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Does software have the ability to mute/unmute the system volume?

And if so, how can I prevent this?

I was thinking this should be possible like I can set a settings that tells the computer to no matter what.

To be sure, I also want to be able to revert the changes done.

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This question is a bit unclear, do you want to control the mute/unmute with voice control or do you want to find a way to "supermute" no matter what? –  Pär Björklund Jun 11 '11 at 11:33
    
@par. yep to supermute no matter what. (btw im testing notifications, tell me if this notified you successfully thx) –  Pacerier Jun 12 '11 at 1:49
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I've found pulling the speaker cable to be effective (or plugging one in with an open end on a laptop). –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 12 '11 at 2:05
    
Pacerier, @PärBjörklund is unlikely to get the notification because of the "." that you've suffixed - this post explains what will & won't trigger the notifications –  Sathya Jun 12 '11 at 5:05
    
@Sathya why is it so? from what i understand Single trailing punctuation such as a dot, comma or colon is ignored, like @name, yes works, but @name... no does not. means if the last character is a dot it will be ignored anyway right..? –  Pacerier Jun 12 '11 at 6:19
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8 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can turn off Windows's Audio Service at any time, which will disable all sound devices, by typing this in the command prompt:

net stop "audiosrv"

Start it back with:

net start "audiosrv"

Most applications will deal somewhat gracefully when the service stops (read: not crash), but it's not a mute in the sense that the software is unable to send audio signal to Windows anymore. For example, Winamp and iTunes just stop playing and hold.

Also, when you start an application or a game while the service is off, it's unlikely that it will suddenly start working after turning it back on - you may need to restart the software. So your mileage may vary, depending on your intended usage.

If it works for you, you can easily assign to a hotkey (using your keyboard's software pointing to a batch file, or a third-party such as AutoHotKey).

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btw just a quick question.. where does net refers to? I tried running this common from C:\Windows and C:\Windows\System32 and both works.. so just curious –  Pacerier Jun 12 '11 at 14:37
    
and another quick question.. will a software that i download be able to do net start "audiosrv" all by itself (hence basically making this solution useless) –  Pacerier Jun 12 '11 at 14:39
    
Disabling the Audio service can work, but be aware that you cannot re-enable audio by simply re-starting the service, you need to reboot. –  Synetech Jun 12 '11 at 16:33
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@Synetech - On Windows 7 the service stops and restarts at will. Applications may need be restarted, though. –  mtone Jun 12 '11 at 18:44
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@Pacerier I think an application would need to be given administrative privileges to alter a service state so that provides some protection. –  mtone Jun 12 '11 at 18:49
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AFAIK, sound volume as well as mute are functions exposed by the base Windows API to all applications. This simple application seems to bear that out. I do not know of any way to prevent software from altering the current sound settings if the Windows API exposes them.

For the most part, I believe the idea was that if you really didn't want sound you'd just turn off or unplug the speakers. On a laptop, you could go into Sound Options (or Device Manager) and disable the audio device completely. Very few applications are going to try to enable a disabled device.

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I was thinking this should be possible like we can set a settings that tells the computer to heys stay mute no matter What

Just unplug your speakers.

Raymond Chen explains why what you want is impossible, at a software level.

You might want to make some software that keeps the computer mute no matter what. But then somebody else might make some software to unmute the computer, no matter what.

As Bacon Bits said, you could always disable the sound device. But another application could re-enable the sound device. You could uninstall the sound device drivers, but another application could just reinstall them.

You could uninstall the sound device drivers and flush the Windows driver cache, but another application could take the device ID of all unknown devices on your system and then send them to a web service to identify if they're sound devices and automatically reinstall the right drivers.

Why not schedule a task to uninstall the sound device drivers and flush the Windows driver cache? Make it run every 10 minutes. What is the other application going to do now? Scan device IDs every 9 minutes.

This is like saying, "Sometimes I'm in a hurry, and I want to make sure I am the next person to get served at the deli counter. To do this, I find whoever has the lowest number, knock them unconscious, and steal their ticket. But sometimes somebody else comes in who's also in a hurry. That person knocks me unconscious and steals my ticket. My plan is to set my watch alarm to wake me up periodically, and each time it wakes me up, I find the person with the lowest number, knock them unconscious, and steal their ticket. Is there a better way?"

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what do you mean unplug my speakers? i'm using a laptop and have none.. –  Pacerier Jun 12 '11 at 3:25
    
My point was that you need to solve this at a different level. Ignacio's comment is probably the most likely answer - plug in a dummy 3.5mm cable. –  ta.speot.is Jun 12 '11 at 5:00
    
And hope that your soundcard driver doesn't allow you to override the output when a 3.5mm cable is plugged in :) –  ta.speot.is Jun 12 '11 at 5:00
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Turn down and mute the WAVE volume and turn down and mute the MASTER volume.

What exactly is the problem? Is there some software that suddenly makes noise? Turn the volume down in that software or get rid of it. If it keeps ignoring your volume setting and insisting on making noise, then it is poorly written junkware and you don’t want it; if it is decent, goodware, then it will let you decide the volume/mute setting and respect it. Also, try contacting the developer and giving them a piece of your mind; maybe they’ll fix it.

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the problem is that i always make sure that my volume is muted (and i do not unmute it) yet superuser.com/questions/282950/… –  Pacerier Jun 12 '11 at 6:22
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Then set the volume to the minimum. That way, if it unmutes, the volume is still low enough to be inaudible. At least for now, until you figure out what is causing the problem. –  Synetech Jun 12 '11 at 6:49
    
that's actually a gd trick –  Pacerier Jun 12 '11 at 14:33
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Find a old pair of headphones you don't use anymore, and cut the cord at the plug and keep the plug with you. Anytime you want things muted on a hardware level, just plug the plug into the headphone jack. Since most headphone jacks use pressure switches to check if there's a plug in the jack, the plug will make the computer redirect the sound to headphones that don't exist.

Alternatively, you could try using a toothpick or a coffee stirrer, but if it breaks off you could have trouble removing it.

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I'd tend to avoid this solution, since 1/8" audio jacks can withstand a somewhat limited number of plugs/unplugs (say, a few thousands, or less depending on build quality) before starting to become loose and cause annoying glitches and pops. –  mtone Jun 12 '11 at 7:15
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Perhaps this is what you are looking for. I found it to be a lifesaver.

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows/turn-off-the-annoying-windows-xp-system-beeps/

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A mute button can be tampered with easily. The best software solution to your problem is to manually disable your sound device in the Device manager.

The downside is that you'll not remember how to undo this when someone wants to figure out how to make your speakers work a few months later so they can show you a funny video.

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Many BIOSes allow you to disable the sound device = Windows won't see it and won't enable / install drivers.

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