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For some reason, the sound on my computer stops working randomly. Once every few minutes, sometimes down to a few seconds in between, it just cuts out and goes silent. sometimes it will come back on its own a few seconds later, but most of the time i have to restart the service to fix it.

I've tried reinstalling my sound drivers (I'm using a USB headset), and rebooted several times, to no effect. What's most annoying about it is that it's somewhat intermittent and I can't find the cause, yet it always happens at least once every 10 minutes.

I've already tried several solutions (windows 7 audio randomly stops from here, for example), but nothing works since I haven't found the cause. My other USB devices also randomly stop working (all of them at once, though much less often than just the sound), which seems to be related, but I'm not sure where to start troubleshooting that.

Thanks in advance for the help!

EDIT: It seems all of the devices I've been having trouble with are connected to the same USB controller, so the issue is probably with that. Is there any way to troubleshoot a USB controller other than by reinstalling the driver and trying different controllers?

EDIT 2: Different USB port (different header on motherboard, too), same problem. I'm pretty stumped with this one.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you found this from Google looking for a solution, try reinstalling your headset drivers.

I tried the 3.5mm audio jack with some old headphones and it's worked for 3 days straight, so it's not windows.

That means the problem is either a bug in the windows' version of the manufacturer's headset driver or, more likely, a hardware problem with the headset.

TL;DR: The headset's hardware failed in a strange way.

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Wait, and it'll mysteriously start working again. Not being facetious, but once you've eliminated all the boilerplate fixes having nothing to do with the issue*, you'll find a surprisingly large number of people who have experienced the same phenomenon, and then were caught by surprise at an arbitrary point, when sound mysteriously reappeared without any apparent rhyme or reason.

This problem mysteriously fixes itself, and I've no doubt the MS folks know all about this bug.

  • Reboot. Restore. That kindergarten-level Microsoft troubleshooting site that dead-ends right before the even your grandmother knew all these steps level. Making sure speakers are plugged in. Testing w/your earphones. Checking control panel->sound->settings. Disabling/re-enabling the driver. Reinstalling the driver. Device manager: remove the device and reboot so it'll reload. List even more specs for the technician. Flash the BIOS. Sound card replacement (seriously?). Editing the registry...
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There is nothing 'random' with computers! They are machines and everything happens for a reason. The only difference is whether you know it or not. – tumchaaditya Jan 20 '14 at 4:03
I tried all of these things (except the last four, which don't apply), and more. I even tested every component independently (except the headset) and they all worked. I'm not the only one with this problem either, but it's badly documented, which usually means a hardware glitch. – Techwolf Jan 20 '14 at 18:30

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