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All of a sudden I can't listen to music on XP. Any ideas?

Pandora just goes into "fast forward" mode, iTunes won't play my MP3's, nada.

I can however hear the melodic beeps that Windows periodically makes.

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Four things I can think of:

  1. Your sound driver has got corrupted. Solution: Try un-installing the driver from Device Manager, & reinstall it from internet or Drivers CD (OS/Vendor CD)

  2. A virus has infected your PC. Solution: Update your Anti virus. Do a scan. Better uninstall your anti-virus, install Avira AntiVir Personal.(Very good detection). Do a scan.

  3. You have by mistaken checked MUTE button or have set the various volume levels to zero. Or attached your Headphone (hence no sound in speaker) or volume out jack is spoilt. Solution: check your volume control.

  4. XP is corrupted./ Hardware is spoilt. Solution: Repair your OS or Re-install it./Try bootable Linux to check if OS issue or Hardware issue.

EDIT: Also check for pressed keyboard keys. Sometimes they lead to funny windows operations like fast forward, scrolling etc.

Also try downloading VLC & try playing your mp3 files in it. If it plays & no sound (Volume mute). if it does not play (Sound driver corrupted or OS corrupted.)

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i suppose the 'sound driver' is far from being 'corrupted', if the system sounds playing fine. – Molly7244 Jan 15 '10 at 19:22
hmm does the System require the sound driver to make beeps? Hmm – Ganesh R. Jan 15 '10 at 19:24
Cause, even when booting, with no sound driver loaded I can make a lot of beeps & cause Keyboard failure. :) – Ganesh R. Jan 15 '10 at 19:26
'melodic' beeps :) – Molly7244 Jan 15 '10 at 20:13
in Windows, "PC Speaker" is a separate sound driver from the standard audio chipset. on a standard motherboard the beep circuitry is separate -- it predates the inclusion of sound chips on the motherboard. – quack quixote Jan 15 '10 at 20:29

I'm going to go at a different direction than anybody else here. Considering that you can still hear Windows sounds (and I assume sounds from other sources such as games), I think that you might have a problem with one of your input devices.

My bet is that your keyboard's media keys (probably Media Forward) is stuck in down position. Try unplugging/disabling your keyboard (or other input devices like Infrared Remotes) and see if the issue goes away. If it does, consider a replacement for the faulty hardware.

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interesting take on the situation. definitely worth checking out. is there a Windows version of xev? that would spot this situation real quick. – quack quixote Jan 16 '10 at 8:55

One thing to check: the selected output device. For example, at Winamp check your output device to see if there are more than one and chage it.

Also you can check the default sound device at the Control Panel -> Sound Options [don't remember the exact name as I have Win in another language].

Another stupid thing ... do you rebooted your machine? I've seen things like this after suspends or sleeps.

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While the default sound profile is rather noisy, windows does not make "periodic" noises when you let it sit. Windows only makes noises when an event happens. Things like start up and shutdown are the most noticeable. There are a number of other common events that make noise. For example, when you open the basic volume control (left click on item in the system tray) and choose a volume level, the system makes a noise. This is so you have a way to tell how loud your speakers are. The default sound is best described as a "ding" noise.

If there is something wrong with your sound device, you may get a sound, but not the correct sound. I have seen systems with internal speakers "beep" instead of playing the correct noise. This generally means something is having problems.

At that case, I would start with system restore and go back to a time when your sound worked. If that doesn't help, I would follow the advice by @Ganesh.

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