How to Turn on the Sound Driver in Safe Mode

Updated July 20, 2017

If you can't enable your computer's sound driver normally, turning it on while in Windows Safe Mode provides a workaround. In Safe Mode, Windows runs only essential processes. This helps solve the issues related to sound driver processes running in the background, which may conflict with the functionality of the driver itself. Updating the driver, after enabling the driver in Safe Mode and restarting Windows back in regular user mode, will help reduce the chance of future problems.

Power on your computer and repeatedly press the "F8" button to access the Windows boot screen.

Press the "Down" arrow key on your keyboard to select "Boot Windows in Safe Mode." Press the "Enter" key.

Click "Start" and then click the "Control Panel" link. Click the "Hardware and Sound" heading and then click the "Device Manager" link under the Devices and Printers section. The Device Manager window displays on screen.

Click the "Sound, video and game controllers" option to expand the list. Right-click the sound driver and then select "Enable" from the list.

Close the Device Manager and restart Windows normally.


An updated sound driver may help reduce problems. Double-click the sound driver (this does not have to occur in Safe Mode) and then click the "Driver" tab. Click the "Update Driver" button and Windows will automatically search the Internet for the newest available driver.

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About the Author

James Stone began writing professionally in 2007 as a technical writer. He specializes in technology articles for various online publications. Stone holds a Bachelor of Science in computing science from Simon Fraser University.