How to Fix Red X Mark on Speaker Icon in Windows 11/10

You want to play an audio or a video file and all of a sudden you find that there’s no sound. The first thing you usually check is, if the the volume is set at the right level and that’s when you find a red X mark on the speaker icon your taskbar. You must first check if you accidentally unmuted it and if clicking on it unmutes the sound. However, if you are unable to remove the icon through unmuting, the problem is something else.


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Whether you are using your PC as a workstation  for video calls and conferences, or for entertainment, like playing games/ watching movies/listening to music, it can be frustrating if the sound stops working. The system audio is one of the important aspects along with video and the sound failing to work can be annoying to the core.

The red X on volume icon in your Windows 10 PC can be either due to hardware corruption or due to an issue with the software. Some of the reasons why you may see this error are, when the audio device is corrupted or is not connected in the right manner, when the audio device stops working completely, when the audio drivers are not updated to the latest version, or the audio system is infected by virus or malware causing the issue.

Fortunately, there are a couple of possible solutions for this issue which we have listed in this post and may help fix the red X mark on the speaker icon on your Windows 10 PC. Let’s see how:

 

Method 1: Restart Windows Explorer

 

Sometimes the issue could be related to the Windows Explorer and simply restarting the process can help fix the issue:

 

Step 1: Right-click on your the Windows icon and select Task Manager.

 

Windows Icon Right Click Task Manager

 

Step 2: In the Task Manager window, under the Processes tab, go to the Windows processes section.

Step 3: Here, find and select Windows Explorer.

Press the Restart button below.

 

Task Manager Processes Windows Processes Windows Explorer Restart

 

Now, close the Task Manager window, right-click on desktop and select Refresh.

Once done, check the sound icon on Taskbar and the red X mark is gone.

Method 2: Check If the Audio Service is Running

 

If any of the Windows audio services are not running, that can also be one of the reasons why you see the red X mark on the audio icon. In such a case, you have to make sure that the audio service is running to check if it removes the red X mark and the sound is working again:

 

Step 1: Right-click on Start and select Run to launch the Run command.

Step 2: In the search box, type services.msc and hit Enter to open the Service Manager.

 

Run Command Services.msc Enter

 

Step 3: In the Services window, on the right side of the pane, look for the below services under the Name column:

 

Windows Audio
Windows Audio Endpoint Builder

 

Services Name Windows Audio Windows Audio Endpoint Builder

 

Step 4: Now, go to the Windows Audio service and if under the Status on its right shows Running, right-click on it and click on Stop.

 

Services Windows Audio Right Click Stop Min

 

 

Step 5: Once its stopped, right-click on it again and select Start.

 

Services Name Windows Audio Right Click Start

 

Step 6: Now, go to the Windows Audio Endpoint Builder service and repeat the Steps 4 and 5 to restart the service.

 

Now, exit the Services window, restart your PC and the sound problem on your device should be fixed.

Method 3: Update the Audio Driver

 

The operating system may encounter issues while communicating with the sound device when the audio drivers get corrupted or are outdated. In such cases, updating the audio driver may help resolve the issue.

 

Step 1: Right-click on Start menu and select Run to open the Run command window.

 


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Start Right Click Run

 

Step 2: In the Run command, type devmgmt.msc in the search field and hit Enter to launch Device Manager.

 

Run Command Devmgmt.msc Ok

 

 

Step 3: In the Device Manager window, go to the Sound video and game controllers section and expand it.

Right-click on audio device and select Update driver.

 

Device Manager Sound, Video And Game Controllers Audio Driver Right Click Update Driver

 

Step 4: Now, in the Update Drivers window, select Search automatically for drivers.

 


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Update Drivers Search Automatically For Updated Driver Software

 

Windows will now start looking up for any available new updates and and if available, will finish updating it to the latest version automatically.

Now, restart your PC and the system sound should be working now.

 

Method 4: Through Sound Settings

 

In this method you must check if the Output and the Input audio device is set to the correct choices, and also check if the volume is set to audible level. Here’s how to check:

 

Step 1: Go to the Taskbar and on the right side, right-click on the speaker icon.

