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Volume Control \windows\system32\sndvol32.exe

Control the master volume, volume level, and the balance of the system’s sound devices.

To Open

Start Programs Accessories Entertainment Volume Control

Tray Double-click yellow speaker icon (if it’s there)

Command Prompt sndvol32


Volume Control displays volume and balance adjustments for all of the different sound devices, such as the audio CD volume, microphone volume, and line-in volume. To choose the controls that are shown, or to hide those you never use, go to Options Properties and select any of the following (note that different sound drivers may omit some of these, or add additional entries):

Volume Control

This is the master volume control—the same control that pops up when you single-click the volume icon in the System Tray (see Figure 4-109).

Figure 4-109. Configure your Volume Control to show only the sliders your use


Sound generated by Windows, including MP3 players, Windows Media Player, most games, Sound Recorder, and many other applications.


Synthesized music generated by your sound card’s MIDI synthesizer or wavetable feature.

CD Audio

Control the volume of audio CDs played with CD player applications. Note that your CD drive must be connected directly to your sound card with a special three-conductor audio cable.

Line In

Control the volume of the Line-In or Aux input of your sound card, often used to record audio from an external device, such as a stereo.


Control the volume of the microphone input of your sound card, usually used with a microphone or voice dictation headset.

PC Speaker

Control for the system’s built-in speaker, which is the only control not directly affiliated with your sound card (in most cases).

Alternatively, choose Recording in the “Adjust volume for” section to show and adjust volume controls for the recording of audio. All available controls are the same as those described above, except “Recording Control,” which is the recording counterpart to the master volume control.


  • Also in the Properties dialog, you’ll be able to choose the mixer device if you have more than one sound card or other sound hardware (such as a voice modem or video capture card). If you wish to use more than one sound device simultaneously, your best bet is to connect the outputs of all your sound devices (except one) to the line-in (or auxilary) inputs of your primary sound card.

  • Click Advanced in the main Volume Control window to adjust the bass and treble settings. When recording, you can also enable the microphone gain control.

  • To turn on or off the volume control on the Taskbar, go to Control Panel [Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices] Sounds and Audio Devices Volume tab and turn on the “Place volume icon in the Taskbar” option.

  • If you want to be able to control both recording and playback volume at the same time, launch two instances of Volume Control and choose Options Properties Recording for one, and Options Properties Playback for the other.

  • The most common problem encountered while trying to play sound is that the particular device is either turned down or muted. Likewise, a common recording problem is that the recording volume is turned down or muted (or the requested device isn’t enabled in the Volume Control).

  • If you find that any or all of the volume controls are too sensitive, try turning up the external volume knob on your speakers or amplifier (if available); this effectively gives Volume Control a broader range.

See Also

“Sound Recorder”, “Windows Media Player”

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