Dell XPS 13 audio problems? Here's how to get your sound back!

So your Dell XPS 13's audio is being finicky. It's a common problem, especially the 9343 model, so you're not alone. Plugging in or unplugging headphones sometimes won't register, drivers will sometimes stop working, and Windows 10 updates will sometimes decide to work against you.

There are countless forums across the internet that attempt to fix this problem, most with a different, unproven fix method. Here are some fixes that have helped other XPS 13 users and will hopefully get the audio in your Dell XPS 13 working again.

Ensure Windows isn't still asleep

If you unplug headphones while your XPS 13 is asleep, Windows might think they're still plugged in when you wake up your laptop.

If your audio suddenly doesn't work upon waking your XPS 13, plug in and unplug your headphones. This could kick your XPS 13 in the butt and get the audio working again.

Troubleshoot your audio settings

Yes, this might seem obvious to some of you. Yes, you might have already tried the troubleshooter. If you haven't already tried, here's how to use Windows troubleshooter for your audio problems.

This method has reportedly solved hissing and static noises.

  1. Right-click the speaker icon in your taskbar. It's located in the bottom right corner.
  2. Click Troubleshoot sound problems.
  3. Click Open Enhancements.

  1. Uncheck all boxes in the Enhancements field.
  2. Click OK.

  1. Click Next.
  2. Click Play test sounds. You should hear a series of sounds.

  1. Click the option that best suits what you heard.
    • Good (Keep using my current audio driver)
    • Bad (Try again using HD Audio driver)
    • I didn't hear anything (Try again using HD Audio driver)
  2. Click Close when you're finished with the troubleshooter.

Perform an ePSA test

Restarting your computer and running a pre-boot assessment can reveal to you whether or not your speakers have failed at a hardware level.

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Click Power.
  3. Click Restart.

  1. Hit F12 on your keyboard as soon as your computer starts to boot (you will see a Dell logo on the screen).
  2. Select Diagnostics using the arrow keys on your keyboard.
  3. Hit Enter on your keyboard. An ePSA system diagnostic will start.
  4. Click Yes when asked if you can see the colored bars. At this point a loud beep should sound.

If you don't hear a loud beep, it likely means your speakers have failed and you should contact Dell (opens in new tab) about a hardware replacement.

If you do hear a loud beep it means your speakers are working (at least from a hardware perspective). If you're not getting any sound from them when you're not in diagnostic mode, it might mean your headphone jack sensor has failed — it thinks you still have a set of headphones in and therefore won't play any sound through your XPS 13's main speakers.

The solution to a faulty headphone jack? You're probably going to need a replacement, but there is something you can try before going that far.

Uninstall and reinstall XPS 13 audio drivers

Before going any further, you want to ensure your audio driver isn't causing the problem.

  1. Click the Search Windows field in your taskbar.
  2. Type devmgmt.msc and hit Enter on your keyboard.

  1. Double-click Audio inputs and outputs.
  2. Double-click Speakers / Headphones.

  1. Click Driver in the top menu.
  2. Click the Uninstall button.

  1. Click OK.
  2. Navigate to Dell's driver support web page (opens in new tab) using your favorite web browser.
  3. Click Audio. You might have to scroll down a bit.

  1. Click Download.
  2. Click Run when the download is complete.

  1. Click INSTALL. Realtek InstallShield will open.
  2. Click Next >.

  1. Click Next > again.
  2. Click Finish. Your computer will restart.

Perform a light system restore

If your audio very recently crapped out (especially after a Windows update or the installation of a new app), you can set your XPS 13's settings back to a point before things went wrong.

  1. Click the Search Windows field in your taskbar.
  2. Type system restore.
  3. Click Create a restore point.

  1. Click the System Restore… button.
  2. Click Choose a different restore point.

  1. Click Next.
  2. Choose a restore point before things went wrong by clicking on it.

  1. Click Next.
  2. Click Finish. Your computer will be reset to the restore point you chose.

Audio still not working?

