No sound, in or out.

Dell Vostro 1000 notebook computer
March 14, 2010 at 05:05:46
Specs: Windows XP SP3
My sound has completely died, nothing from my speakers, headphone jack, or system speaker. Nor does my microphone jack work.

It started crackling, then cut out, came back for awhile, then went away again. In two days it made one sound (liked to given me a heart attack...out of the blue with the volume turned all the way up) has made no sound sense.

I checked, removed, reinstalled my drivers...nothing.
Checked the device manager...no conflicts, no uninstalled devices, it says everything is working correctly.

I put my HDD in another laptop identical to this one...the sound worked fine. I've gutted taken my laptop apart several times(with something else to check), and see no obvious damage to anything on the motherboard top or bottom. I found my audio chip, (embedded of course) a SigmaTel STAC9200, checked the soldering of it and near everything else, it all looks fine.

I've read several responses to questions similar to mine, but I had already done everything suggested. I am at my wits end having planned a weekend playing games, only to have my audio kick the bucket (or at least go comatose), anything else I can do short of getting an external sound card? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


See More: No sound, in or out.

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#1
March 14, 2010 at 09:56:51
If it's not a software problem, there's not much you can do to fix it.

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#2
March 14, 2010 at 11:32:23
The headphones jack on laptops has a mechanical device inside of it that disables the onboard speakers from producing sound when any plug is plugged into the jack. When one uses the headphones jack a lot, it's quite common for that feature to become damaged, and you get no sound even when there's no plug in the jack, from one or both onboard speakers.
If you HAVE used the headphones jack a lot, you could try plugging in a plug, wiggling it, then pulling it out, that might help, but usually the only real solution is to get a replacement jack, remove the old one, install the replacement.

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#3
March 14, 2010 at 11:40:16
Yes, but as I said, the sound works with my hard drive in a similar computer, I've confirmed it's a hardware problem, and there has to be something I can do, I just need to find what component is messing up, and replace it, right? I'm very comfy with poking around my motherboard.

(edit: I was working on the above when there was a new post)

I really haven't used the headphones that much, but I had used them more in the days leading up to my problem.

I have jiggled, reinserted and removed the plug several times with nothing happening, it just seems odd that the sound cut out when I wasn't using the jack, is there a way I could test it? Such as a continuity test?

The oddest thing is, though, that my system speaker doesn't even work. Isn't that completely separate from the main sound?


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Related Solutions

#4
March 14, 2010 at 11:52:33
"I just need to find what component is messing up, and replace it, right?"

If the sound chip itself is bad, the only thing short of some sort of external solution would be to replace the motherboard.


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#5
March 14, 2010 at 12:01:31
Sadly, that is what I'm thinking too, I'm just trying everything. It's sad how one chip can cost you near $200 simply because it's connected to everything else. What is keeping me from replacing that chip? I'm quite comfortable with soldering, and I'm near sure I could find a new chip, even if it's off a broken motherboard from ebay.

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#6
March 14, 2010 at 13:04:30
Considering it's an older laptop, cut your losses & get the cheapest external solution you can find. But before doing anything, do as Tubes suggested & double check the headphone jack to make sure it's not shorting out.

I dug up a review of your laptop...it doesn't have very good gaming graphics in the Xpress 1150. Which games do you play on it?

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review...

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Comput...

Here's an external USB for less than $20/shipped & it gets good reviews:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...


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#7
March 14, 2010 at 13:21:14
Problem solved, it was a virus that modifies BIOS settings, thus turning my sound off, I ran a free registry cleaner that fixed it.

http://iobit.com/ascdownload.html

And although the graphics aren't that good, low settings make games playable such as Microsoft Flight Simulator X, and N64 emulators work very well with less powerful graphics. I am currently saving for a desktop I am building myself, but for now, at least I can play the games.

Thank you all for the help.This site seems to have a good community, perhaps I shall stick around.


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#8
March 14, 2010 at 14:00:33
Oops, very late. Good work fixing it.
The symptoms (It started crackling, then cut out, came back for awhile, then went away again.) sure didn't indicate a bios setting.

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#9
March 14, 2010 at 14:15:18
But does that explain there being no system speaker sounds?

