Connect speakers, headphones, a webcam with a built-in microphone, a Bluetooth headset, or some other audio devices to your Windows PC and y’all’ll need to choose which devices Windows actually uses. This is easy to configure–and at present even easier on Windows 10.

On computers with a headphone jack, yous often don’t need to fiddle with settings. Just plug in a headset and your computer will probably be configured to automatically use the headset. Unplug the headset and it will render to using its speakers.

If your headphones or speakers connect through a dissimilar port, though–like USB or Bluetooth–your reckoner will see them as a separate output device, and you’ll need to specifically set them as your playback device in Windows.

Windows 10: Utilize This Simple Taskbar Shortcut to Set Playback Devices


What’s New in Windows 10’s Anniversary Update

This is now quicker and easier than it used to be if yous’re using Windows 10 with the Anniversary Update. You don’t need to open up the Sound panel like you do in Windows vii or 8 (see next section).

But click the audio icon in your notification surface area–likewise known as the system tray)–click the “Select playback device” option, and select the playback device you desire to use from the menu.

Yous’re done. If you’re currently playing audio, it should automatically switch to the device you lot chose.

How to Gear up Your Playback and Recording Devices from the Sound Menu

On previous versions of Windows–or if you merely need more than advanced settings–you must utilize the Sound control panel. Yous likewise demand to do this to change your default recording device–for example, to select between dissimilar microphones–fifty-fifty on Windows ten’southward Anniversary Update.

To practise this, right-click the speaker icon in the notification area. Select “Playback devices” if you desire to select your default speakers or “Recording devices” if you want to select your microphone.

Utilize the Playback and Recording tabs to choose your devices. Correct-click a device and select “Prepare as Default Device” to go far your default audio device. If annihilation is currently playing or recording on your organization, it should switch to the device yous cull as your default.

There’s as well a “Fix every bit Default Communication Device” option y’all can utilize. Communications–similar video and audio calls placed over Skype–will use the advice device instead of your normal device. This allows you to use your calculator’s speakers for normal sound while the audio from a voice call is played on your headset, for example.

The Audio panel controls the default devices in applications that respect your default setting. However, many individual applications as well provide options that permit you cull playback and recording devices in that individual application’due south settings.

For example, in Skype you lot tin can select Tools > Options > Sound Settings. From here, y’all tin can choose your microphone and speakers, and even select a split device that will be used for ringing when someone calls y’all. The device you lot choose hither can be separate from your system-wide setting, making Skype use different audio devices from the other applications on your computer.

How to See Which Device an Application is Using

The confined to the right of a playback or recording device in the Sound panel volition show y’all which devices are playing sounds.

To see which applications are playing audio on which device, you can open the Volume Mixer by right-clicking the sound icon in your notification are and selecting “Open Volume Mixer”.

Click the “Device” menu and select a device. You’ll see the applications playing audio on that particular device.

If an application keeps playing audio on a device yous didn’t fix as the default, y’all may demand to get into that application’s settings and change your audio device separately. Or, you may but merely need to close and restart the awarding to fix the problem and have it respect your new option of audio device.