Right-click on the sound icon on your taskbar, select 'Playback devices'. Select the device you want to use, then click the 'Set Default' button. You can also force Windows to show volume control for both devices by right-clicking on the sound icon and clicking on 'Volume Control Options'.
- This little utility is a plain and simple default audio playback device switcher designed to work in Windows 7 and has been created by a member of Hardforum.com. Run the program and a small speaker icon will sit in your tray, left click on it and you will get a list of the currently available playback devices with the current default highlighted.
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit. If you're using Realtek for your audio, there should be an option to control how the front audio ports respond when there is a device plugged in. Whether the speakers are disabled or not) If something else, you'll have to poke around in the options. You can also try start control panel hardware and sound manage audio devices and adjust the default device by right clicking and selecting 'set as default device' on your speakers / headphones.
Although a lot of people use sound chips integrated on their motherboards for playing audio in Windows, many users still like to have a sound card not least because of the amount of external connections they can offer. These days you can also get sound output through your video card as well, and some headphones will even set themselves up as an audio device.
The trouble with Windows is it will only let you setup one of these audio devices as the default player at any one time. For instance, if you want to switch the output of the audio from your PC speakers to perhaps a TV or external media device, you have to go into the Sound options in Control Panel and change the default playback device from PC speakers to the other device by right clicking on it. And when you’re done, you have to remember to go back into the sound options again to revert the changes back or there will be no sound the next time you want to use the PC speakers!
This has long been a problem with Windows and switching audio devices is not something that can be done quickly using the standard options available. Thankfully there are some useful tools around that can make it a lot easier and faster than having to go through the Control Panel every time you want to select a different audio playback device. Here’s a selection for you to have a look at.1. System Tray Audio Device Switcher (STADS)
STADS is a program that allows you to easily switch between audio devices without going into the control panel by simply using a right click on the the tray icon. This will show the available playback devices and allows you to select one of as default, and if you click on “Show Recording Devices” it will let you select the default recording device. There is a drawback in that it’s compatible with XP only and won’t switch the devices in Vista or Windows 7 / 8.
2. Quick Sound Switch
Quick Sound Switch is a small System Tray tool which unfortunately suffers from the same issue as System Tray Audio Device Switcher (STADS), which is it only works on XP and won’t change the audio devices in Vista or 7. It is still useful for XP users though and includes its own integrated audio volume mixer and set main volume level in addition to a shortcut creator and a hotkey function to set an individual combination for a device. Default volumes and sound devices can configured for startup and shutdown.
Download Quick Sound Switch
3. Vista Audio Changer
Vista Audio Changer has a number of interesting features, one of which is a an application monitoring function which watches for a process name to be launched and then changes the default audio device on its startup and shutdown. Useful if you want to switch audio or video to another device when launching a media player etc. There is also a configurable on screen display to let you know what’s happening and individual hotkeys can be created for each device you want to switch to for quick access. Although it’s called Vista Audio Changer, it will work on Windows 7.
Download Vista Audio Changer
4. Audio Switcher for Windows 7
This little utility is a plain and simple default audio playback device switcher designed to work in Windows 7 and has been created by a member of Hardforum.com. Run the program and a small speaker icon will sit in your tray, left click on it and you will get a list of the currently available playback devices with the current default highlighted. Simply click on the device you want to make the new default. There are no options but it’s an ideal and portable tool to quickly switch between your PC speakers and your HD TV for example.
Download Audio Switcher for Windows 7
Win7AudioSwitcher is a neat and portable utility with separate 32-bit and 64-bit versions available. In addition to a tray icon you can right click on and change the default playback and recording devices, there is also a useful floating widget which displays volume level meters for each audio channel and hovering over each device and using the mouse scroll wheel can alter the device’s current volume. Right clicking a device in the widget will allow you to change the default playback and communication device. Verbose tray notifications will inform you of all changes and Auto Switch will change the audio device if the primary monitor changes.
SoundSwitch works with the intention of making it easy for you to switch between the audio playback devices by using a keyboard hotkey. On installing via the one-click installer, right click on the tray icon and select Settings. Then place a tick next to the devices you wish to be able to select and setup a hotkey if the default of Ctrl+Alt+F11 isn’t suitable. Then pressing the hotkey will cycle through the ticked devices or left clicking the tray icon will let you select them with the mouse. A tooltip will let you know what is currently being selected. SoundSwitch works on Windows 7 and 8.
SetSoundDevice (SSD) is an easy to use and standalone tool that simply creates a shortcut icon of the audio device you want to select as the default. Run the tool and it will also open the Sound Control Panel applet because the program can also be executed from the command line by parsing the number of the sound device as an argument. To create a shortcut, all you need to do is select the device to create it for from the drop down list and then click the Change Default Sound Device button making sure the box is ticked which creates the shortcut in the same folder as the SSD utility. Obviously you need to make 2 shortcuts if you’re switching to one device and then want to switch back again afterwards.
NirCmd is a multi functional Windows command line tool that allows you to perform a large number of simple and useful tasks from standard Windows shortcut icons or within batch files etc. One of its features is being able to set the default sound device on Windows 2008, Vista and 7 although unlike the SSD tool, you have to create the shortcut yourself, the syntax is:
nircmd.exe setdefaultsounddevice [Device Name (eg; speakers)]
To find your device name, go to Control Panel -> Sound and each device will be given a display name (arrowed above), which is what you enter as the device name in the Nircmd argument. If you have more than 1 device with the same name, click on it -> Properties and give it a different name in the box at the top. It’s best to change the name of fixed devices if you can as those you unplug will reset themselves to the default when inserted again.