Select Sound settings from the menu.

 

Taskbar Speaker Icon Right Click Sound Settings

 

Step 2: In the Sound Settings window, go to the right side and select Sound.

 

Settings System Sound

 

Step 3: Under the Output section > Choose where to play sound, check if it’s set to the default Speakers.

If not, select the Speakers option from the drop-down.

 

System Sound Output Choose Where To Play Sound

 

Step 4: Now, return to Sound Settings window and on the right side, go to the Input section > Choose a device for speaking or recording.

Here, check if it’s set to Microphone.

If not, set it to Microphone.

 

System Sound Input Choose A Device For Speaking Or Recording

 

Step 5: Next, check if the Volume is set to maximum for both the Output device and the Input device.

If not, set it to maximum.

 

Now, exit the Settings window and check if the red X mark on the speaker icon is gone.

 

Method 5: Run Windows Audio troubleshooter

 

When any issues with the system audio, it’s wise to run the Windows audio troubleshooter to start with. If looks up for any issues and if found, fixes them on the spot. Let’s see how to run the audio troubleshooter:

 

Step 1: Press the Win + I keys together on your keyboard to launch the Settings app.

Step 2: In the Settings window, click on System.

 

Settings System

 

Step 3: On the right side, click on Troubleshoot.

 

System Troubleshoot

 

Step 4: Now, go to the right side of the window, scroll down and click on Other trouble-shooters.

 

System Troubleshoot Other Troubles Hooters

 

Step 5: In the next window, under the Most frequent section, select Playing Audio and click on the Run button.

 

Other Trouble Shooters Most Frequent Play Audio Run

 

Windows will now start checking for any issues with the audio device and if any found, it will fix the issue automatically.

 

Now, close the Settings window and the sound issue should be resolved.

 

Method 6: Disable and Enable the Audio Device in the Device Manager

 

There are times when the audio driver may hang while communicating with the device, and that’s when it needs to be restarted. As you restart the audio device, it should work normally again. Let’s see how to restart the audio device:

 

Step 1: Right-click on Start and select Device Manager.

 

Start Right Click Device Manager

 

Step 2: In the Device manager window, navigate to the Sound, video and game controllers option.

Expand the section, right-click on the audio driver and select Disable device.

 

Device Manager Sound, Video And Game Controllers Right Click Disable Device

 

Step 3: Repeat the Step 2 for any other audio devices in the list.

Step 4: Now, right-click on the audio devices one by one and select Enable device for each of them.

 

Now, reboot your PC and the red X mark on the audio icons should disappear and it should work fine now.

Method 7: Use Add Legacy Hardware to Fix Audio Issue

 

When updating or restarting the audio driver does not work, you can try to revert  your audio device to the old hardware, however, installing the old hardware means that it does not support plug and play. But, it can fix the audio issue. Follow the below instructions:

 

Step 1: Press the Win + R hotkeys to open the Run command box.

Step 2: In the Run command search field, type devmgmt.msc and press OK.

 

Run Command Devmgmt.msc Ok

 

Step 3: This will open the Device Manager window.

Here, select the Sound, video and game controllers option.

Now, click on the Action tab at the top and select Add legacy hardware.

 

Device Manaager Sound, Video And Game Controllers Add Legacy Hardware

 

Step 5: In the Add Hardware wizard, click Next.

 

Add Hrdware Next Min

 

Step 6: Next, select the radio button next to Search for and install the hardware automatically (Recommended) and press Next. 

 

Search For And Install The Hardware Automatically Next

 

Step 7: In the next window, look for the Sound, video and game controllers tab and press the Next button.

Step 8: Now, select the correct sound card of the correct brand and model and press Next.

Step 9: Complete installing the related driver and click Finish.

Step 10: Now, return to the Device Manager window, right click on the Sound, video and game controllers option and select Enable device.

 

Sound Video And Game Controllers Default Audio Device Right Click Enable Device

 

Now, reboot your PC and check if the red X mark still exists.

