So, this morning, I was happily listening to music on my laptop, when in the afternoon, it just stopped working for no apparent reason. The only thing I have done was rebooting the computer, and Windows 8.1 claimed to be finishing configuration of updates (yet update history claims the last update took place over a month ago.) That's literally all the info I can give when it comes to the cause - I have no idea.

So anyway, what does it do? When any sounds play, the Windows sound mixer shows the proper output device, and the sound level indicator correctly jumps up and down as if sound actually worked. When I plug an HDMI device in, sound works fine - it's the onboard audio card which causes the issue.

What's my config? Windows 8.1, Conexant SmartAudio HD sound card, the issue has arised on a Lenovo G580 laptop.

What have I tried? I have done a whole bunch of basic troubleshooting steps:

  • plugging my headphones in and trying if those work
  • removing the device and readding it
  • completely removing and reinstalling the drivers
  • I have tried installing the older drivers to see if that helps. It helped at making me a bit more angry - no change
  • I have both tried the drivers aquired automatically via Windows driver install thingy, and the newest drivers I have downloaded from the Lenovo website
  • Via the automatic restore, I have restored the system to a time when I know for a fact sound worked fine
  • I have opened the bloody thing to see if all connections are physically fine and nothing came loose. Nothing did, but I have lost an unrelated screw somewhere. Damn.
  • I have tried other stuff like updating BIOS, updating all the unrelated drivers I could get my hands on
  • Sadly enough, currently I have no way of trying out a live CD or flash drive with another OS installed to see if that catches on.

Basically, I have tried everything I can possibly think of short of reinstalling the system, which is something I do not want to do.

So, what's wrong with my sound? Why me? And most importantly, why can't I listen to internet radio while working?


Have a look at this thread for a similar issue with your laptop. The solution there is to contact support and probably arrange some sort of repair.

I have something for you to try, and a solution for you as well.

Try this: Boot off a live USB of windows or your favourite operating system. See how your sound card functions here.

Quick fix: Buy a USB sound card. About USD$10 where I live, perhaps it is cheap for you too. This is the easiest and cheapest way to get a permanent fix if you don't mind the bulkiness. Laptop sound cards are normally hard to replace.

USB Sound Card

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  • That is ridiculously cheap and availible in a local store - thanks, didn't even consider that! I'll see if I can come up with anything else, but I'll probably just buy the card today.And yes, support is what I was afraid of - I can't really afford to lose this laptop even for as much as a couple of days right now. – Fenixp Jan 16 '14 at 8:01
  • @Fenixp I find sound hardware is the first to go in most of the PCs I look at (aside from the PSUs). You can also consider playing music over bluetooth to a cheap bluetooth speaker (or a nice expensive one) since your laptop should support Bluetooth 4.0 – Ron Jan 16 '14 at 8:05
  • It lives! My USB sound card now saves me from having to read my music from data-streams - I can work again instead of reading music now! Thank you! – Fenixp Jan 16 '14 at 13:55

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