Returning sound after MSN software upgrade


April 29, 2004|By James Coates | James Coates,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

I clip and save all your advice columns but haven't found a solution for my problem - getting sound to play after I upgraded my MSN 8 software to MSN 9.

I did a quick restore and reinstalled my printer and scanner and reinstalled MSN 8, which had no problem, yet still no sound. I have tried everything a novice can do, checked all cable connections and speakers, and don't know what else to try.

It's easier to point you to the fix than it is to explain why this problem vexes so many folks. That's especially true for people who make changes to their multimedia habits, such as using different programs to play different files.

The Windows Media Player 9, built into Microsoft Network's spiffy new interface for subscribers, can wind up resetting the computer's ability to play certain types of files when it is playing other sorts of files. Almost always this amounts to setting the Windows operating system to mute the most basic of all sound files, the Wave, or WAV, format.

To find the settings that fix this, click on Start and Control Panel and look for the Sounds icon, a small gray speaker. This brings up a menu with several tabs including Volume. Pick it and look for the little box that lets you display the sound settings in the Windows system tray in the lower right of the monitor display. Check the box.

Now click on Advanced. You should see a display of multiple volume and balance sliders for things like Voice, CD, Line In and Wave. If so, you will note that the Wave setting is at the bottom of the volume slider. Move it up halfway and let loose of the mouse. You will hear a little ding telling you sound is back.

If your computer isn't showing the Wave console, click on Options in the upper left corner. This brings up a list of check boxes that set which of the many kinds of outputs and inputs a computer can use for sound.

You should put the icon in the taskbar because you may find this Wave setting gets set back to silent at unexpected times as a result of using MSN to do such things as play CDs, show movies, view animations and so on.

The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper. Contact James Coates at

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