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I'm just trying to figure out how to do this. I play online games often while listening to music. If I leave everything going to the speakers or headphones, I can't hear people talking. So I want to make the music come from the speakers, and people's voices come from the headset. However, when I plug my headset into the front of the computer, it mutes the speakers.

How do I disable this action from happening in Windows XP?

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It would help if you could tell us the make and model of your soundcard. – Saxtus Feb 27 '11 at 10:06

This isn't natively possible with only one audio card, unless you use some sort of audio routing software - but even then you'd basically be taking, say, the music and routing it through the "left channel" (which the routing software could theoretically output to both of your speakers) and the voices through the "right channel" (which the routing software could output to both of your headphone speakers). Note that this assumes a stereo (laptop) configuration.

If you have a 5.1 setup you can use the routing software to route one source to the front channels and another source to the rear channels, thus maintaining two stereo outputs instead of two dual-mono outputs.

I've had some luck in the past using kX Project for SoundBlaster cards, but that was years ago and I'm not sure what their support for your specific hardware is. At any rate, a google search on "windows audio routing" should turn up some results.

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Probably it's happening on hardware level: there is a switch that shuts down speakers when you plug in something to headphones output. If that's the case, you are out of luck (unless you want to solder).

If not, you can try browsing sound card control panel (in Windows settings there is no such choice, but many sound cards came with separate application for managing sound card specific settings). You may find that application from sound card installation CD (or motherboard driver CD), or from your start menu, if it's already installed.

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