6 Fixes for Laptop Not Detecting Headphones Issue

Sometimes when you are ready to play your favorite game or watch your favorite movie and go-ahead to plug in your headphones, Windows 10 gives an error message saying, “Windows 10 won’t recognize headphones?”

Headphones with a Laptop

The message can leave you frustrated and annoyed. Fortunately, there are a few simple methods that you can use to fix this problem. In this guide, we have listed the probable causes, such as problematic drivers, incompatible software, etc., and the methods you can employ to fix the Laptop Not Detecting Headphones.

Why Is My Laptop Audio Jack Not Detecting Headphones?

There could be numerous causes why your headphones can’t be detected by Windows. If you are using Bluetooth or wireless headphones, there could be possible Bluetooth conflicts and operating system glitches preventing you from using your headphones.

For wired and wireless headphones, Windows has dedicated drivers that interact with the hardware of your headphones. It is possible that those drivers are not up-to-date, or the firmware of your headphones is outdated.

Another possible cause could be physical damage to your headphones. Headphone wires are fairly sensitive to wear and tear issues and might break on a simple pull. If such is the case, you need to buy new headphones.

How To Fix Laptop Not Detecting Headphones In Windows 10?

In most cases, you can fix the laptop not detecting headphones in windows 10 error by tweaking a few Windows or headphone settings. In our guide, we have a few solutions that will prove to help in fixing any firmware, internal settings, or driver-related problems in headphones.

  1. Check your headphone and jack
  2. Go for a complete power cut
  3. Update audio/sound driver
  4. Disable front panel jack detection
  5. Change default sound format
  6. Set the headphones as the system’s default playback device

1. Check on your headphone and Headset Jack

It is possible that the wires of your headphones are torn out and are unable to function properly. Check thoroughly for any dent or tear in the wires or the headphones that might be causing the headphones to malfunction.

If there is no physical damage that you can see, try connecting your headphones to another device and see if that device is able to recognize them or not.

If any other device doesn’t recognize your headphones, there might be some issue with the headphones, and you should contact the manufacturer or get a new one. If they are recognized on other devices, the issue then lies with your laptop and can be fixed using the methods provided below.

Also, ensure that you clean your jack before plugging it in to remove any dust particles that might be clogging it. An unclean headphone jack could also be a reason for Windows 10 not detecting headphones error.

2. Go for a Complete Power cut

Computers work on ports, and any peripheral connected to your computer uses these ports. Sometimes there could be a conflict in these ports or other background services running on your system, which can lead to errors such as the laptop audio jack not detecting headphones error.

We are showing you a trick that works on all peripheral devices, including headphones if your computer doesn’t detect them. It includes cutting the full power from your computer and refreshing the whole system and its configuration. It will restart all services and fix the minor bugs.

Step 1. Disconnect all peripheral devices or externally connected devices from your laptop.

Step 2. You need to force shut down the system. To do this, press and hold the power button for 30 to 40 seconds until the computer shuts down.

Step 3. Turn your laptop over and take out the battery from it. If your laptop has an inbuilt battery, you can go to your laptop manufacturer’s website and find help regarding removing the inbuilt battery. Even if you can’t do that, you can skip this step. Don’t worry.

Step 4. Keep your laptop aside for 5 minutes without connecting anything to it.

Step 5. Insert the laptop battery and plug the laptop into a power source. Allow the battery to charge completely.

Step 6. After the laptop battery is charged, power on your system and connect your headphones to it to test if they work.

After your system restarts, any issue that was being caused by conflicts will be fixed. However, if your laptop can’t detect the headphones, you can try the next methods.

3. Update audio/sound driver

Updating audio drivers is the most straightforward solution you can use. It is possible that there is an incompatibility between the driver and headphones due to outdated or corrupted audio/sound drivers. You can fix it by either manually updating the driver or using third-party apps.

Update drivers automatically using Windows

Step 1. Press the Windows icon key and type control in the Windows search box. From the available results, click on Control Panel.

Open control panel

Step 2. Click on Hardware and Sound settings. Next, click on Sound given in the right pane.

Go to sound section

Step 3. Navigate to the Playback tab in the open Sound window and select your headphones.

Click on properties in Sound window

Step 4. Click on Properties. Next, tap the Properties button under the Controller Information section in the open window.

Step 5. Click on the Change Settings button. (You should have the administrator privileges to make the changes.)

Choose update driver to update sound driver

Step 6. Navigate to the Driver tab and click on the Update Driver button.

It will update the headphone driver with the latest, most compatible version. Now connect your headphones to your computer and check whether they work.