But like I said, I found out what was wrong, and it's fixed. A strange problem I know, but it was a virus, I could hardly believe it either. I'll try to remember to update you all in a few days, but I am pretty sure it is fixed, my speakers popped back to life (literally) at the very moment (and I mean the exact moment)the program finished fixing the registry(there were over 1100 "errors" although I am quite sure most were empty keys) and all of my jacks are working too.

And I thank you all again for your friendliness and help.

(edit: Ok, I'll go ahead and leave this post though, I guess)

(edit 2: I know it's near impossible to believe , I had called my dad yesterday, and he found out about it. All of my symptoms pointed to a hardware problem...oh well...stupid virus making people.)


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#10
March 14, 2010 at 14:22:55
I guess the biggest clue that it was my BIOS was that my system speaker stopped working too.

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#11
March 14, 2010 at 18:32:09
It stopped working again...

-.-'

I'm going to check the jack at some point. *sigh*


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#12
March 15, 2010 at 13:46:35
Making sure the onboard audio was enabled in the bios should have been one of the first things you checked - it is by default, but you should still check that.

"I guess the biggest clue that it was my BIOS was that my system speaker stopped working too."

I don't think you mentioned you were using amplified speakers previous to that statement.

You probably can't get any sound from the speakers at all when the bios has the onboard audio disabled, BUT if you were plugging in amplified speakers, you may hear noise from the speakers themselves while plugging in or unplugging them - you get the same sounds from amplified speakers when you're plugging them in or unplugging them into/from any jack on a computer, whether the computer is running or not.

Most malware these days is NOT a virus - it's something else. It seems malware makers aren't bothering making malware that attacks the bios anymore, because if you're running any decent anti-malware software at all, nearly 100% of such malware is being detected before it can do any harm these days. It's many times more likely you disabled the onboard audio yourself unintentionally while you were fiddling around trying things. Besides that, even in the extremely unlikely event that malware did attack your bios, it's more likely the computer would no longer boot properly at all that it would be for it to merely change bios settings from defaults.

Phone your local laptop repair places - they may already have a suitable replacement jack for your Dell model on hand, or if not, they would know where to order one from. Those are a frequent replacement item.

In most cases the jack is soldered into the mboard itself. If you are not familiar with properly un-soldering things from a mboard, or another printed circuit board, without damaging the mboard while doing so, you should have a technician that is experienced with replacing such a jack do that for you.
If you were to do that yourself, you would need at least a "solder sucker" of some sort, a low wattage soldering iron, and some electrical solder, in order to not be likely to damage the mboard.
Dell probably has a Service manual you can look at online or download for your model or model series on their web site, if you want to see how to take your laptop apart, and whether the headphones jack is soldered into the mboard or not.


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#13
March 15, 2010 at 14:42:33
I'm not using external speakers, I never said I did, and I know that external speakers pop and crackle when you plug them in. They are the inbuilt speakers that most laptops have (if not all these days), and by system speaker, I mean the one that beeps, the one on the motherboard. And checking my BIOS settings was one of the first things I did, there is no setting to disable sound(unless I overlooked it).

Quote "It's many times more likely you disabled the onboard audio yourself unintentionally while you were fiddling around trying things."

No, I was just playing a game when my audio stopped working, and I wasn't "fiddling around" with anything.

Quote: "Dell probably has a Service manual you can look at online or download for your model or model series on their web site, if you want to see how to take your laptop apart, and whether the headphones jack is soldered into the mboard or not. "

Quote from my opening post: "I've gutted taken my laptop apart several times(with something else to check), and see no obvious damage to anything on the motherboard top or bottom."

I've had it apart...much more than I've felt like.

Quote from response 5: "I'm quite comfortable with soldering"

Don't get me wrong, I know you are trying to help, but I know what I am doing. I've been reading about, troubleshooting, and repairing computers for about four years now, and I will be majoring in computer technology. I did not inadvertently mess something up.


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#14
March 16, 2010 at 13:53:08
Okay, so I missed a few things you stated - oops.

Obviously we can't know what your experience and level of expertise is unless you state that, and even if you are more qualified, people often jump to the wrong conclusions or try things that don't make sense, and they could use some info that may not know about or suggestions to nudge them in the right direction.

e.g.
It's extremely rare for an onboard sound chip to fail. Almost always, there's something else wrong.

