Laptop Speakers Crackling. How to Fix It?

Laptop Speakers Crackling, Popping. How to Fix It in Windows 10?

Laptop users often experience an issue when their speakers or headphones start crackling or popping. Both hardware and software problems can cause this issue.

laptop speakers crackling

Why Are My Speakers Crackling?

Loud crackling or popping noises from speakers or headphones can be annoying and a sign that something is wrong with the system. They are usually the result of connection problems - often, bad wires causing interference. Crackling, popping, noises, and audio problems can occur for many reasons, and we recommend that you check the hardware. Check if there are any loose or damaged wires, bad connections, etc.

If you have checked all connections and wires, but the sound is still crackling, and you hear noises, system settings might need adjusting. Sound problems can also be caused by incorrect settings, outdated or faulty sound drivers, or interference with particular hardware.

In this guide, we run through some steps that can resolve these problems. Bear in mind that there are many potential reasons for these problems. So try the methods provided below to find a solution to your system.

Video Showing How to Fix Crackling Laptop Speakers

Table of Contents:

Change the Sound Format

The most common fix for crackling sounds is to change the Windows default sound format. Many users have reported that this simple procedure solved the problem.

To change the sound format, right-click the speaker icon in the Taskbar and select the "Playback devices" option from the contextual menu.

change the sound format step 1

The Sound window will appear, and you will be automatically directed to the Playback tab. Select the default audio device that you use for playing audio and click "Properties".

change the sound format step 2

In the Speaker Properties window, select the "Advanced" tab and select the sample rate and bit depth to be used under "Default Format". Select the "16 bit, 44100 Hz (CD Quality)" format and click "Apply" to save the changes and "OK" to exit the Speaker Properties window.

See if this solves the crackling sound problem. If you still hear popping and crackling noises, try other sound formats.

change the sound format step 3

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Run Audio Troubleshooter

Windows includes several troubleshooters designed to quickly diagnose and automatically resolve various computer problems.

To start troubleshooting, go to Settings and type "troubleshoot", and then select "Troubleshoot" from the list.

run audio troubleshooter step 1

Now find "Playing Audio" under 'Get up and running' and select it. Click "Run the troubleshooter" and follow the instructions. Windows will try to find and fix sound problems. See if this fixes the crackling sound problem.

run audio troubleshooter step 2

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Disable All Enhancements

There are many different sound drivers, some of which might use software enhancements designed to improve sound quality. Ironically, some can cause sound problems such as crackling and popping if they are not working properly.

To disable sound enhancements, right-click the speaker icon in the Taskbar and select the "Playback devices" option from the contextual menu. Select the default audio device that you use for playing audio and click "Properties".

In the Speakers Properties window, select the "Enhancements" tab and ensure that none of the enhancements are enabled, or simply tick the "Disable all enhancements" checkbox and click "Apply" to save the changes. See if this fixes the crackling sound problem.

disable all enhancements

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Disable Exclusive Mode

There may be a feature enabled that allows applications to take exclusive control of your audio device. This can sometimes interfere with the audio driver and cause crackling or popping sound problems.

To disable this option, follow the same steps and select the "Advanced" tab in Speakers Properties (as when changing the sound format). Now find the "Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device" option and un-tick the associated checkbox. Click "Apply" to save the changes and see if this solves the crackling sound problem.

disable exclusive mode

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Update Audio Drivers

A device driver informs the operating system and other software how to interact with particular hardware. If the appropriate driver is not installed, the device might not function properly. To reinstall the audio driver, use Device Manager.

To open Device Manager, right-click the Start button and select the "Device Manager" result from the contextual menu or type "device manager" in Search and click the "Device Manager" result.

update audio drivers step 1

In Device Manager, you will see a list of devices connected to your computer. Find the "Sound, video and game controllers" section and expand it by clicking the arrow beside it or simply double-clicking it.

Then, right-click the audio device and select "Update driver" from the contextual menu.

update audio drivers step 2

You will be asked if you want to search for updated driver software automatically or to browse your computer for driver software. If you select the first option, Windows will search your computer and the Internet for the latest driver software for your device.

If you select the second option, you must locate and install the drivers manually. Using this option requires having previously downloaded the driver on your computer or USB flash drive. We recommend that you select the first option and follow the instructions.

If the first option does not solve the problem, download the latest audio drivers for your device from the manufacturers' websites.

update audio drivers step 3

If updating drivers does not fix the problem with crackling sound, reinstall them. Follow the same steps and select "Uninstall device" rather than "Update driver" to reinstall drivers. Ensure that you check the "Delete the driver software for this device" checkbox if there is one.

Restart your computer. Windows will automatically install the missing drivers the next time you start Windows.

If you wish, you can use third-party software to update drivers automatically. In this case, we recommend the Snappy Driver Installer. Snappy Driver Installer (SDI) is a powerful free driver updater tool for Windows. You can download Snappy Driver Installer from here.

update audio drivers step 4

These are the most common fixes for this type of audio problem. Hopefully, one of them removed the crackling noises on your system. If you know of other solutions to this problem not mentioned in our guide, please share them with us by leaving a comment below.

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About the author:

Rimvydas Iliavicius

Rimvydas is a researcher with over four years of experience in the cybersecurity industry. He attended Kaunas University of Technology and graduated with a Master's degree in Translation and Localization of Technical texts. His interests in computers and technology led him to become a versatile author in the IT industry. At PCrisk, he's responsible for writing in-depth how-to articles for Microsoft Windows. Contact Rimvydas Iliavicius.

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