Update drivers using third-party apps

In the previous method, Windows sometimes might not be able to find a driver and hence won’t update the desired driver. Alternatively, you can update the driver manually by searching the driver information on google and downloading the latest version from the driver manufacturer’s website.

It is a risky process and might do more harm than good if not done properly. To avoid such risks, there are various third-party apps or utility tools that help you in keeping the drivers on your system updated.

You can use the utility apps not only for sound/audio drivers but for all the drivers available on your system. Some of the most common Windows errors, including system lag issues and BSoD errors, occur due to incompatible drivers.

To avoid such problems, you can use driver utility tools such as DriverFix and Driver Easy to install and use on your Windows PC. The software is easy to use and can be used to update all drivers on your system in a couple of clicks.

4. Disable front panel jack detection for Realtek

Windows 10 often fails to recognize headphone jacks if the front panel jack detection is enabled. This issue is related to Realtek software. Here’s how you can fix the Windows 10 won’t recognize headphone error.

Step 1. Simultaneously press the Windows icon and R keys to open the run dialog box.

Step 2. In the input box, type the control panel and hit enter or press OK.

Step 3. Please go to the hardware and sound section in the control panel and click on the Sound option given in the right pane.

Step 4. Look for Realtek HD Audio Manager in the open window and open it.

Step 5. Navigate to Connector settings and click on Disable front panel jack detection check box. However, if you have a newer version of Realtek, navigate to the Default Advanced Settings and tap on it. Now click on the “Separate all input jacks as independent input devices” option in the open window. Once you have made the respective changes, click on OK to apply the changes.

Once you have made the above changes, reconnect your headphones and check whether they work. If you are still facing the laptop not detecting headphones audio jack error, follow the next method.

5. Change default sound format

Windows allows multiple sound formats. However, sometimes the set sound format in the system might be conflicting with the one coming from headphones which can be the culprit behind the laptop not recognizing headphones error. Here’s how you can change the sound format.

Step 1. Press the Windows icon key and type control in the Windows search box. From the available results, click on Control Panel.

Step 2. Click on Hardware and Sound settings. Next, click on Sound given in the right pane.

Step 3. Navigate to the Playback tab and double-tap on the “Default device” option.

Step 4. In the properties dialog box that opens, go to the Advanced tab.

Set default sound format

Step 5. Search for “Default format” and choose any other format available by tapping on it.

Step 6. Now look for “Allow the application to take exclusive control of this device” and uncheck the check box.

Step 7. Once you have done the changes, click on the Apply button to apply the changes and click OK.

Now, restart your laptop and reconnect your headphones to your system and check whether it is working or not. If Windows cannot recognize the headphones again, check out the next solutions.

6. Set the headphones as the system’s default playback device

If you use the same headphones all the time, you can set them as the default playback device to fix the “laptop not detecting headphones” issue. Windows sometimes get confused when we use multiple headphone devices and cause minor glitches. Follow the below steps to set your headphones as the default playback device for windows.

Step 1. Press the Windows icon key and type control in the Windows search box. From the available results, click on Control Panel.

Step 2. Click on Hardware and Sound settings. Next, click on Sound given in the right pane.

Step 3. Navigate to the Playback tab in the open Sound window and right-click in the empty space.

Step 4. Choose “Show disabled devices” to see a list of any disabled devices on your system.

Show disabled devices to set headphone as default

Step 5. In the list, look for your headphones and right-click on your device. In the open context menu, choose Enable.

Step 6. Choose the Set as Default option.

Step 7. Click Apply to apply the changes.

After making the above changes, plug in your headphones and check whether Windows 10 is able to detect your headphones.

Final Words: Conclusion

Headphones not getting detected can be an annoying issue, especially when you are in absolute need of them. The methods provided in this guide cover all the known issues and their fixes to help you resolve Windows 10 laptops not detecting headphones errors.

Before you begin with any of the methods, ensure that you have checked the headphone and jack conditions. A damaged headphone is less likely to work, and so is an unclean headphone jack.

An outdated driver might cause your headphones not to get detected an error. To fix that, you can install third-party apps such as Driver Easy and DriverFix to keep all your system drivers updated.

We hope that by following the troubleshooting steps in this guide and tweaking the sound settings in your laptop, you were able to fix the headphones issue and are able to enjoy the movie or game that you were planning on doing before.

Meet the Author

Abdul Rahim has been working in Information Technology for over two decades. Learn how Abdul got his start as a Tech Blogger , and why he decided to start this Software blog. If you want to send Abdul a quick message, then visit his contact page here.