How to Fix Red X Mark on Speaker Icon in Windows 11/10

In this tutorial, learn how to fix red X mark on speaker icon on Windows 11/10 PC or laptop.

When you try to play an audio or video file, you discover that there is no sound. The first thing you should do is check the volume, which you can do by looking for a red X on the speaker icon on your taskbar. First, see whether you unmuted it by accident and if clicking on it unmutes the sound. If you can’t get rid of the icon by unmuting it, you’re dealing with a different issue.

It can be aggravating if your PC’s sound stops working, whether you’re using it as a workstation for video calls and conferences or for enjoyment, such as playing games, viewing movies, or listening to music. Along with vision, one of the most crucial components of the system is the audio, and having the sound fail may be extremely unpleasant.

The red X on the volume icon on your Windows 10 PC could be caused by hardware failure or a software problem. When the audio device is corrupted or not connected correctly, when the audio device stops operating altogether, when the audio drivers are not updated to the current version, or when the audio system is attacked with virus or malware, you may notice this error.

Luckily, there are a few viable remedies for this issue, which we’ve outlined in this piece and which may help you fix the red X mark on your Windows 10 PC’s speaker icon. Let’s have a look at how:

Table of Contents

Method 1: Restart Windows Explorer

Sometimes the problem is caused by Windows Explorer, and merely restarting the process can resolve the problem:

Step 1: Select Task Manager from the context menu of your Windows icon.

Step 2: In the Task Manager window, browse to the Windows processes section under the Processes tab.

Step 3: Locate and pick Windows Explorer from this menu.

Restart your computer by pressing the Restart button below.

Close the Task Manager window, then right-click on the desktop and select Refresh from the context menu.

Check the sound icon on the Taskbar to see if the red X mark has vanished.

Method 2: Update the Audio Driver

When the audio drivers become faulty or outdated, the operating system may have problems connecting with the sound device. In such circumstances, upgrading the audio driver may be of assistance in resolving the problem.

Step 1: To open the Run command window, right-click on the Start menu and select Run.

Step 2: To open Device Manager, type devmgmt.msc in the search field of the Run command and press Enter.

Step 3: Expand the Sound video and game controllers area in the Device Manager window. Right-click on the audio device and select Update driver.

Step 4: Select Search automatically for drivers in the Update Drivers window.

Windows will now begin searching for any new updates that are available and, if any are found, will update it to the most recent version immediately. Restart your computer, and the system sound should now be operational.

Method 3: Through Sound Settings

This approach requires you to verify that the Output and Input audio devices are set to the correct options, as well as that the volume is set to an audible level. Here’s how to find out:

Step 1: Go to the Taskbar and right-click on the speaker icon on the right side. From the menu, choose Sound settings.

Step 2: In the Sound Settings window, pick Sound on the right side.

Step 3: Check if the default Speakers are selected under the Output section > Choose where to play sound. If not, choose Speakers from the drop-down menu.

 

Step 4: Return to the Sound Settings window and navigate to the Input area on the right side > Choose a device for speaking or recording. Make sure it’s set to Microphone. Set it to Microphone if it isn’t already.

Step 5: Next, make sure the Volume for both the Output and Input devices is set to maximum. Set it to maximum if it isn’t already.

Exit the Settings box and look to see if the red X on the speaker icon has vanished.

Method 4: Run Windows Audio troubleshooter

When you have a problem with your system audio, the first thing you should do is run the Windows audio troubleshooter. It searches for problems and, if any are detected, repairs them immediately. Let’s have a look at how you can use the audio troubleshooter:

Step 1: On your keyboard, press the Win + I keys together to open the Settings app.

Step 2: Select System from the drop-down menu in the Settings window.

Step 3: Select Troubleshoot from the right-hand menu.

Step 4: Scroll down to Other trouble-shooters on the right side of the window.

Step 5: In the next box, pick Playing Audio from the Most frequent area and press the Run button.

Windows will now begin checking for issues with the audio device, and if any are discovered, it will immediately resolve the problem. Close the Settings window now, and the sound problem should be fixed.

Method 5: Disable and Enable the Audio Device in the Device Manager

The audio driver may hang while communicating with the device at times, in which case it must be restarted. It should operate normally if you restart the audio device. Let’s have a look at how to reactivate the audio device:

Step 1: Select Device Manager from the Start menu by right-clicking on it.

Step 2: Select Sound, video and game controllers from the Device Manager window. Expand the area, right-click the audio driver, and choose Disable device.

Step 3: Repeat Step 2 for each additional audio device on the list.

Step 4: Select Enable device for each of the audio devices by right-clicking on them one by one.

Restart your computer, and the red X mark on the audio icons should vanish, and everything should work correctly now.

Method 6: Use Add Legacy Hardware to Fix Audio Issue

If updating or restarting the audio driver fails, you can attempt reverting your audio device to older hardware; however, installing older hardware means it does not support plug and play. However, it is capable of resolving the audio problem. Follow the steps below to get started:

Step 1: Open the Run command box by pressing the Win + R hotkeys.

