Headphones Lab is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

How to fix computer not recognizing headphones in Windows

In this article, we talk you through the seven different ways you can fix your computer not recognizing headphones in Windows. They are all easy steps to follow.
Share this article
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Technology is a wonderful thing… until it fails to work. There is nothing more frustrating than settling down for an extended gaming session, and your Windows PC or laptop decides to not recognize your headphones.

In the vast majority of cases, the audio on your Windows will be working just fine, and the headphones you are using are completely undamaged. Which leaves the question, why are the headphones not being recognized?

There are a few different reasons why your headphones may not be working. While one solution may work for you, it may not for others. Given this, it is not always completely straightforward to find out the issue you are facing.

However, it should be reassuring for you to learn that the majority of these connection issues are easily resolved in a few simple steps. Many of them will only take a few moments to adjust.

In this article, we will be talking you through the different potential causes for your headphones not connecting to Windows. We will be discussing how you can resolve these issues. While we have tried to cover as many issues as possible, if you have tried all of these solutions with no avail, you may need to speak to a Windows specialist.

Potential Problem 1 – USB Ports

The first reason why your headphones may not be connecting to your Windows PC is due to a fault of the USB port. Over time, you may experience some problems with the USB ports, and they may stop working if they have received any damage.

The best way to test this is by placing the headphones (if they connect using a USB port) into a different USB port. If the headphones connect, then the issue is resolved. However, this will mean that the first USB port is faulty. You will need to address this issue if you want all the USB ports in working order.

Potential Problem 2 – Headphone Jack

If your headphones connect using the headphone jack, it may be the headphone jack itself that is causing the problem. The best way to test this is by placing the headphones into another device. 

If the headphones work when placed into a different device, this is an issue with the headphone jack. If you want to continue using the headphones with Windows, you will need to have the headphone jack fixed by a professional. 

Potential Problem 3 – Faulty Headphones

Before you assume that the issue is with Windows or your PC, it is worth taking into consideration that it may be the headphones themselves that are faulty. This is common especially if the headphones have been damaged, or if they are an older piece of technology.

The best way to test this theory is to try the headphones with different devices. If they connect with no issues, it is a problem with Windows itself. If they do not connect at all, it is likely that the headphones are faulty and will need to be fixed or replaced.

Potential Problem 4 – Sound Format

Another potential problem can be linked to the sound format your device is following. If the wrong sound format settings have been chosen, this will cause the headphones to not be recognized by Windows. 

Changing these settings is simple and only requires a few easy steps. 

To begin with you will need to bring up the Control Panel menu. Then you will need to choose the Sound option. Once the Sound Menu has popped up, you will need to choose the Properties option, and click the Advanced tab which is the third option from the left. 

You will then find the Default Format settings, which allows you to change the Sound Format from a number of different options, using the drop-down box. Here you can choose between the options until you will find the sound format that matches your headphones. 

If this is successful, your headphones will connect again. If it is not, it is unlikely that this is causing the issue.

Potential Problem 5 – Software Updates

Another reason why your headphones may not be recognized by Windows is due to software updates, especially if you are behind with the updates that need to be carried out. 

The updates that can affect the headphone connection being recognized are the audio and sound driver. To locate these settings, you will need to enter the Control Panel. Next you will need to choose the Sound option. After this, you will need to click on the Playback button.

The Playback button will bring up a menu that will allow you to choose between the different devices that are connected to your Windows device. The Speakers will be the primary option, but underneath there should be a Headphones icon. 

You will want to click on the Headphones icon, and then choose Controller Information and the Properties. After you have done this a box will appear with four tabs at the top. Below this, there will be a Change Settings option, which will have a blue and yellow shield directly to its left-hand side, you will need to click on this. 

After this, you will need to access the Driver tab, and use the Update Driver option. This will then bring up a menu that will allow you to Search automatically for updated driver software, you will want to choose this option. 

If there is a software update available, this will run the update. Your PC may need to restart in order for the change to take full effect. If this was the issue, your headphones will now be recognized by your Windows device again. 

Potential Problem 6 – Recognition Issues

Another easy way in which you can resolve the recognition issues is through using the audio troubleshooter on your PC. These settings are designed to help resolve connectivity issues. 

To find these settings, you will need to click on the Troubleshooting in your computer’s settings. Next you will need to choose Playing Audio, and you will want to Run the troubleshooter. 

This will allow you to select the Headphones options, and then you will want to avoid opening Audio Enhancements. Instead, you will want to choose to Play Test Sounds. If you can hear a sound then there is no connection issue. If you cannot, you will need to select I Didn’t Hear Anything. This will then inform the PC to Reinstall its audio driver. 

Once you have done this, you may need to turn Windows off and back on again. If this was what was causing the issues, when you reconnect the headphones, they will not be working again. 

Potential Problem 7 – Front Panel Jack Detections

This final potential problem will only affect those who use Realtek HD Audio Manager with their Windows. If you use this software, you may need to disable the front panel jack detections. 

To do this, click on the Control Panel in the Settings of your Windows, and choose Realtek HD Audio Manager. Next you will want to select the Device Advanced Settings and choose the Separate all input jacks as independent input devices option. Next enable the Multi-stream Mode

This should allow the headphones to now be recognized by Windows after you have turned the device off and back on again. 


We hope that you have found this article helpful and that you were able to successfully connect your headphones to Windows. As you can see, these solutions are fairly easy to carry out and follow. 

In the vast majority of cases, it is likely that one of these options will resolve the connection issues for you. However, in some cases, the issues may be linked to other software or Windows issues. If you have tried all of these problems and have carried out the solutions, but you are still experiencing issues, it is likely that you will need to contact a professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get my computer to recognize my headphones mic?

If your headphones are connecting, but your headphone mic is not being recognized, you will need to enable the headphones via the Control Panel. You will need to choose Sound and then go across to the Recording tab. From here, you will want to choose the Show Disabled Devices option and click on Headset Microphone

You will then want to choose Enable. In the vast majority of cases this will then allow the microphone to be recognized by Windows. You may need to restart the PC in order for it to be enabled.

If this was not successful, there may be an issue with the microphone itself. You should always check this too if the connection is still not working. You can do this by plugging the headphones into a separate device and testing whether the microphone works when using this device. 

If the microphone works, there is a recognition issue with Windows. If it does not work, there is an issue with the microphone itself.


Share this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Leave a Comment