conflict when replacing an old sound card with a new one.

A USB-connected sound card can be replaced.  If the headphones do not work because of the fact that the driver data of the old audio card is saved in the system, it must be deleted through the "Device Manager". Right-click the equipment you are looking for and click "Delete device".

It is recommended to double-check the BIOS settings:

  1. When starting the computer, press one of the following buttons: F2, Tab, Del or another one you need.
  2. Enter the BIOS menu "Intergrated Peripherial".
  3. Find the section "Sound Card", "Audio" or similar.
  4. If there is the "Disabled" marker next to the section, change it to "Enabled".
  5. Press F10 to save.
  6. Restart PC.

If the sound card is displayed in the "Device Manager", but the audio does not work, you should double-check the sound settings using Windows means.

Playback devices

One of the common reasons why there is no sound in the headphones is the incorrect configuration of the audio devices. In order to enter the sound settings menu, you need to right-click the sound icon in the system tray.

Select the Playback tab in the "Sound" menu. The list will display all the sound devices used on a particular PC. There should be a green tick next to the headphone. If it is missing, you need to right-click the device and click "Enable".

There are headphones that are equipped with its own firmware. In this case, you must install the driver from the supplied CD or download the software from the official website of the manufacturer. Otherwise, the headphones will not work correctly.

Bluetooth headphones do not work

A wireless headset is a convenient alternative to wired headphones. The lack of cables and a low risk of breakage have made Bluetooth devices very popular. There is no inbuilt Bluetooth adapter in PC, you need to buy and connect the adapter via USB. There can be various reasons why headphones do not work:

  • Bluetooth is not enabled on the computer;
  • Bluetooth adapter driver is not installed;
  • headphones are not turned on;
  • connected device is out of network coverage;
  • headphones are broken.


Recheck the correct connection of the device - detailed instructions always come along with headphones. Heck the driver in the "Device Manager" - select "Bluetooth" tab. Exclamation mark or the absence of a Bluetooth device in the list means that there is no driver installed. You can download it from the official web-site. Additionally, you need to check the sound settings using the above-mentioned way. It is important that there is a green tick mark next to the headphones you are going to use.

Cheap headphones often fail. It is better to give preference to trusted brands. High-quality headphones will last several years, the main thing is to correctly connect them to your PC.