Windows 11 needs a reboot to switch audio output device

This is something I’ve noticed @Leo struggling with on some shows. When he plugs his HDMI in, the audio output won’t switch unless you reboot the PC. You set the sound output, it shows as playing but no sound.

The same happens with all my Bluetooth headphones. They connect, sound output switches, but no sound. Reboot with them connected, they then work.

Any ideas?

Googling says run the sound troubleshooter. Weirdly when the troubleshooter is open, they work. Close the troubleshooter, they stop working again.

This is something I do multiple times a day - swap between my headset, desktop bookshelf speakers and HDMI output. There are certain applications that need to be restarted (usually games), but I’ve never needed to reset the entire system.

How are you setting the audio device? What are you using for sound output?


I’m either just using the browser (Edge) to listen to Pocketcasts, watch Prime or Disney, use the Amazon Music app or sometimes a game. I have Sony, Samsung and Google Bluetooth headphones.

I just hit connect in Bluetooth settings, you get the confirmation tone in the headphones, says ‘connected voice, music’, Windows 11 automatically switches the sound output, but no audio in the headphones.

Then I right-click on the volume in the taskbar, sound settings, check ‘choose where to play sound’ and it says the headphones. Select my PC speakers, I get sound. Select my headphones again, no sound :roll_eyes:

But then if I go to settings/system/troubleshoot/other/playing audio and a dialog comes up asking which sound device I wish to troubleshoot, the sound works as long as I keep that dialog open.

Reboot with the headphones connected fixes it (until I turn the headphones off).

Wired headphones work fine.

Annoying :upside_down_face:

We have Jabra headsets and the Swyx telephone system, which is very finicky, when it comes to devices being present at boot, but that goes for all Windows versions from 7 onwards.

We also use Teams and Teams doesn’t care whether the headset is connected at boot time or not. Sometimes, I’ll have booted up the PC and forgotten to turn on the headset (wireless). Swyx will often not recognise is, but Teams recognises it every time. But, as I said, that is with Windows 10 and 11. On macOS, Swyx doesn’t have any problems with the headset.

I switch constantly between headset, speakers in the monitor and the internal speakers during the day.

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I’ll have a play later with bluetooth speakers and HDMI. A Bluetooth driver issue maybe.

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