Dell Laptop Not Recognizing Headphones[15+ ways to fix]

dell laptop not recognizing headphones

So your Dell laptop is not recognizing your headphones, well there are a lot of reasons why your dell laptop is not recognizing your headphones, but the problem is more persistent in the Dell Inspiron Series but not worry! I’ve compiled a huge list of all the things that you can do to fix the problem.

But Why Isn’t Your Dell Laptop Not Recognizing Your Headphones?

Here are some of the reasons why your dell laptop isn’t recognizing your headphones:

  • Stored Cache
  • Dirty Headphone Jack
  • Incompatible Headphones
  • Bad headphone wire
  • Wrong headphone port
  • Corrupt Windows
  • Corrupt Sound Drivers

16 Ways To Fix The Headphone Detection Problem on Your Dell Laptop

1. Check Device Manager

The first thing is always to see if the headphones are displaying up in the device manager, if they’re not then move on to the next step, here’s how to check if the headphones are being displayed in device manager:

  • type “Device Manager” in the bottom right search-bar on your windows 10
  • Go into “Audio Inputs and Outputs”
  • Check if your headphones are being displayed in there.

If they’re being displayed in the device manager then it means the headphones are fine, if they’re not then the problem most likely lies within windows.

2. Manually Download and Install Latest Audio Drivers

Downloading and doing a fresh install of the audio drivers is an effective way to make sure that there are no outdated drivers and softwares interfering with the headphone connectivity. One way to install the latest drivers is to use Dell Support Assist to update the drivers.

But in this case, installing the drivers manually is a better approach. Here’s how you can do it:

  • First type in “Device Manager” on the bottom right search bar on windows 10
  • Then click on device manager and expand “Sound,Video and game controllers”
  • And then it will display the name of the audio drivers.
  • Next, you should uninstall that driver by right clicking it and clicking on “Uninstall Device”
  • then head to Dell Support and enter in your laptop model
  • then click on Drivers & Downloads
  • Select your appropriate operating system and then click on Audio Drivers
  • Finally Download and install the driver

Alternatively, you can also watch this video:

How to Download and Install Audio Drivers Manually on Dell Laptop

3. Inspect The Headphone Wire

One of the first things that you should do in diagnosing the problem is to check if the headphone wire is intact, free of bumps and if the headphone plug is not loose or acting funny.

4. Run The Windows Audio Trouble Shooter

I know, before you bash me and say “the trouble shooter doesn’t work”, well it does work in this case, and it’d be better if you’d run the Windows Audio Trouble Shooter. Here’s how you do it:

  • Type “Audio Trouble Shooter” in the windows search bar
  • Click on the first result that pops up
  • Follow the on-screen prompts

5. Re-enable Waves Maxxaudio Popup

Sometimes, different software can conflict with each other, in this case, Maxxaudio, what happens is that the pop up that’s responsible for detecting an audio device stops working or is unchecked automatically, here’s how you can re-enable it:

  • Go to start menu and type “Waves Maxxaudio”
  • Go the the Playback screen
  • Click the “Advanced” option
  • If the Pop-up Checkbox is unchecked then click on it to recheck it again
  • When the device is connected then make sure that it says “headset” instead of headphones.

If you still have trouble re-enabling maxxaudio then visit this link and you’ll get a clearer idea of how to it.

6.Update Windows To The Latest Version

We all know that updating windows is one of the best ways to trouble-shoot issues which can’t be manually fixed, here’s how you can update windows:

  • Type “Windows Update” in the search bar
  • Click on “Check for Updates”
  • Then follow the installation wizard and it will install the latest update

7. Use an External Sound USB

Use this method only when you’re sure that the software is fine and there’s a problem with the audio jack.

8. Do A System Restore

Use this method only when you’re sure that the headphones were working fine before installing a particular application or program.

Here’s how you can perform a system restore:

  • Search “system restore” on the search bar
  • click on “Create system restore”
  • Then click on “System Restore” and follow through with the guide
  • Make sure to select the restore date when you did not install the program

Or go through this guide:

how to do a system restore on windows 10

9. Check If There Is Debris In Your Headphone Jack

Check if there’s any dust in your headphone jack because that might be causing a loosely connected wire and just to make sure that it’s clean just spray it with some compressed air.

10. Restart Your Laptop

If you still haven’t restarted your laptop then now might be a good time to do so to make sure that no caches were stored.

11. Device Manager Trick

  1. Open device manager and type “devmgmt.msc” in the search box
  2. Expand the sound, video and game controllers tab and right-click on “Realtek high definition audio”
  3. Select “Update Driver Software”
  4. Click on “Browse my computer for driver software”.
  5. Then go to “Let me pick from a list of drivers on my computer”.
  6. Put a check in the box “Show compatible hardware” if it’s not already checked.
  7. In the list of devices, click “High Definition Audio” (the native driver).
  8. Click “Next”.
  9. On the Update Driver Warning box, click “Yes” (install the driver). 
  10. Restart the laptop.

This trick let’s you switch from realtek to native audio drivers.

12. Contact Dell Support

If nothing else works then your best bet is to contact Dell Support, especially if your laptop is under warranty.


Although one of these tricks is sure to fix your headphone detection problem on your Dell laptop but if they still don’t then the best way to fix the problem is to use an external soundcard, USB or contacting Dell Support.

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