Headphones not detected on your Windows? Here are 4 ways to fix this error

Shaant Minhas

There are times when your Windows PC may not recognize your headphones. The cause for this error can be anything: a malware attack, a driver corruption, or even something off with the headphone itself.

We really can’t pinpoint the exact reason for the error, but we can help you fix the headphone detection problem for good. So let’s get started.

Headphones not detected on Windows 10 or Windows 11? Try out these quick fixes

There’s a host of things you can try to fix this issue. The general solutions fall into two categories: software and hardware. Depending on what’s the problem, you’ll have to choose the appropriate action. So let’s look at all the fixes one by one.

1. Check the headphones

Before you dive into any complex solutions ahead, make sure your headphones themselves are in working condition. Try and plug them into a different device, say, your smartphone or tablet.

Now check whether they’re working or not. 

If they aren’t then the problem probably lies with your headphone hardware itself. If that’s the case, then, you should probably order a new pair of headphones. Or you can also try out a headphone from a friend.

2. Update or reinstall the drivers

It’s not uncommon to encounter Windows hardware problems because of driver issues. A driver is essentially what connects your PC’s hardware to the operating system. So if the sound driver is buggy, problems with the sound driver are understandable. 

To reinstall your driver, you’ll have to use the Window Device Manager.

The Device Manager is a free Windows tool that helps you manage the hardware and drivers installed on your PC. To get started with it, head to the Start menu search bar, type in ‘device manager’ and select the best match.

On the Device Manager select Sound, video, and game controllers and right-click on your audio driver. 

From there, select Update driver and click on Search automatically for updated driver software. 

If the update doesn’t work, then it might be better to do a complete reinstallation instead.

device manager

Then right-click on the driver in the same way as above, and select Uninstall Device. When your uninstallation gets completed, give your PC a quick restart.

 On your next reboot, your sound driver will automatically get reinstalled.

3. Check your audio jack

On rare occasions, it’s the audio jack of your system—not the headphones or earphones themselves—that are the real culprits of your sound problems. 

You can verify if that’s the case by plugging your headphone cable into another device—be it a smartphone or a different PC. If the device is working on an alternate device, then it’s clear the problem lies with your audio jack.

If that’s the case, then a visit to a hardware shop can possibly fix this issue.

4. Make sure your headphones are enabled

If you’ve disabled your headphones from the Settings itself, then it’s obvious that your headphone setup will not work. And you’d be surprised how common this error is.

To check your headphones settings, open the Windows Settings app first. Press the Windows key + I shortcut, and your settings will be launched. Then head to System > Sound > Properties.

From there, click on the Set as default sound device option and select Use as default for audio.

Now, if you can’t find your headphones in the above step, then they might very well be disabled. So scroll down to the Advanced section and select More sound settings; as soon as you do this, a Sound dialog box will be launched.

On the Playback tab, right-click on the Headphones option and select the Show Disabled Devices option. Now search for your headphones on this list, right-click on them and click on Enable. Right-click on it again and then click on “Set as default device.”

Fixing your headphone errors

One of these methods from above should get your headphones to start working again. If you’ve tried everything from above and you still haven’t had any luck with your headphones, then it’s perhaps time to order a new pair right away. Alternatively you can also take your headphones to your local tech repair shop, get everything checked, and see if there’s any way to get everything back to work normally again.