Having more computer related education doesn't necessarily make you better at troubleshooting - common sense and the ability to think logically are things that you either have or you don't.

"I'm not using external speakers, I never said I did,..."

I assumed you were because you said this...

"I guess the biggest clue that it was my BIOS was that my system speaker stopped working too."

What you should have said was something more clear along the lines of your mboard was not producing the usual one beep while booting.

For desktop mboards, whether the mboard produces beeps is independant of whether the sound in Windows or whatever operating system is working. The mboard will produce beeps even when there is no hard drive installed if a case speaker is hooked up to the proper pins or if there is a speaker like device for that built into the mboard. There are a few exceptions where you must have amplified speakers plugged into the green onboard sound port in order to hear mboard beeps (you hear the beeps regardless of whether there is a hard drive installed). In either case, the sound software does not have to be working properly in the operating system in order for you to hear mboard beeps. Whether the onboard sound is disabled in the bios has no bearing on whether you hear mboard beeps.

I have no idea whether that's the same situation for laptop mboards.
......

Software problems in your operating system can certainly cause your sound in the operating system to stop working, and that can be caused by data corruption as well as software conflicts, and could in theory be caused by the effects of malware, but that's certainly NOT common.

Games frequently have more bugs in their programming that most programs do. Games alone can cause all sorts of weird problems.
.....

Small amounts of ram errors can cause weird problems, yet your operating system still works.

A common thing that can happen with ram, even ram that worked fine previously, is the ram has, or has developed, a poor connection in it's slot(s).
This usually happens a long time after the ram was installed, but it can happen with new ram, or after moving the computer case from one place to another, and I've had even new modules that needed to have their contacts cleaned.

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...

For a laptop, or netbook, you must remove both its main battery and AC adapter before you do that.

For a brand name computer, see the Owner's or User's manual if you need to - how to remove or replace the ram is usually in that - it may already be in your installed programs. If you can't get into Windows, it may be on a disk that came with the computer, or you can go online and look at it or download it - it's in the downloads for your specific model.

Once you have done that, test the ram.

If you want to try a memory diagnostic utility that takes a lot less time to run a full pass than memtest86 does, this one is pretty good - Microsoft's
Windows Memory Diagnostic:
http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag...
It can be toggled (press T) to do a standard or a more comprehensive set of tests - use the default 6 test one first - if it passes one pass of that, use the latter one. A few of the tests in the latter set are intentionally slower.
If you don't have a floppy drive, see the Quick Start Information at that Microsoft link for how to make a bootable CD of the Windows Memory Diagnostic (you need Windiag.iso - you don't necessarily need to use the program they mention to add it to the CD).
.......

A failing hard drive may cause bad sectors to be "visible" to the operating system - that will cause problems, and often at first it's hard to pin down what's wrong, because sometimes the Windows swap file uses a data area that has a previously undetected bad sector - sometimes it doesn't.

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:
http://www.computing.net/windows95/...

(thanks to Dan Penny for this link:)
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities
http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm...

If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibility, on another computer if you need to.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.
........

"...checking my BIOS settings was one of the first things I did, there is no setting to disable sound(unless I overlooked it)."

If there is no setting, then it's extremely unlikely malware could disable the onboard sound in the bios settings.

""I put my HDD in another laptop identical to this one...the sound worked fine."

Then there was nothing wrong with the sound software or the registry entries on the hard drive at that point.

It sounds like from what you stated later that you ran Advanced System Care to clean up the registry after that - if that's the case, it wasn't Advanced System Care that made the sound suddenly start working again, unless something got corrupted between the time you tried the drive in the other computer and when you ran Advanced System Care.

Most registry cleaner programs only remove useless and invalid entries from the registry, by default - they aren't capable of removing valid entries placed there by malware.
.......

If your headphones jack has become defective, it's defective inside the jack, so of course you wouldn't see anything wrong with it externally.


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#15
March 16, 2010 at 14:55:14
Ok, I'll try those things, and sorry about that, I thought you were taking a "holier than thou" attitude...my bad.
I like to think I have good uncommon sense, and I think very logically.
I guess I took your post as sort of an insult.

Thank you for the suggestions, and again, sorry.


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