I have two sound output devices, a soundbar using digital optical S/PDIF (motherboard rear panel) and a pair of headphones using a 3.5mm phonejack.

I was recently having trouble getting a piece of software to output to the headphones instead of the speaker. But when I tried disabling my soundbar from Control Panel > Sound > Playback (also accessable from the tray icon) it completely removed the S/PDIF HD digital audio device from the list of playback devices and now my computer no longer recognizes it at all.

I have looked all through the Sound menu in Control Panel, the Realtek HD Audio Manager, and device manager and I can't find any sign of a connected digital audio device anywhere. Realtek Manager recognizes my optical port but doesn't show that anything is plugged in.

So how can I re-add an audio device I have disabled?

  • In device manager, in the menu there is an option to 'scan for new devices', that should find it.
    – Aganju
    Dec 20, 2016 at 21:33
  • @Aganju I already tried that and it didn't work. As it turns out Windows hides disabled audio devices so you have to set it to show them in order to re-enable it.
    – PGmath
    Dec 20, 2016 at 21:40

1 Answer 1


By default it seems that control panel hides disabled audio devices in the Sound menu. To fix this right-click anywhere in the list of devices and choose Show Disconnected Devices

enter image description here

Now the disabled devices should show up allowing you to right-click and enable them.

  • Of course this was in the first article I read after posting this question, and none of the dozen I read beforehand.
    – PGmath
    Dec 20, 2016 at 21:27

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