To create a Nircmd shortcut right click on the desktop -> New -> Shortcut and enter the command into the box (nircmd.exe setdefaultsounddevice [Device Name]), then click Next and give it a name such as “Switch to Speakers”. Double clicking Nircmd will copy it to the Windows directory for you, so if you don’t do that, will need to supply a path to the nircmd.exe in the shortcut.
These last 2 tools give you the added advantage of not needing to have a program running in the system tray or background if switching sound devices is not something you need to do that often.
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You might also like: 24 Comments - Write a Comment
SoundSwitch does not work on my Windows 10. I can’t change the output device of a running program.Reply
This article is the ultimate solution for my eternal dillema over managing between several sound sources.
Thank you very much.
nircmd works on Windows 10 perfectly. I linked the command line macro to a hot key so now I just press 1, 2, or 3 for the different audio sound outputs I want.Reply
I recommend Sound Switch, it supports Win10 also and the developer keeps it always updated!Reply
Today I created this autohotkey script, for people who don’t like to install a closed source solution.
Thank you so much!! (Nircmd Recommended)Reply
Nircmd & autohotkeyReply
What a great article, thank you!
It helped a lot.
And the NirSoft solution is just what i needed.Reply
Another great alternative for Windows Vista/7/8 is Audio Switcher.
Details Here: sourceforge.net/projects/audioswitcher/Reply
Have you tried Default Sound Gadget?
Thanks. You save my time alot..
I prefer nircmd + shortcut method. No RAM use.Reply
PS: Jack dectection work only front panel and it has problem if we use extension cable plug in all the time, since our desktop is under the table.Reply
Great post, thanks! I used “4. Audio Switcher for Windows 7” for a long time, and it worked great, except it didn’t display properly when using zoomed font settings in Windows Theme. Then I tried “5. Win7AudioSwitcher” which also works great and works with zoomed Windows Theme fonts.Reply
+ 1 Brian, LOL.Reply
I don’t understand how Microsoft can sell an OS in 2010 that does not have a built-in simple command to switch between headphones and speakers. Incredible. :(…..Reply
I’ve written an audio changer for windows 7. I’m sure it’ll work for XP & Vista. It’ll handle up to five devices and hide in the system tray discreetly.
I found STADS and VistaAudioChanger wasn’t working for me under Win7 but it’s easier enough to replicate the functionality.Reply
good spot with that QuickSoundSwitch ! THANKS!Reply
Check this out:
AudioSwitchGadget ~ 11 kb
VistaAudioChanger ~ 76 kb
QuickSoundSwitch ~ 108 kb
System Tray Audio Device Switcher (STADS)
Thanks for the post Raymond, useful stuff as usual. It is relevant to my interests.
In a related matter, I was just wondering, maybe you, or some other commenter, might know of a free solution for “Per-Application Volume Control” in XP? If anyone could help me with this, that’d be amazing.
I know it can be done in Vista; and I also know of the program called “indievolume” which does the job in XP, but IMO it’s overpriced, and I’m pretty sure the serial I am using will be blacklisted in the next release ;)
Anyway keep up the good work Raymond!Reply
Hi Raymond great post.Reply
Wow…really useful and choice of 3 apps. Nice job Raymond.Reply
Thanks for the info raymond.You rock.Reply
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If you have a laptop, there’s a good chance that you take it with you on the road. When you do, you probably like to connect headphones to it while you are using it. Whether you are watching movies, listening to music, or just trying to get a little work done on the plane, you don’t want to disturb other travelers around you. By using headphones, you can listen to your laptop’s sound without the whole world seeing it.
Why You Need It
Now, in most cases, when you connect a pair of headphones to a Windows 10 laptop, it switches the audio to them automatically. In practice, this works pretty well. However, sometimes, Windows 10 fails to make the switch. I can’t really tell you why, just that it doesn’t. In this case, you will have to manually make the switch in order to start listening to your audio through your headphones.
Sometimes, you may want to keep your headphones plugged into your laptop but for whatever reason you want to switch to your speakers and not use them. If you want to do this, you will have to manually switch them.
Switching Between Speakers and Headphones
Both of these scenarios are handled by the same audio control panel in Windows 10. To switch between speakers and headphones in Windows 10, just follow this short and easy to use guide.
1. Plug your headphones into your laptop.
2. Right-click on the audio icon in your system tray (bottom right corner).
3. Select Playback devices.
4. In the list, you should see your headphones and speakers. There will be a green check mark beside the one being used. Verify that you see all the devices you are currently using for playback.
Switch Between Speakers And Headphones Windows 7 Media Player
5. Click on the one you want to use and select Set Default or highlight the one you want to use to select it for one play session.
6. Click Apply, then click OK.
That’s all there is to it. Now that you know how to do it, you can easily switch back and forth whenever you want. Alternatively, if you want something that isn’t quite as a clunky to use, you could try a third party piece of software such as Audio Switch. It’s free software and will allow you to easily switch back and forth at will. If you have multiple playback devices connected to your laptop, this is the best way to do it.
In most cases, Windows 10 does a pretty darn good job of switching back and forth between your playback devices, especially when you connect headphones. However, sometimes, it just decides not to do it or you may want to keep your headphones plugged in but use your speakers. When this happens, you will need to manually switch the playback device so you can listen through the speakers or headphones you choose. Overall, the process is quick and easy, and you shouldn’t have any trouble making the change.
Windows 10 Switch Headphones Speakers
Do you change your playback devices on Windows 10 yourself when you plug in headphones or do you let it make the switch for you? Tell me about your experiences in the comments below.