Failed to play test tone

Ok so here is my problem, my sound hasn't been working for a few weeks now. If if try to play a test tone from the control panel i get a message that says "failed to play test tone." However when i first turn on my laptop it plays the startup sound so i know it isn't a hardware issue.

Here are the "solutions" i have tried that havn't worked:
I opened my control panel>hardware and sound>sound>speakers>properties> enhancements>disable all enhancements. This didn't help anything at all

I disabled a certain windows update that was said to cause this problem, security update KB974571. rebooted my computer, still no sound.

I tried a system restore but my windows 7 is very recent and there's only 2 restore points and neither of them work.

I tried uninstalling and reinstalling my drivers, no sound.

There was also a registry edit solution that i can't seem to find the link to, but that didn't work either.

PLEASE HELP, this has been driving me crazy!!

p.s. I'm not that tech savvy so if i have any of this stuff wrong sorry


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
I do not see a "Hardware and Sound: option in control panel. Do you know who makes your sound system?

I have a Realtek option in the Control panel in which I can test the speakers.

If it plays the startup sound, have you checked other Windows sounds? Perhaps it is just not able to play other formats.


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

You have probably already checked this but the only thing I can tell you is how my sound setup looks.
If I click on the desktop and select Personalize, then click the sound link at the bottom of the page, it opens the sound window.

On the playback tab my computer shows that speakers are checked with a green check mark and underneath it lists my sound care.
Creative SB X-Fi and says it is the default device.

Clicking on Properties shows my Sound Card Name again and under that Jack Information and at the bottom it shows that the device is enabled.

Going back to the playback tab, play a music file while you have the tab open.

You should see the green bar on the right side move up and down as the music plays.
If you don't then it isn't playing the music through your sound card and you should try uninstalling it and reinstalling it.

If the green bar moves up and down but you don't hear the sound then something is wrong between your sound card and the speakers. So check all of the connections again.

It is weird that you can hear the startup sound, but nothing else.

Sorry that I don't have any more help, but sound issues are some of the oddest.

I had a friend just a few months ago who couldn't get sound after installing Windows 7.
We installed drivers, removed the sound card in Device Manager, and rebooted, and let is discover his sound card again. nothing.
Finally we we unplugged all the speaker wires and plugged them back in even thought the sound was working fine right up to the Windows upgrade.

Just like that the sound started working and has ever since.
I have no idea why, I'm sure that everything was plugged in correctly but that fixed it.


Last edited:


Essential Member
Premium Supporter
CP - Hardware and Sound (Which is in my Control Panel) will lead you to the same options as outlined above. But, in the second window, under "Sound" tab, do you get any results from testing any of the other associated sounds?
Some of the facilities may not be available, but, should you be able, look under the Also, look under the "line in" tab (I think that is where you found "Enhancements"?) and explore some of the other tabs. "Listen to this device" should be enabled, including "Continue running when on battery power". Under "level" Pull up the volume.
Finally, Under the "Advanced" tab - I am sure you will have that one? - Try a couple of the other "Qualities"

I'm a little confused, let me explain more in detail how I got to enhancements so you can let me know how to get to the tab you are talking about, i went start> control panel> hardware and sound>sound>single clicked speakers and clicked properties>then enhancements tab>disable all enhancements. i dont know what exactly this does but it was one of the possible solutions to fix my problem.

And i forgot to mention I'm on a laptop so it isn't an exterior speaker.


Essential Member
Premium Supporter
With a laptop, that is the only path so thats is ok. But the only function where I would get that message would be under the "Sounds" tab.
Have a look there and make sure you have a scheme selected. Also, look in Windows\Media and make sure you do have the .wav files in there, things do sometimes get erased!

Failed to play test tone Solved! This worked for me.

If you have gone crazy and re-installed all the sound drivers, set to default/enabled and disabled all your sound devices, did a system restore and that still didn't help. Try This!!

Download > System Update Readiness Tool for Windows 7 (this link is for x64 based systems)

This installed a Hot Fix on my PC that was needed to do a proper windows update!

Then try Updating Your Windows and see if
Windows 7 Service Pack 1 comes up.

I needed this on my PC. After this was installed and my PC was restarted Voila! I had Sound!

If your Windows Update does not reveal that this is needed. I would suggest downloading it Here

and Re-installing it.

Hope This Helps!!:triumphant:


All windows versions have “Failed to play test tone” error. This error is actually between Windows and the sound device your computer is using. I have visited some forums to get the answers then I surprised to read that they said it’s hardware issue which is totally wrong. We can get rid of via different ways like Restart Windows Audio, scannow from an Elevated Command Prompt, Disable all enhancements and Install the High Definition Audio Device driver.

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