Dell has a fantastic customer support system in place. If you've exhausted your options and the audio still isn't working in your XPS 13, consider contacting Dell Support (opens in new tab).

Have you had audio troubles and managed to fix them in a way not mentioned here? Let us know in the comments below!

Cale Hunt
Senior Editor, Laptop Reviews

Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

  • WOW, Wifi AND sound problems, this really sounds like a great computer. I'm sold. /s
  • I was thinking the same thing. What's up with this Dell?
  • I mean, is it a popular enough device to merit al lthese articles? And if it is, isn't this really negative publicity for the product? I had heard Rubino recommend this laptop and had a vaguely positive concept about it. But these issues that these articles are revealing tell a different story. I couldn't possibly endorse a product that has such flaws for basic functionality. BTW, I think these articles are a little out of place in this site. At best it makes sense to have tutorials and workarounds for MS flagship products, but otherwise where do you draw the line? Popularity? Personal taste?  I have an old laptop from Acer and 2 USB ports stopped working, is there going to be an article for that?  
  • If people are looking for a solution to a problem then we're going to be here to provide it for them.
  • I agree, I am glad I went for hp spectre I do not have any of these issues.
  • I went for XPS 13 and do not have any of these issues. Stuff happens. Someone else might have a HP Spectre that caught fire. It's how things go in mass manufacture.
  • Haha was just thinking the same thing. Open it up and replace the sound card and the wifi and at the same time invalidate your warranty, horary!
  • Hmmm I wanted to upgrade the ole Asus x44 with core i3 but I think I'll keep it. The Asus works right lol. /ns
  • Something to keep in mind is that Windows 10 has System Restore disabled by default, so doing a restore might not be possible for some people.
  • Can these same general steps be supplied to a Surface 3? I've been having audio problems, and once the audio drops out it seems that only a restart will fix it. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I've been finding on my desktop PC that some programs, in my case Elgato, are hijacking the audio.
  • ^^^^^ I AGREE ... this thing sounds [no pun intended] AWESOME [assuming the Wi-Fi works.] SIGN ME UP !!! Don
  • For a sec, I thought they would say how to replace audio chip in xps 13. As for this audio problem,every dell laptop(my 13 7000,8 of 15 series) running windows 10 has it. Only solution is to install driver with windows 8 compatibility settings.
  • "LOL! I was expecting the same.  I have a new Dell 7510 from my company and the it requires a double restart.  When coming back from sleep or even full shutdown, it never recognizes the keyboard on the first attempt.  I need to power it down a second time for it to work. And, despite the "Dell has a fantastic customer support system in place. If you've exhausted your options and the audio still isn't working in your XPS 13, consider contacting Dell Support​"  statement, in my own personal experience, they are only great if something is truely broken and can they can replace the part other wise for OS type support, nope, never had an issue that they could solve and have had to figure it out myself via other users or experimenting.
  • So dell has this problem in their devices?? I have never heard any sound in my dell V8pro since upgrade to Windows 10 till now. Tried so many methods still no luck. So I'm stuck with a deaf tablet now, can't do music, no movies! ☹☹☹
  • @DreamerUP - My DV8P gets SO hot that it's basically unsuable since upgrading to official W10. There have been multiple driver/bios updates but it still melts down. Sounds works, but whats the point when the battery only lasts and hour or maybe two and you can't hold it?
  • Mine gets hot sometimes, but not to unusable extent. Battery is also very good. I get up to 2 days sometimes. My only problem with it is audio
  • just sold xps and bought sp thanks wc
  • Last week I convinced a friend to get an XPS 13 based on the rave reviews. He initially wanted a Mac. We actually went to both MS and Apple stores located in the same shopping center where we live to look at the laptops. In the end, he picked the XPS. Was not aware of Wifi and Audio problems at the time. Hope I didn't steer him wrong...
