Search the VMware Knowledge Base (KB)
View by Article ID

Sound is not working in Windows virtual machine (1003425)

  • 127 Ratings
Language Editions


  • Windows guest operating system is unable to connect to sound device at boot
  • Connecting to a sound device fails
  • Windows virtual machines have no sound output


To ensure that audio is enabled in your virtual machine:

  1. To ensure that sound is enabled:
    1. Navigate to Virtual Machine > Settings (Fusion) or VM > Settings (Workstation).
    2. Turn on the sound card:

      • Fusion 7.x and above: Ensure Connect Sound card option is checked. If Sound Card is not available in the Settings pane, click Add Device > Sound Card, then click Add.
      • Fusion 6.x, 5.x and 4.x: Click Sound Card, and ensure that the switch is turned ON. If Sound Card is not available in the Settings pane, click Add Device > Sound Card, then click Add.
      • Fusion 3.x and earlier and Workstation: Click Sound, and ensure that a sound device is present. Select Enable Sound device. If there is no device in this list, add a sound device in this window.

  2. Open your .vmx file for editing. For more information, see Editing the .vmx file for your Fusion virtual machine (1014782) or Tips for editing a .vmx file (1714).
  3. Ensure that these parameters are present:

    sound.present = "TRUE"
    sound.filename = "-1"
    sound.autodetect = "TRUE"

    Add the parameters to the file if they are not present, or modify the parameters if they are showing different values.

  4. In the same .vmx file, remove these lines if they exist:

    sound.virtualdev = "sb16"
    sound.virtualdev = "es1371"
    sound.virtualdev = "hdaudio"

  5. Save the changes and close the text editor.
  6. Power on the virtual machine.

If the issue continues, update the drivers from within Windows.

To update the sound driver in a Windows virtual machine:
  1. On the Windows virtual machine desktop, right-click My Computer and click Manage.
  2. In the left pane, under System Tools, select Device Manager.
  3. Expand Sound, video and game controllers.
  4. Right-click Creative AudioPCI (ES1371, ES1373) (WDM) and click Update Driver. ((In certain cases it might be listed as an Unknown Device inside Other Devices)

    Note: In Fusion 5.x and 4.x, right-click High Definition Audio Device and click Update Driver. This applies to Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 only.

  5. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.

    Windows finds and installs the appropriate driver for you virtual sound card.

  6. If you are prompted to restart, click Restart Now.
Note: Windows XP users must have Service Pack 2 or above installed in the virtual machine for the sound to work. For more information, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 322389.

Microsoft provides a Fix it tool for sound issues in Windows operating systems. For more information, see the Microsoft Fix it tool page.

If the issue still persists, check if the Windows audio service is running within the Windows virtual machine:
  1. Go to Start. For Windows XP, go to Run, type services.msc. For Windows 7, type services in the search box. For Windows 8, go to search, select Settings and type services in the search box and click View local Services.
  2. Locate the Windows Audio service.
  3. Start the service, if it is stopped. If it is already running, restart the service.
If you are trying to use any Plug and Play audio/multimedia device, ensure that the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) Device Host service is started.

Note: The preceding links were correct as of August 7, 2012. If you find a link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.

If the issue persists after trying the steps in this article:

Additional Information

For translated versions of this article, see:

This Article Replaces

Troubleshooting a Windows XP virtual machine that is unable to connect to a sound device at boot (1005246)
Sound not working in Fusion virtual machines (2020871)

Update History

<pre>06/11/2010: 1. Added Fusion product versions. 2. Linked to instructions for editing the .vmx. 3. Added initial step to check VM Settings. 01/13/2011 - Added tags for Workstation, ACE, and Player. 06/15/2011 - Added note to add a sound device if none if present in step 1 and clarified that the menu can be VM for workstation - kadamson 01/04/2012 - Added additional information on updating the sound driver in Windows. 07/01/2012 - Added link to the Microsoft Fixit tool. 08/05/2012 - Added step to check Windows audio service. </pre>

Request a Product Feature

To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.


  • 127 Ratings

Did this article help you?
This article resolved my issue.
This article did not resolve my issue.
This article helped but additional information was required to resolve my issue.

What can we do to improve this information? (4000 or fewer characters)

Please enter the Captcha code before clicking Submit.
  • 127 Ratings