Set Default Sound Device in Windows

Here at Plugable we often hear from customers who have installed their audio device, but no sound is playing through it. Instead, sound may be playing through the computer’s built-in speakers or not at all. This blog post explains how to set your audio device as the default device that Windows uses for audio output.

In the first section we will explain how to set this for USB devices like Pluguble docking stations, sound-enabled display adapters, and the Plugable USB audio adapter. In the second section, we will explain this for audio devices like headphones or speakers that are connected through devices like the Plugable Bluetooth adapter. All the same steps would apply to any non-Plugable USB or Bluetooth audio device, so even if you don’t have a Plugable product this should be helpful background.

USB Devices

1. Make sure everything is connected correctly and drivers are installed.

2. Right-click on the speaker symbol in the system tray, and select Playback Devices. The Sound window will open with the Playback tab highlighted.

Select Playback Devices

3. Find your device in the window. A Plugable USB 3.0 docking station or sound-enabled display adapter will appear as Plugable Audio. A Plugable USB 2.0 docking station will appear as USB Multimedia Audio Device. A Plugable USB Audio adapter will appear as USB Audio Device.

USB devices

4. Right-click on the device you found in step 3 and select Set as Default Device. A check mark should appear next to your device, and sound should now play through it.

Select Default Device

5. Click OK to exit the window.

Bluetooth Devices

1. Connect your headphones, speaker, or headset by making it discoverable (see its owner’s manual). Click the Bluetooth icon in the system tray, then click Add a Bluetooth Device. If you’ve previously had troubles connecting, try temporarily turning off Bluetooth in any other devices like phones or tablets that you have previously used your headphones, speaker, or headset with.

Add Bluetooth device

2. Your device should appear in the Manage Bluetooth Devices window. Click the device and select Pair.

Pair Bluetooth device

3. After the device drivers are installed (your device may beep or vibrate), open the Sound settings window. In Windows 7 and 8.1, right-click the speaker symbol in the system tray and select Playback Devices. In Windows 10, click Start, type “manage audio devices” then click the Manage Audio Devices icon to open this window.

4. Your device will appear on the list under the same name as when you paired it. If it appears as both Headset and Headphones, select Headphones for high-quality sound without microphone support and select Headset if you will need to use the microphone. Audio will be telephone quality if you select Headset due to a Bluetooth limitation. Speakers can also appear as both Headphones and Headset if they have a built-in microphone.

Bluetooth speakers or headphones

5. Right-click the selected device and click Set as Default Device. You can also select Set as Default Communication Device to use this device for communication programs like Skype. You can set separately set Headphones as Default Device for music and Headset as Default Communications Device if these are available.

Select Headphones

6. Click OK to exit the window.

We hope this guide makes it easier to use your Plugable audio devices. If you have any questions, please comment below or contact us at Thanks!

10 comments on “Set Default Sound Device in Windows”

  1. Brandon Reply

    I’m running Windows 10 on a Dell. I just installed plugable and all my peripherals work except sound. I would follow this pages directions except plugable is not listed as a playback device. I only have “Speakers/Headphones.” I have been using the plugable for about a week now on my personal computer but without peripheral sound.
    Today, I used the same plugable for an HP work-laptop running Windows 7 as well. The peripheral sound worked for the work laptop so I know the station works and the peripheral speakers work. I know the issue is with plugable software or my laptop settings. Any ideas?

    • Bob Boerner Reply

      Since the Plugable playback device is not listed, the next step is to ensure the DisplayLink driver for your docking station (which includes the audio driver) is in a good state on your Dell by performing a clean installation. Please follow these steps:

      1) Disconnect the dock from the system and please remove the power cable from the dock so it turns off completely. Please keep it disconnected until the last step.
      2) Uninstall the DisplayLink Core software from the Control Panel -> Programs and Features. Don’t worry if this fails, just move onto the next step
      3) Download, extract and run the DisplayLink cleaner tool, found here –> (video walk-through ->
      4) Once the Cleaner has been run, reboot (even if not prompted to)
      5) Run Windows Update (Start > Settings > Update & security). Reboot if/when prompted. Repeat this process until there are no new updates found. This is important as Microsoft has been releasing frequent updates to Windows 10.
      6) Now download and install the 7.9 M5 DisplayLink software, found here –>
      7) Reattach the power cable to the dock first. Once the dock is powered on, reconnect it to your system when prompted by the installer which will trigger the final portion of the installation

      If that helps, great! If not, please keep everything connected and send the output of our diagnostic utility PlugDebug –> to and mention ticket 137226 as this will allow us to examine some log files from your system to help determine the next steps.

      Thank you,

      Plugable Technologies

  2. vinnie Reply

    Thnx…This worked! Using Plugable usb 3.0 2k hdmi adaptor on Windows 7…
    When installed and connected sound output now came from 3rd monitor which is connected to the new Plugable adaptor, I needed sound to come from my laptop, these instructions helped! Thnx again…

  3. Reginald Reply

    If you’ve got more than 1 TV in your house, then you might also use a splitter to attach a single unit with numerous HD TVs. Again, you need to find all your television’s input jacks on the rear of the set.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.