Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

This happened previously to me and after much triage I determined that it was due to a Windows Update. After a few rollbacks (and auto-reupdates that reintroduced the problem) I just ended up disabling Windows Update. The problem is now back, but apparently has a different cause this time as those updates have remained disabled.


  • Using Windows 7
  • Headset plugged into front jacks
  • I'm not getting green bars in the Volume Mixer at any time.
  • "Windows is unable to play the test tone" when attempting to test devices.

Here's what I've tried (various solutions that I've seen):

  • Checked all cables
  • Updated drivers manually from manufacturer site (
  • Disable/Re-enable audio devices
  • Changed default device
  • Disabled "Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device

Would appreciate any help, links, or solutions. Thanks!

share|improve this question
You can try reporting this to Microsoft, although perhaps it's just a case of bad audio drivers and other owners of the same hardware might have also complained previously. Speaking of hardware, I don't see any details about it included in your post. You really should add that to better help future readers, since "Disable Windows Update and uninstall all (some?) critical updates" is not really good generic advice for anyone with similar issues. – Karan Jun 24 '13 at 9:06
@Karan My understanding is that if it were a hardware issue I would be seeing green bars in the Volume Mixer. I'm open to another solution, but that's the only one I've found that worked and I spent quite a few hours trying stuff. – Decency Jun 24 '13 at 15:58
I said bad audio drivers might be to blame. Irrespective of whether this is or isn't a hardware issue, what's the problem anyway with revealing what hardware it is? – Karan Jun 24 '13 at 21:38
@Karan Seems to be beside the point. I'm using an "ATI HDMI Audio" driver from Realtek Semiconductor Corp., with this motherboard: – Decency Jun 24 '13 at 21:57
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Apparently even with Windows updates completely disabled, Windows still downloads and installs updates without notifying you.

The "updates were installed" date also doesn't reflect this, you can only see it from inside system restore itself and only then by expanding "select a previous restore point".

I restored to a couple of weeks back, reverting three "critical updates" that had been installed and were no doubt very very critical.

share|improve this answer
This is really better as an edit of your original post – Dave M Jun 24 '13 at 13:03
@DaveM I don't like leaving my questions unanswered. It's a solution- maybe not an optimal one, but it solved the issue nonetheless. – Decency Jun 24 '13 at 15:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .