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I recently needed to re-install Windows 7 (x64 pro), and everything is working great now except for one feature relating to sound.

I have a USB dock which has speakers plugged into it, which I use most of the time, however sometimes I want to plug in headphones.

It used to be that when I wold plug the headphones into the laptop port, it would mute the dock speakers, and when they were pulled, the dock speakers would resume (with independent volume controls).

Since the re-install, however, the computer only mutes the laptop speakers (which are not running anyway) when the phones are plugged in, and of course since the dock is generating the music, there's no sound in the headphones.

I just cannot figure out how to let Windows see the headphone socket on the laptop as a device which should take precedence over the dock speakers.

It feels as if the computer should treat the headphone socket completely independently from the internal speakers.

Any help/ideas would be very much appreciated.

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So, it turns out that the IDT driver changed the behavior of the sound system in a way that I didn't want, how bizarre! – marts May 10 '12 at 20:26

I figured what was going on.

I had installed the IDT driver software which came with the HP laptop, apparently this interferes with the way the system works...

I noticed since there was one feature of the computer that was working since the re-install, but which was not working before, namely the button to mute/un-mute the speakers was glowing the right colors (orange = mute) whereas without the driver installed, that does not work.

Since I do not notice any difference in sound quality, I choose function of the socket over the button.


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You recently reinstalled Windows 7.

Did you perform a factory recovery as per the laptop manufacturer's instructions? Or did you manually reinstall Windows 7? If you manually reinstalled Windows 7, did you install all of the proper hardware drivers, as well as any manufacturer's software? If you performed a factory recovery, did you install any software that came with your USB dock?

These details are important... not only to properly diagnosing your potential issues, but also to making everything work on your end. So, if you don't know if you installed all the hardware drivers, investigate that. If you can't remember where the USB dock software went, try to find it. Things like that.

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Well, I did a fresh install, but downloaded and installed the drivers from the HP website. I didn't want all the bloatware that came with it originally, so I didn't do the factory type refresh. – marts May 10 '12 at 20:25
That's a good reason to choose the fresh install. The only reason to really put all the factory crap back in place would be to attempt to ensure factory functionality.... but even that's not the best of reasons. But the details as to what you installed, and such, were still important. You didn't mention if the USB dock came with software or not. – Bon Gart May 10 '12 at 21:42
Well the dock found it's driver automatically, and it had drivers built into it's own flash drive too. However I did find the most uptodate drivers from hp too, and did install those. Since I dumped the IDT sound driver off the computer, I get the sound function as I wanted it, with the only thing that dosnt work exactly right, being the illuminated button that mutes the sound... pretty heppy with where i ended up actually :) – marts May 11 '12 at 1:52
So in the end, it did turn out to be a driver issue. Glad you could sort it out then. – Bon Gart May 11 '12 at 1:53

This is the intended behaviour. Muting speakers when something is connected on the headphones jack is normally a feature of the sound card, not the operating system. As your built-in audio adapter is not the one being used when playing sound over the USB dock, the system will not react to headphones being plugged in, nor should it. It would be bad if an audio device were to steal a signal of which the user, program or operating system has decided is for a different device to receive.

Drivers specially designed to offer such features and capable of detecting the presence of headphones can obviously redirect the audio streams in any way they like. This is probably what enabled this behaviour before the reinstall, so make sure the same (type of) drivers are installed. If your audio card has its own configuration panel, check that too. Without them, Windows can change the default playback device depending on availability, but that's highly unreliable.

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Actually, I decided to uninstall the IDT audio driver, and got the functionality that I desired. Apparently that driver was changing the way the system behaved. The only other thing that changed was that the light/button that mutes sound stays as if it were muted all the time now (which is how it was prior to the re-install) however the function of the button works. – marts May 10 '12 at 20:23

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