  • As some of you (including me) have run into multiple problems regarding their Dell XSP 13 running Win 8.1, I decided to download the newest Microsoft release today and install a clean version on my laptop. Problems in 8.1 included touchpad issues, screen brightness and multiple other issues.
    The process:
    0) Got the FHD i5 version with 256GB storage. Remember: the tests on this device may not be applicable to the touchscreen/i7 versions!
    1) Download the Win10 Pro N version using this tool. DO NOT USE the embedded option to write the iso on a USB, mine didn't work. I downloaded the ISO-only and wrote it on a flashdrive using rufus (make sure you pick the uefi-compatible setting so the flashdrive is recognized correctly by the bios).
    2) Install on Dell XPS 13. Quite straightforward, however one thing to note: I first extracted the product key from my (legit) factory Win 8.1 installation and tried it on the Win10 upgrade. Even though Dell claims the laptop is Win10-ready, I got an error stating that this key did not work. I wonder whether Dell can provide keys for users that want to do a fresh install.
    3) Running updates. The clean Win10 comes without all the necessary drivers. I'm downloading them first through Windows Update (there's a SYNAPTICS driver listed!). This is currently in process. After that I'll download the remaining bits from the Dell website using the service tag. Any outdated versions I got through Windows Update will be replaced. Any bloatware/unnecessary software is not installed.
    4) As soon as everything is running optimally using the latest drivers from both Microsoft and Dell I'll start testing the issues listed above and more if I can find others online. Keeping you posted as the process goes...
    Any questions/remarks/tips? Feel free to post them below, I can try suggestions live on this machine and report back in minutes.
    Edit 1: Formatting.
    Update 1: Currently in the process of installing updates through Windows Update. The Synaptics driver update for Dell Touchpad is crapping out 3 times in a row. Error message 0x80070103. Moving on to Dell drivers from their website...
    Update 2: The first driver from Dell's website (Realtek Audio) immediately poses a problem. After forced reboot, an error message pops up and the wizard tries to install the audio driver again. In device manager the problem occurs as a Code 10 error indicating that the device (Realtek HW Audio Codec) cannot start/operation failed. This issues persists even after disabling/enabling the device and reinstalling all drivers.
    Update 3: There is still a myriad of unknown devices in the device manager due to missing drivers. The "Chipset" drivers from the Dell website have fixed these issues.
    Update 4: Machine running optimally now. The audio is not working, even after installing the drivers straight from the Realtek website. Synaptics drivers from windows update fail to install continuously.
    Update 5: After a bunch of restarts the sound is suddenly working. Realtek HD audio reports normal. Don't know exactly how I fixed that tbh.
    - Touchpad issue still persistent. Scrolling works flawlessly in some Windows apps like Explorer, Edge and the settings menu. However, the control panel and associated sub-windows still suffer from the lag (delay turned off in mouse & touchpad settings). Chrome too; scrolling very sluggish and non-responsive compared to Edge. Spotify is responds very jumpy and is way too sensitive to two-finger swipes. Small movements of the cursor are not registered. Overall completely similar to the experience in windows 8.1. No progress whatsoever. The delay is even worse when trying the new 3-finger slide to switch between apps. Does not register until your fingers have moved halfway across the touchpad. Disappointing indeed.
    - Auto-adjusting screen brightness still persistent, even after turning the setting off in the power menu.
    - No repeated keystrokes on this machine, never had those before (suspect this could be a hardware-related issue). This is a fairly recent laptop (end of June).
    - Scaling is somewhat improved. Most embedded apps respond well to changes in the scaling (got mine at 125% right now). However, Chrome and other 3rd party apps like Spotify do not respond well. Chrome is way too small, Spotify has blurry text. Multiple Windows apps like device manager still have blurry text.
    Conclusions so far:
    The bottom line: Win10 does not solve any of the reported issues in 8.1 for the Dell XPS 13. There is however an encouraging update concerning Synaptics drivers which might help solve the most annoying touchpad lags etc. This update however fails to install.