Step 2: Type devmgmt.msc into the Run command search area and press OK.

Step 3: The Device Manager window will appear. Select the Sound, video, and game controllers option from the drop-down menu. Now, select Add legacy hardware from the Action option at the top.

Step 5: Select Next in the Add Hardware wizard.

Step 6: Next, press Next while selecting the radio button next to Search for and install the hardware automatically (Recommended).

 

Step 7: Select the Sound, video, and game controllers tab in the next window and select the Next button.

Step 8: Next, choose the correct sound card from the correct brand and model and choose Next.

Step 9: Click Finish when you’ve finished installing the relevant driver.

Step 10: Return to the Device Manager window and select Enable device from the Sound, video, and game controllers option.

Restart your computer and see if the red X mark remains.

Method 7: Fix the Audio Driver – Uninstall and Reinstall the drivers

You can try uninstalling and reinstalling the drivers if returning the device to legacy hardware does not solve the problem. Let’s have a look at how:

Step 1: On your keyboard, press the Win + X keys together and select Run.

Step 2: The Run command window will appear. In the search box, type devmgmt.msc and hit OK.

Step 3: Expand the section Sound, video, and game controllers in the Device Manager window that appears. Select Uninstall device from the context menu when you right-click on the audio device.

Step 4: Check the box next to Delete the driver software for this device in the Uninstall Device dialogue box. Then press Uninstall once more to complete the procedure.

Restart your computer, and the latest version of the driver should be installed automatically. The red X mark on the audio icon should now be gone, and your system’s sound should be working again.

Method 8: Check If the Audio Service is Running

One of the explanations for the red X mark on the audio icon could be that one or more of the Windows audio services are not working. In this scenario, make sure the audio service is operating and verify if the red X mark is gone and the sound is working again:

Step 1: To start the Run command, right-click on Start and select Run.

Step 2: Type services.msc into the search box and press Enter to launch the Service Manager.

Step 3: In the Services window, check for the following services in the Name column on the right side of the pane:

Windows Audio
Windows Audio Endpoint Builder

Step 4: Now go to the Windows Audio service and, if the Status on the right says Running, right-click on it and select Stop from the menu.

Step 5: Right-click on it again and select Start once it has stopped.

Step 6: Now go to the Windows Audio Endpoint Builder service and restart it by doing Steps 4 and 5. Exit the Services panel, restart your PC, and your device’s sound problem should be resolved.

Method 9: Using the Sound Properties

Step 1: On your keyboard, press the Win + R leys together to type the Run command.

Step 2: To launch the Sound control panel, put mmsys.cpl in the Run command search area and hit Enter.

Step 3: In the Sound properties dialogue box that appears, choose the main speakers of your system and click Set as Default Device under the Playback tab.

To save your changes and exit, press Apply and then OK. Restart your computer for the modifications to take effect, and your sound issue should now be rectified.

Method 10: Use Windows Update

If you haven’t updated the critical Windows Update, you may experience audio difficulties. As a result, be sure to install any pending updates to keep your system current, as this may help to protect the audio device from malfunctioning.

Step 1: Select Settings from the Start menu by right-clicking on it.

Step 2: On the left side of the Settings app that appears, pick Windows Update.

Step 3: It will take you directly to Go to the right side of the screen and select Check for Updates. In the Settings box, go to the Windows Update page.

Step 4: If any updates are available, click Download and Install to finish the download.

The update will then be installed automatically by Windows. Close the Settings window, restart your PC to apply the update, and then check if the red X mark on the sound icon still displays.

Method 11: Registry Fix

If none of the above methods work, you can attempt modifying the registry settings to resolve the sound problem on your computer. Here’s how to make the necessary adjustments:

Step 1: To open the Run command, press the Win + R keys on your keyboard together.

Step 2: Type regedit in the search field of the Run command window and hit OK to open the Registry Editor window.

Step 3: Navigate to the following path in the Registry Editor window:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\MMDevices

Select Permissions from the right-click menu on the MMDevices key.

Step 4: Check the Full Control > Allow boxes for SYSTEM, Administrator, and User in the Permissions window. To save your changes and exit, press Apply and then OK.

Close the registry editor, restart your computer, and then test the sound by playing an audio or video file to see whether it is now operating properly.

Step 5 – Go to the following registry key once more:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\MMDevices\Audio

Step 6 – Repeat steps 3 and 4 to give Admin, User, and SYSTEM complete control.

*Note – Before changing any Registry Editor settings, make a backup of the registry data so you may recover any data lost during the process.

Additional Tips:

You may also use this path to double-check if your audio gear is compatible with your system:

Start > Right-click > Device Manager > Audio inputs and outputs > Speaker > right-click > Properties > General tab > check Device status.

It should say “This device is working properly“.

You can also try changing the system volume or restarting your computer a few times to see if this helps to resolve the problem. If none of the strategies in this article work, you might want to consider getting a new sound card.

 
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