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I tried to change my speaker setup and every time I click "test" I get this error message on Windows 7 SP1. I tried running "sndvol" to view the applications list but the list is empty.

Since I tried to test the new speaker setup, I'm now left without sound for all applications and can't get sound even if I switch back.

I have not updated my sound drivers so I don't know what could have changed.

What could be causing this?

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I may know what could be causing it, but I don't think I know a way of fixing it. There's an audio API called WASAPI from Windows Vista on, and one of the things applications can request when using it is exclusive sound access. If one such application is running you wouldn't hear sound form the others even if they were playing something. –  Xandy Oct 30 '12 at 21:26
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3 Answers

I had the same error on Windows 7 and managed to fix it by simply restarting the Windows Audio service.

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In the properties of your audio device, there should be a checkbox option labelled "Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device". IIRC it is enabled by default; disabling it and rebooting should resolve your issue.

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Thanks! This solved my problem in Windows 8. –  Caleb Jares Jan 3 '13 at 18:31
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I had the same problem, and I solved it by installing an update (Chipset_Intel_Win_8) from the Asus website. I have an Asus RS51.

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