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I have a Windows 7 laptop, a Toshiba Satellite Pro C650 (Conexant HD audio - don't know the exact chipset). I've just put it back into service for the kids to watch movies on after several months in storage.

Intermittently, the sound just dies. This can be after a few minutes, or as little as a few seconds. If I bring up the mixer, the sound level meter still shows that there is a sound signal there from whatever sources are outputting, as well as a signal in the main volume meter. There's just no sound coming out of the speakers.

I first figured out that putting the computer to sleep and waking it temporarily fixed it. The audio source didn't need to be shut down for this. I could leave, say, a YouTube video playing when I put it to sleep, and when I woke it up, the video would continue playing, but the sound would have returned.

I've since discovered that simply adjusting the volume, either up or down, in the Windows mixer will also bring the sound back. This really points to a software problem to me, so that's the assumption that I'm working with.

I've tried updating the Intel chipset drivers, and the audio driver. Both of these installed properly with no errors, actually updated the drivers in the device manager, and no errors show on their respective devices. Neither update has fixed the problem, though. I've updated Windows with all the missing updates from its time in storage, which made no difference.

I don't know if it was doing this before it was stored, or not, as it wasn't me that was using it, but I didn't hear anything from the user about audio problems, so I'm assuming (I know....never trust the user) that it didn't.

I've also run sfc (no problems found) and sigverif (no unsigned drivers found).
Both Windows Audio and Windows Audio Endpoint Builder services are running without problems, and no errors at all show up in the Windows event log.

I've updated the BIOS to the latest version from Toshiba's website, again with no effect.

I've backed it up, then done a factory restore to the original Toshiba configuration, and it seems like it might be lasting longer on average now, but it still drops sound after a while, and it's still brought back immediately simply by adjusting the volume in the Windows mixer.

Incidentally, it has to be the main volume that's adjusted, not the individual channel/sound source volume.

I'm still thinking it seems like a software problem, because I don't see how adjusting the volume would somehow reset the hardware to make it work again, but I also don't see how a reinstall wouldn't fix the software problem, if it was that. Unless, of course, it's a problem with Toshiba's implementation of the driver, and I haven't tried a non-Toshiba one, yet.

Things I haven't done yet, but plan to before throwing in the towel:

  • Audio driver from somewhere other than Toshiba's site.

  • Anything (well...not anything) you guys suggest.

Does anybody have any ideas to check that I haven't listed? I'm sure somebody must have run across something similar, but I'm also sure that it's a pretty rare problem.

share|improve this question
    
Ok...so, a non-Toshiba driver doesn't look like it will work without some modifications of the inf file, as the SUBSYS value in the PnP ID doesn't match between the hardware and any driver that I've found. Vendor and Device IDs are fine, but the SUBSYS value has been modified by Toshiba, by the looks of it. I'll make those modifications, as soon as I figure out the exact chipset variant. In the meantime, I've written a program that simulates volume down/up keypresses every 100 milliseconds, so it keeps the sound running automatically. –  CB Services Jan 6 '14 at 20:51
    
I've got the same symptoms on a Windows 8.1 machine. Do you have the source to that program placed anywhere I can get to it? –  Steve Mitcham Nov 11 '14 at 22:54
    
Not right now. I've got it on the laptop that I wrote it on, so I can put it on my business website easily enough. It's written in VB 2005, just so you know. I'll put it online, and reply to this comment with a link when it's there. –  CB Services Nov 17 '14 at 21:34
    
I brainstormed while waiting and I have a program that does what you describe. Unfortunately, in Windows 8, it triggers that stupid volume overlay. I've got to research how to change the volume without triggering the overlay for it to be useful. Perhaps your code will do better than mine. –  Steve Mitcham Nov 18 '14 at 23:24
    
I suspect mine will probably do the same thing, as it just calls the Windows API for the volume up/down key presses. It's only a couple of dozen lines of VB, so I haven't done anything at all tricky to attempt to bypass the onscreen display, or anything like that. Makes me wonder, though, if something like directly setting a specific main volume would allow it to do something similar, but without the overlay. I may look into doing that. Here's the link, though: cbserviceslondon.com/index.php/software/156-volume-adjuster –  CB Services Nov 19 '14 at 2:49

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