 

Method 8: Fix the Audio Driver – Uninstall and Reinstall the drivers

 

If reverting the device to legacy hardware does not fix the issue,  you can try uninstalling and re-installing the drivers. Let’s see how:

 

Step 1: Press the Win + X keys together on your keyboard and select Run.

Step 2: This will open the Run command window.

Here, type devmgmt.msc in the search box and hit OK.

 

Run Command Devmgmt.msc Ok

 

Step 3: In the Device Manager window that opens, navigate to Sound, video and game controllers and expand the section.

Now, right-click on the audio device and select Uninstall device.

 

Device Manager Sound, Video And Game Controllers Conexant Smartaudio Right Click Uninstall Device

 

Step 4: Next, in the Uninstall Device dialogue box, check the box next to Delete the driver software for this device.

Then, press Uninstall again to finish the process.

 

Uninstall Device Prompt Delete The Driver Software For This Device Check Uninstall Min

 

Now, restart your PC and the latest version of the driver should be automatically installed.

The red X mark on the audio icon should be gone now and the sound on your system should be back up and running.

Method 9: Using the Sound Properties

 

Step 1: Press the Win + R leys together on your keyboard to pen the Run command.

Step 2: In the Run command search field, type mmsys.cpl and press Enter to open the Sound control panel.

 

Run Command Mmsys.cpl Enter

 

Step 3: In the Sound properties dialogue box that opens, under the Playback tab, select the main speakers of your system and select Set as Default Device.

Press Apply and then OK to save the changes and exit.

 

Restart your PC for the changes to be applied and your sound problem should be resolved now.

 

Method 10: Use Windows Update

 

Sometimes, the audio issues may arise if you have missed updating the crucial Windows Update. Therefore, make sure that you install any pending updates to keep your system up-to-date and this may keep the audio device problem-free.


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Step 1: Right-click on Start and select Settings.

 

Start Right Click Settings

 

Step 2: In the Settings app that opens, select Windows Update on the left.

 

Settings Windows Update

 

Step 3: It takes you straight to Now, go to the right side and click on Check for updates.Windows Update page in the Settings window.

 

Settings Windows Update Check For Updates

 

Step 4: If any updates found, click on Download and Install to complete the download process.

Windows will then automatically install the update.

 

Once done, close the Settings window, restart your PC for the update to be applied and now check if the red X mark still appears on the sound icon.

 

Method 11: Registry Fix

 

When none of the above method works, you can try editing the registry settings and this may help fix the sound issue on your system. Here’s how to make the changes:

 

Step 1: Press the Win + R keys together on your keyboard to open Run command.

Step 2: In the Run command window, type regedit in the search field and press OK to pen the Registry Editor window.

 

Run Command Regedit Ok

 

Step 3: In the Registry Editor window, navigate to the below path:

 

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\MMDevices

 

Now, right-click on the MMDevices key and select Permissions.

 

Registry Editor Navigate To Mmdevices Right Click Permissions

 

Step 4: In its Permissions window, check the Full Control > Allow boxes for SYSTEM, Administrator and the User.

Press Apply and then OK to save changes and exit.

 

Permissions Permissions For System, Administrators Or Users Full Control Check

 

Now, close the registry editor, reboot your PC and now try playing an audio or video file to check if the sound is working properly now.

Step 5 – Now again navigate to the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\MMDevices\Audio

Step 6 – Repeat the step 3 and 4 to give full control to Admin, user, and SYSTEM.

*Note – Before you make any changes to the Registry Editor settings, make sure that you create a backup of the registry data, so that, you can recover any data that you may lose during the process.

 

Additional Tips:

Additionally, you can double-check if your audio hardware is compatible with your system through this path:

 

Start > Right-click > Device Manager > Audio inputs and outputs > Speaker > right-click > Properties > General tab > check Device status.

It should say “This device is working properly“.

 

Besides, you can try adjusting the system volume, or restart your system a few times to check if it helps fix the issue. If none of the methods in this post work, you may consider replacing the sound card.

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