Headphones Not Working On Microsoft Surface? (7 Solutions)

If your headphones are not working properly or at all on your Microsoft Surface, you are probably really frustrated. Luckily, there are some troubleshooting tips and solutions that you can try.

This article lists those solutions, and you can work through them by following the “how-to” instructions also provided.

1. Try These Basic Solves First

Get Rid of Obstructions

Ensure that nothing is blocking your speaker and microphone ports on the Surface, such as screen protectors or decals. This can prevent sound from traveling from the device to your headphones.

Look at Audio Accessory Connections

If your Surface speakers are capable of outputting sound, but you cannot hear any sound from your headphones, make sure your headphones are connected correctly.

You should feel and hear a little “click” when headphones are fully inserted into the headphone port. 

Test the Headphones on a Different Device

See that the cables linking your Surface to the headphones are put in securely. If this connection is secure, but you still have trouble hearing anything from your headphones, plug in another set of cables.

Exit all audio apps, then remove any cables from the Surface and headphones before reconnecting.

Check that those headphones that connect via Bluetooth are correctly synced with your Surface.

If you have a Surface Dock make sure you choose the output you want to use first.

Launch Sound Settings

You must connect to your headphones before you can hear sound through them.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Go to the ‘Sound’ settings.
  2. Below ‘Output’ navigate to ‘where to play sound’
  3. Go to the down arrow.
  4. Choose your desired output device.

In some instances, where your headphones are connected to the 3.5mm jack, the audio device is not immediately detectable.

If this happens, unplug the Surface Connect cable, then reconnect it so that the headphones can be picked up

Tweak the Volume Settings

The volume can be controlled in many different ways, such as those listed below:

  • Volume button: Increase or decrease the volume using the volume button on your Surface.
  • Keyboard: Your Surface Type Cover or keyboard might have volume keys to increase, decrease, and mute sound.
  • Desktop taskbar: From the desktop taskbar, click on the ‘Speakers’ icon to adjust the volume.
  • Headphones: Control the volume directly on your headphones or through its software.  Your device should come with an instruction manual.
  • Apps: Some apps have their own sound settings that you can access.

Just bear in mind that the Surface volume button and the taskbar volume setting work hand in hand. If you change settings through one, the other’s settings will likewise be changed.

Tweak Microphone Settings

If people cannot hear you clearly when you’re speaking on the mic attached to your headphone or if you experience issues with recording sound, you might need to tweak your mic settings.

Here’s how to tweak your mic settings:

  1. Launch ‘Start’ > ‘Settings’
  2. Below ‘System’ > choose ‘Sound’
  3. Go down and choose ‘More sound settings’
  4. Click on the ‘Recording tab’, choose your mic, and then access ‘Properties’. Remember to choose a mic that’s enabled and linked to your Surface.
  5. Choose the ‘Levels’ tab. You will find two sliders.
    • Microphone: Adjusts mic’s volume.
    • Microphone Boost: Deals with the strength of the signal of the mic’s input.

If your device does not come with the Microphone Boost slider, the Microphone slider can be used instead.

Move the sliders until your mic is at the desired levels.

To test the quality of an actual recording, I recommend that you try listening to it through a different device. This should indicate whether the issue is with your headset or some other issue on your Microsoft Surface.

Please also read our article with steps to test the mic on a Microsoft Pro.

2. Download the Latest Updates

You can see the health of your Surface drivers and firmware via the Surface app.

Follow these steps to check your Surface Drivers:

  1. Go to ‘Start’, find ‘Surface’, then choose the Surface app.
  2. Access the Surface app.
  3. On ‘Help & Support’ see that the update status states “You’re up to date” or something along those lines.
  4. Otherwise choose to update the device.

Remember, if the Surface app doesn’t pop up in the search results, you could have to download the app from Microsoft Store.

3. Run the Troubleshooter

Launch the automated audio troubleshooter through the ‘Get Help’ app. ‘Get Help’ automatically runs diagnostics and follows the appropriate steps to solve most sound and audio problems.

4. Restart Your Device

Sometimes you might need to restart your device to fix some common issues, including any frustrating sound problems.

Here’s how to restart your Surface:

  1. Access ‘Start’
  2. Then click on ‘Power’
  3. Lastly, hit ‘Restart’

Once your Surface has been restarted and you have entered in your login details, try using your headphones to see if the problem is fixed.

5. Adjust Your Sound Settings

When you are dealing with troublesome headphones, it’s always a good idea to look at and, if required, adjust your sound settings.

Here’s how to manage your headphones:

  1. Launch ‘Start’ then ‘Settings’
  2. Next, under ‘System’, choose ‘Sound’
  3. Do either or both of the below:
  • In the Output section, choose your headphones to use for playback. When you choose this as your output device, it will be fixed as the default too.
  • In the Input section, choose your headphones as the device you want to use for recording. This will also set the device as the default.

Adjust the sound settings for video chat:

  1. Access ‘Start’, followed by ‘Settings’
  2. Next, under ‘System’, choose ‘Sound’
  3. Below ‘Advanced’, choose ‘More sound’ settings.
  4. Do either or both of the below:
  • Go to the ‘Playback’ tab, choose your headphones, followed by ‘Set Default Communication Device’
  • Under the ‘Recording’ tab, choose your headphones, and then choose ‘Set Default Communication Device’

6. Force Shutdown

If you’ve tried the other tips above and are still struggling, we recommend that you force shutdown your Microsoft Surface.

This is a good way to fix your headphones not functioning.

  1. Hit and hold down the power button until the Surface switches off and starts back up again.
  2. When you see the ‘Windows logo screen’ let go of the power button.
  3. Once the Surface restarts, you should get the latest updates for Surface and Windows.

This will ensure your device is performing at its optimum.

7. Restore Your Surface to Factory Settings

As an absolute last resort, you can try restoring your Surface to factory settings.

Before attempting the following, make sure all your important information is backed up on a cloud or an external hard drive. 

Here’s how to reset your Surface:

  1. Access ‘Start’ then ‘Settings’, followed by ‘System’
  2. Then Launch ‘Recovery’
  3. Alongside ‘Reset this PC’, choose ‘Reset PC’ and choose either ‘Keep my files’ or ‘Remove everything’
  4. Choose ‘Cloud download’ or ‘Local reinstall’.

Just remember that if you choose to remove everything, all your files and downloads will be lost.

The ‘Cloud download’ is recommended. Ensure that the Surface is linked to the internet.

Final Thoughts

If your headphones are still not working well with your Surface, you might need to contact the headphone manufacturer. They should be able to shed some light on this issue.

Alternatively, have your Surface looked at by a professional.


Troubleshoot Surface sound and audio accessories 
Force a shutdown and restart your Surface 
Restore or reset Surface for Windows

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