Recently my desktop PC had a CMOS battery dead problem due to which it was down for some time. Meanwhile I switched to my alternative computer (alt comp), a Dell MiniLaptop.
I needed to see some videos about desktop PC not beeping and not showing the BIOS startup screen, which I had searched for on youtube and Google. On playing the videos I did not hear any audio. I spent fair amount of time checking out and trying to fix the builtin audio of the Mini Laptop, mainly with Control Panel Sounds program/app but got no success! I then tried to hook up an external speaker to the alt comp but once again I got no success with the sound.
Google search on the problem of Dell Mini Laptop having no audio (and audio being opened by another application as that’s the error I got on trying some configuration options for Sound) led me to various possible diagnoses and solutions.
1) One interesting situation that some had encountered was that they lost sound after upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. Now that’s what I had done around a month back (in early June 2017, see https://ravisiyer.wordpress.com/2017/06/06/upgrading-dell-mini-laptop-from-windows-8-to-8-1-3-62-gb-750-mb-download/). Perhaps that’s when I lost the audio but did not notice it as I did not play any video/audio then, and had kept aside my alt comp after the 8.1 upgrade, and worked on my regular desktop instead.
One solution suggested was restoring to previous system (using System Restore). I did not want to go back to Windows 8 due to the security vulnerability in it (Ransomware exploits) which is why I upgraded to 8.1.
Another solution was to uninstall a specific Windows update identified by its KB number. I searched for that KB number in the updates on my alt comp but did not find it.
2) Another solution mentioned was reinstalling some audio driver. I decided to try that option. To reinstall the audio driver I was directed to DELL support site.
I was surprised that when I went to the DELL support site link (perhaps it was some “Drivers & downloads” link), I was given the option to detect my system problem or something like that. The model name/entry for my DELL Mini Laptop was “Inspiron 3137”. I don’t recall the exact option name now but I chose something that indicated that it would automatically examine my system for any audio category problems.
I think this was the link that I was at: http://www.dell.com/support/home/in/en/indhs1/product-support/product/inspiron-11-3137/diagnose. I chose Sound Card (only) and then chose “Test Selected Devices” or something like that.
That needed me to download and install some DELL support program, which in turn needed another support program (Dell SupportAssist). Once I had done that, it went through some tests which required some input from me (interactive). It asked me to check sound from speakers by clicking on some icons and, to my surprise, the sound worked! So the process of the DELL support program automatically checking the sound (card) in the system, solved the problem for me! The rest of the diagnostics got over quickly with success result.
I was very impressed with DELL support website and its automatic diagnostics program.