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Configuring Sound and Audio Devices

Most computers have audio recording and playback devices such as sound cards, microphones, headphones, and speakers (built-in or external). Use Control Panel's Sound program to configure these devices.

You also can customize system sound effects, which are audio clips (beeps, chords, or music snippets) associated with system events such as emptying the trash or error messages.

To control sound volume:

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Adjust System Volume (under Sound) (Figure 4.29).

    Figure 4.29

    Figure 4.29 The Volume Mixer lets you adjust the master volume (at left) and, independently, the volume of individual programs that appear in the Applications section (at right). To open the mixer quickly, right-click the Volume icon in the notification area and choose Open Volume Mixer.

    or

    Click the Volume icon in the taskbar's notification area (Figure 4.30).

    Figure 4.30

    Figure 4.30 This slider controls the volume for your speakers or headphones.

  2. Drag the slider to lower or raise the volume.

    or

    ICON TYPE Click the Mute button to turn off sound.

To configure playback devices:

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Sound > Playback tab.

    or

    Right-click the Volume icon in the taskbar's notification area and choose Playback Devices (Figure 4.32).

    Figure 4.32

    Figure 4.32 The Volume icon's shortcut menu provides quick access to sound functions.

    or

    Choose Start, type sound in the Search box, and then select Sound in the results list.

  2. Right-click a device in the list and choose a command to configure or test the device, or to inspect or change its properties (Figure 4.33).
    Figure 4.33

    Figure 4.33 A playback device's shortcut menu lets you set up the device—usually speakers or headphones. Click Properties for more options.

  3. When you're done, click OK in each open dialog box.

To configure recording devices:

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Sound > Recording tab.

    or

    Right-click the Volume icon in the taskbar's notification area and choose Recording Devices (refer to Figure 4.32).

  2. Right-click a device in the list and choose a command to configure or test the device, or to inspect or change its properties (Figure 4.34).
    Figure 4.34

    Figure 4.34 A recording device's shortcut menu lets you set up the device—usually a microphone or a line-in. Click Properties for more options.

  3. When you're done, click OK in each open dialog box.

To configure system sounds:

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Sound > Sounds tab.

    or

    Right-click the Volume icon in the taskbar's notification area and choose Sounds (refer to Figure 4.32).

  2. To choose a predefined group of sound effects, choose a scheme from the Sound Scheme drop-down list (Figure 4.35).
    Figure 4.35

    Figure 4.35 You can choose (or mute) each sound individually or use a sound scheme to apply a group of sounds.

  3. To change a sound for a particular event, click the event in the Program list; then choose the sound from the Sounds drop-down list.

    or

    Select the event and click Browse to select another sound file (in .wav audio format) on your system.

    or

    Choose (None) from the Sounds drop-down list to remove a sound.

  4. To preview a sound for a particular event, select the event in the Program list and click Test.
  5. To save a changed sound scheme, click Save As, type a name, and then click OK.
  6. To delete a custom sound scheme, select the scheme and click Delete.

    You can delete only the schemes that you created or installed, not the ones Windows provides.

  7. Click OK (or Apply).
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