Sometimes System Sounds Go Silent

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Sometimes System Sounds Go Silent

Postby Enjay » Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:28 am

Nothing to do with GZDoom (as far as I know).

I had a feeling that I'd asked about this before, but I can't find the thread so...

Every now and again, some system sounds on my machine go silent. I'm one of those weird hold-outs who still like a little confirmation sound for most things that Windows does, including a little click on menu popup etc. However, after my computer has been on for a while, the sounds stop and I can't figure out why.

When I say "they stop", it is only certain system sounds, not all of them, and all other programs seem to work just fine.

So, for example, when the problem happens, if I right-click on my desktop, the little menu "click" that I should hear doesn't happen, or if a program tries to pop up an alert, the alert is silent. But if I start a game, or listen to an MP3, they will be just fine. I can even go into the sounds setup dialogue in Windows and press the preview "test" button and the sounds that are silent in normal use will play! I also have a third party program that puts menus onto my taskbars and those menus make clicks using the exact same files, even when the general UI actions/menus have stopped making them.

Like I said, some other sounds also become silent - like any "Asterisk" events - but other ones do not (the empty recycle bin sound remains audible). Perhaps it's something to do with sound length? The clicks (etc) are all short sounds and the empty bin sound is a bit longer.

Although I said "after my computer has been on for a while, the sounds stop" I don't think it's time dependent. e.g. my machine has been on for around 10 hours today and the sounds are still being made. Yesterday, they disappeared after a couple of hours. In fact, they might even have gone while I was out walking the dog - when I came back the sounds had gone, but I can't be 100% certain that they hadn't gone before I left.

So my gut tells me that some program or other is somehow getting in the way. The problem is, I can't figure out which one. I have tried to keep a track of any programs that I have run so that when the sounds stop, I can reboot and try to replicate things, but it doesn't seem to cause the fault. Checking task manager doesn't flag up anything particularly obvious to me either. My most recent hunch was that it might be something to do with using nVidia to capture a video (because nVidia drivers always install "HD Audio" drivers along with the video stuff - not sure why - and I had noticed the sounds disappearing shortly after capturing some game footage, but replicating the tasks after rebooting could not replicate the issue).

When I check device manager, everything is reported as working properly.

Full malware and antivirus sweeps come up clean - no reported issues.

To get the sounds back, I have to restart my machine.

I have tried googling the issue and I found a very small number of people asking about something that could be the same issue, but there was no clear answer. Most of the hits to my google searches, however, resulted in finding articles on how to change/enable systems sounds (not what I needed).

I'm running Windows 10 Pro-64 bit
My sound is onboard Realtek High Definition Audio (using 5.1). I have tried several driver versions and I am currently using the up to date ones.


Anyone got any ideas?
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Re: Sometimes System Sounds Go Silent

Postby Graf Zahl » Mon Sep 13, 2021 12:02 pm

I'd be complaining if these stupid system sounds went back on after I went through the trouble to disable them all! :mrgreen:
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Re: Sometimes System Sounds Go Silent

Postby wildweasel » Mon Sep 13, 2021 3:33 pm

What kind of cable is your audio transmitting over, and what kind of audio system is it coming out of?

I ask because my system is All Kinds Of Weird about this. It's audio coming over HDMI from my video card, into a TV, which is putting its sound out to a sound bar through an optical cable. If there's nothing actively keeping the sound driver busy and active, it will just stop transmitting audio until the next sound plays, at which point it'll pop the driver back up again - which takes long enough that the short pops and clicks that are my system sounds, will have finished playing before they are capable of outputting.

The trick I use to keep it alive is to have my music player constantly in a paused state.
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Re: Sometimes System Sounds Go Silent

Postby Enjay » Mon Sep 13, 2021 3:41 pm

Onboard RealteK chip with several 3.5mm analogue outputs on the back of the machine. The analogue outputs goe straight into an amp for the 5.1 system and then out to the speakers.

However, now that you've put that thought in my head, the next time it happens, I will plug in my USB headset to see what happens there.

Graf Zahl wrote:I'd be complaining if these stupid system sounds went back on after I went through the trouble to disable them all! :mrgreen:

:lol:
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Re: Sometimes System Sounds Go Silent

Postby Enjay » Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:11 pm

Enjay wrote:However, now that you've put that thought in my head, the next time it happens, I will plug in my USB headset to see what happens there.

And the answer is, if the sounds have already become silent, plugging in my headphones makes not difference (i.e. they stay silenced).

Given that I'm pretty sure that my headphones don't have anything to do with the RealTek chip at all, that point to a software issue rather than a hardware one I think.
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Re: Sometimes System Sounds Go Silent

Postby Rachael » Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:31 pm

There isn't enough clues as to what is going on (and that's not your fault).

However, given that you've nailed it down to a software issue, it's possible the sound service is crashing on Windows, somehow.

My best theory is - either your system files got corrupted somehow, or a device driver got misconfigured - reinstalling Windows should fix both of these issues.

A full reinstall is normally a last resort, but since we don't have enough data on what's happening, it seems like a good thing to try. Worst that can happen is your system goes up in a puff of smoke and you have to get a new one. (That still happens these days, right? Well - let's hope it doesn't happen to you!)

