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Okay to make things clear; I'm going to give a step by step of what happened.

I've got a brand new laptop, and while installing stuff everything was fine. When I'd plug in headphones in the 3.5mm jack, all the sound would just go there instead of at my speakers, which is exactly as I want it. Then I called someone on skype, and my laptop decided that it'd play all the sound over it's own speakers, even if headphones were pluuged in. Though I can fix skype by changing skype's audio options(to play over 3.5mm jack), when I call someone, the rest of my sound still goed over the internal speakers.

I want all the sound to go through my headphones whenever they're plugged in, no matter what I do. What should I do?

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Try using the "Find and fix audio playback problems" troubleshooter. Search for audio in the control panel and it should be listed under Troubleshooting. – Brian Dec 22 '13 at 1:15
@Brian total loss of time, these troubleshooters won't do any good. – user256743 Dec 11 '14 at 17:21

10 Answers 10

The problem: There are two different 'default' devices. One for communications (Skype, Teamspeak, etc.) and one for everything else (e.g. games).


The solution: Unplug the headphones, and set the speakers as both the 'default device' and the 'default communications device'.


Now it should look like this:


Everything will play through the speakers. Plug the headphones back in. Everything will play through the headphones (even though speakers are still selected as default). This is another example of silly windoge logic. Some programs will change the 'default communications device' back to the headset on startup (Teamspeak did this to me).

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Can't believe this worked - cheers – Robbie Averill Jul 20 '15 at 20:57
To make it work when Realtek Audio Manager installed I had to open Realtek, open Device advanced settings and then choose Mute the rear output device, when a front headphone plugged in. – BornToCode May 13 at 2:43

I'm assuming you haven't done this:

Go into your Sound settings from the Control Panel and set your head phones as the default device.

Are you on the screen below? A green tick should appear on the default device.

Sound Settings

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I can change my headphones to 'default communication device' but not to 'default device'. The speakers are the 'default device' and it looks like I can't change that. I can only make the speakers the normal and communication default, but not neither. I can click on the 'set default' at my headphones, but it wont change. – Dawn Valentine Sep 9 '13 at 17:53
Hmmm, that's strange. Are you using earphones or a proper set of headphones? – Yass Sep 9 '13 at 18:00
I'm sure I'm in the right window. Internal speakers are default device. headphones are default communication device. I can click on make this the default device at the earphones, but it doesn't change anything. I'm using mobile phone earphones. one 3.5mm jack, extra contact for microphone which can't be used in laptop. – Dawn Valentine Sep 9 '13 at 18:03
It's not that I haven't done that.. It's that I can't. – Dawn Valentine Sep 9 '13 at 18:04
What about if you right-click on the headphones and choose Set as Default Device? I'm guessing that won't make a difference either. – Yass Sep 9 '13 at 18:05

What I ended up doing that seemed to work was:

Control Panel >Manage Audio Devices

There should be 4 options; Playback, Recording, Sounds, and Communications. If you click on Recording look to see if there's an Internal Mic option in the list. If so, click on it then click properties. Another window will open up and from there click the Listen tab. If Listen to this Device is checked, uncheck it and click Apply.

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I had the same problem. The way I fixed it was to open the sound tab by right clicking the speaker icon, click the headphones, and go to properties. Select advanced and uncheck the allow applications to take exclusive control of this device. Click OK. That should fix your problem.

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I had the problem where my computer would show "speakers and headphones" as default device, and then a separate "communications headphones" category too. I am using iPod headphones with the microphone, so when I plugged in the headphones, they would go to the communications category.

What fixed it was when I disabled "communications headphones," then it would register my headphones as normal and work.

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This is the correct answer; some PCs expose two independent sound devices, a speakers/headphones one and an "independent headphones" (or similar); disable the independent one and everything should work just fine (reconfigure your apps to use the "speakers/headphones" device). – user256743 Dec 11 '14 at 17:22

This is pretty specific, but may help someone trying to figure this out. I was having the same issue, probably after installing skype, and on my laptop (HP Elitebook) I couldn't set the default device to "communication Headphones" through the windows interface, but was able to do it through the "Catalyst Control Center" (by right clicking and selecting it as default device). Now everything works as it did out of the box, playing through the speakers normally, and through headphones when they're connected.

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I had same issue and I fixed it by disabling and re-enabling the headphone under Sounds -> Playback.,

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I believe I've figured out the answer. I had the same issue and it was an interesting fix. See if this works for you.

  1. I right-clicked on the speaker icon in the Windows Start Bar and pressed Playback Devices.
  2. Right-click on the device that represents your 3.5mm headphone jack and select Properties.
  3. Go to the Enhancements tab.
  4. I found that no enhancements were enabled. I checked all the enhancement boxes (i.e. Bass Boost, Loudness Equalization).
  5. I had Pandora Internet Radio playing while I did this and it was playing from the laptop speakers only, even though the 3.5mm plug was plugged in (I was using it for speakers, not headphones). I hit the Apply button and the music immediately went to the external speakers).
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For me: unplugging my headphones, setting the speakers as the default and default communications device and then disabling the communication headphones bullshit seemed to make all the sound play in the headphones when i use them.

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I'm having trouble finding instructions for disabling communication headphones bullshit. Can you clarify, and do I need to wear gloves? – fixer1234 Jun 10 at 6:07

Right-click the speaker icon in the notification area (it should have a red X on it) Choose "Playback devices" The Sound control panel should appear, on the "Playback Devices" tab - there won't be any playback devices visible. Right-click in the main area of the window where the devices would normally appear. Check the "Show Disabled Devices" option.

At this point your speakers should re-appear, but will still be disabled. Right-click the speakers and choose Enable

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The question says nothing about the speakers disappearing. Where did you get that idea from? – lzam Oct 3 '14 at 2:03

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