How to Set Up a PC for 5.1 Surround Sound With Windows Vista

If you use your computer as a media centre, you may want to connect a 5.1 speaker system to get the most out of your movies. A 5.1 surround-sound system actually consists of six speakers: three in the front, two in the rear, and a subwoofer. Windows Vista and Windows 7 support 5.1 and even 7.1 surround sound, and allow you to choose your speaker configuration from the "Sound" properties window.

Plug the speakers into the computer following the manufacturer's instructions included with the speakers.

Open the "Start" menu, then click "Control Panel."

Double-click "Sound" from within the Control Panel to open the "Sound" properties window.

Right-click your 5.1 surround sound speakers in the "Playback" tab, then click "Configure Speakers."

Choose "5.1 Surround," then click "Next" and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the 5.1 surround sound set-up.

Place check-marks beside the custom speaker descriptions consisting of Center, Subwoofer and Side Pair, to customise your configuration. As the check-marks are added and removed, speakers will appear on the right-side of the window, providing a visual representation of the configuration. Only place check-marks beside the speakers that you are using in your set-up.

Click on each speaker to play a test tone through the specific speaker. Click "Next" to proceed.

Select which of your speakers, if any, are full-range speakers, meaning that they are capable of playing high, mid-range and low frequencies. The speaker packaging will indicate whether or not they are full-range speakers. Click "Next," then click "Finish" to complete the set-up.

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About the Author

Andrew Todd has been writing since 2006. He has written for the Consumer Search website and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida. Todd has a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from the University of Central Florida.