The thing I would suggest is a full reinstall.

Use this link: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/softwar ... /windows10

and scroll down to the "Create Windows 10 installation media" link, lower on the page, as shown in this image:


Once downloaded and ran, it will ask for administrative permissions, then it will do shit for a bit (it always does shit for a bit so get used to that) - accept the license agreement, then select "Upgrade This PC" and follow the prompts from there.


Let us know if this fixes the problem. The idea here is - maybe one of your system files got corrupted and this is a quick and easy way to fix that (as well as fully update your system).

-------------------------

If this doesn't work, then you might try creating a fresh partition, installing a fresh copy of Windows to that instead, and then seeing if the problem persists. You should be able to safely transfer user settings and documents, but all the other cruft you should leave behind, if this works.
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Re: Sometimes System Sounds Go Silent

Postby Apeirogon » Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:42 pm

If it windows 10, sometimes it change current audio driver to "more appropriate", according to the windows spirit of randomness.
You didnt specify, is sound (after glitching) returns back after you launch any other program (player/browser with 'ourtube'/game/etc.). If yes, its definitely a windows "more appropriate driver" problem.
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Re: Sometimes System Sounds Go Silent

Postby Enjay » Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:17 pm

@Apeirogon
Once the sounds have gone, I have not found anything that will bring them back other than a restart. I've tried re-running programs that I thought might be connected to the issue when the sounds go, but it hasn't made any difference.


Thanks for the suggestion and link Rachael. I'll treat a reinstall of windows as a last resort simply because it takes so long and always messes something up for me and it takes a while to get things back how I want. I'll keep it as an option though. However, your suggestion did remind me that I hadn't run sfc, so I ran both sfc /scannow and DISM. sfc did report that it had made some repairs, so I'll wait and see on that one.

I may also have have a further clue. When the sounds disappeared earlier today, I restarted my computer and, instead of shutting down immediately, I saw a screen that said "the following programs are preventing Windows restarting" with the option to cancel or to restart anyway (I'm sure we've all seen the screen before - my work machine does it all the time). Anyway, that doesn't usually happen on my machine but what was interesting was the only program that was listed as preventing windows restarting was just showing the generic program icon and it had no name (just a blank space where a name would be). Thinking about it, this might have happened the other times when I have experienced this problem. So maybe a program that I have run and then quit is leaving something behind in memory that somehow blocks these particular system sounds? Maybe?
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Re: Sometimes System Sounds Go Silent

Postby Enjay » Fri Sep 17, 2021 6:19 am

I think I may have made a tiny bit of progress.

You know that thing that can sometimes happen when it looks like your desktop has refreshed because something has happened in the background? Well that happened and, by coincidence, I had just taken note that my system sounds were working a few seconds beforehand. I had the presence of mind to right-click my desktop after the refresh and: no sound!

So, *something* happened and that incident silenced the particular system sounds the this thread is about.

As I mentioned, I have already done a full virus and malware sweeps (using 2 different programs) and they were clean.
So I checked scheduled tasks (there were a few more than I expected) and I have disabled as many of them as I thought were not necessary/needed (some auto update checks etc for programs that I have installed). So, I'll see what happens next. with any luck, one of the tasks that I disabled is the one causing the issue.
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Re: Sometimes System Sounds Go Silent

Postby Enjay » Fri Oct 01, 2021 11:22 am

I think, this time, I really have made some progress. I might have identified the program that causes this issue. Somewhat ironically, I think that it might be my Antivirus program - Avira Antivirus Pro.

I've used Avira for many years and it's always been pretty decent - although its recent bloaty expansion to include other features like clean-up routines, driver update checkers, VPN and so on are not to my taste. I just want (and only use) the Antivirus!

Anyway, I had the Antivirus control panel open and just decided to run "Smart Scan" simply because the button was there. As it was running I thought "I wonder" and right-clicked my desktop - no sound! And it's 100% reproducible. Restart, open Avira, start a "Smart Scan" and the sounds disappear a second or so after the scan starts.

I've sent an email to Avira, so I guess I'll see what comes back. I suppose the next step would be to uninstall Avira totally and then wait a few days to see if I lose sounds without me starting a scan.
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Re: Sometimes System Sounds Go Silent

Postby Graf Zahl » Fri Oct 01, 2021 11:55 am

Seriously, dump that POS!
After getting tired of too many problems with AV software like false positives etc. I switched to Windows Defender and no more problems ever.
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Re: Sometimes System Sounds Go Silent

Postby Enjay » Fri Oct 01, 2021 3:12 pm

I was sort of coming around to that way of thinking anyway. The bloatyness of the current Avira has put me off it quite a bit. Like I said, until recently it has served me well but perhaps it's time to move on. I've heard lots of people say that Windows Defender is more than good enough these days.
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Re: Sometimes System Sounds Go Silent

Postby Enjay » Mon Oct 11, 2021 11:31 am

Minor update on this. I decided to contact Avira and describe the symptoms to them. They sent me a tool to run after the problem occurred and send the relevant appropriate information to them. I did so on Friday and they got back to me earlier today to confirm that it does indeed seem to be a bug with Avira. They said that they will work on a fix and it should appear in a future update.
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