Why can't I hear through my headphones? - General Hardware - Desktop - Dell Community

Why can't I hear through my headphones?


Desktop computer Forums (Audio, General Hardware, Video)

Why can't I hear through my headphones?

  • I read recently a message about not being able to use headphones through the jacks on the front of the tower.  I followed the advice given to go through Windows Media Player, go to tool, and then mess with something (can't remember what it was) to fix the problem.  When I tried this I didn't have the options that were listed in the message.  How do I get sound in my headphones? Also how do I tell what version of Win. Medai Player I have.
  • First, I'll ask the obvious: Did you use the thumbwheel next to the headphone jack?(If your pc has one)
    Also, Go to start>control panel>sounds, speech, and audio devices>adjust the system volume>click on the"volume tab">under"device Volume" click "advanced">make sure all the volume controls are at least midway>make sure the "mute" check boxes are unchecked. to find out what version media player you have, open Windows media player>click on the "help" tab and on the drop-down choices>choose "about windows media player" It should display the version, hope this helps.

    Also, if that doesn't work, Go to start>control panel>sounds, speech, and audio devices>adjust the system volume>Volume tab>under "speaker settings", click on "advanced">click on "speakers"tab>and under "speaker setup" click on the drop-down box>and choose"stereo headphones"

    Message Edited by msil217 on 02-13-2003 05:30 PM

  • The wheel is turned all the way up, I've tried both ways with it.  I've also done the control panel volume control area.  The one message said that with Windows Media Player it did something automatically and you had to configure it to use your headphone jacks.  It mentioned the Medai player being ver.7 or 7.1 I think. 
  • I don't know which model computer you have, but on all of my older computers the only headphone jack on the front of the system is the one on the CD-ROM drive.  That jack will only ouput sound from a music CD playing in the CD-ROM drive.  If you want to hear sounds playing from your sound card (i.e. music playing from files running on your hard drive), you need to plug the headphones into the speaker jacks on the sound card, or use a splitter and switch so that you can direct the sound either to the headphones or the speakers.


  • Cams_babydoll: If you want to enable the jack on the cd-rom, the instructions are here.
    After doing the procedure in the article you'll need to reboot for it to work. Afterward the speakers will not work until you go through the process to reverse the procedure. Best to follow Steves advice if you want the speakers to work also.

  • Isn't there any other way to fix the problem?  I have a Dimensions 4400 (XP) and if the jacks are there shouldn't they work without having to do all that good stuff?  I found that message under audio, and Windows Media Player ver.7.1 will disable your jacks, but I don't have 7.1.  The person who posted the message has XP also and there was no solution for her either.  There's gotta be someone out there (DELL support???) that knows how to correct this problem.
  • Try the instructions under "More Information" in MS KB 283324.
  • Thanks Blueshift, I read the article and tried what it suggested, still nothing.  I am going to contact them to see what else I can do.  If anybody else out there has a suggestion I am running on a Dimensions 4400 (XP) with Window Media Player 9.0 (latest upgrade). Thanks everybody for your time.
  • Cams,

    Thank you for using the Dell Community Forum.

    1.The head phone jacks on the CDROM drives are for CD-Audio only.
    You will not get movie, game, or other sounds out of those jacks.

    2.If you enable DAE-Digital Audio Extraction, that sends the CD-Audio
    down the PCI bus to the sound card/speakers. This also disables the front head phone jacks on your CDROM drives. Thus the articles for WMP 7.1....
    DAE is needed when the system lacks a "molex" cable going from the CDROM drive to the sound card. Anyone that has ever worked on a system before the age of DAE, remembers that long skinny cable that went from your CDROM drive to your sound card. If you did not have that cable, you would
    not get CD-Audio from your sound card when playing cd's. If you turn off
    DAE, you need to have one of those cables in the system to get CD-Audio to the sound card. Once DAE was established, Dell stopped including the "audio molex" cable, and newer systems will not have that cable.

    3.Front Control Panel Head Phone Jack.
    This head phone jack is located under the front door of some Dimension systems. This head phone jack only provides basic right and left channel audio for head phones. This jack also only works with systems that have
    integrated Audio Cards. If using a PCI or Expansion Audio card, this
    head phone jack will not work at all. If you plug a set of head phones into this jack, it will turn off the read integrated audio jacks, and you will not get any sound from your speakers until you remove the head phones.
  • Thank you so much everybody for all your help.  I can now use my headphones without disrupting the house! Thanks!!!