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At work I have a Lenovo X220 in a docking station running Windows 7. I have my headphones plugged in most of the time. Occasionally I want to enable the speakers so a co-worker can hear something. To enable the speakers, I have to physically unplug the headphones. I inevitably forget to plug them back in. When I go to listen to some music, it plays over the spakers and I have to stumble for the mute button.

I want to be able to leave the headphones plugged in at all times so I don't have to constantly reach for the cable. I also want to have some way, perhaps in software, to switch between the headphones and the speakers. Is this even possible? If so, how can I do it?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can’t. This is controlled in hardware, not software.

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You could use USB headphones and then switch to speakers in software – Dave M Jan 20 '12 at 16:31
@DaveM The USB headphones basically are an external soundcard. – kinokijuf Jan 20 '12 at 18:13
sorrow, it's true :( – Apreche Jan 28 '12 at 18:11
According to question… it is possible. – Justinas Dūdėnas Nov 3 '14 at 17:51
@JustinasDūdėnas It depends on the soundcard. – kinokijuf Nov 3 '14 at 20:45

(Realise this is very late)

I can think of a hack to do this.

You connect a 3.5mm jack splitter into the headphone port, and connect the headphones into this. You also connect a 3.5mm jack cable into the splitter, and connect this into the computers mic in port.

The audio will then be passed to the headphones and back in to the computer, and all you have to do is enable 'listen to this device' on the line in in sound settings, and route this to the speakers ('playback from this device' > 'speakers').

(You should be able to get the splitter and cable for less than £10.)

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