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Surface Pro Tip: Sound comes out of wrong device

Posted by on 7/31/2013 in Blog Updates under Technology


Part two in my series of Microsoft Surface Pro tips.

How to fix issues with the sound coming out of the wrong device.

I noticed this problem the very first time I plugged my headphones into the headphone port.  Unlike every other device in the world that has a headphone port and built in speakers, after I plugged in my headphones for the first time, the sound continued to come from the speakers. 

I did something to the Sound settings and eventually got them to work, but after unplugging the headphones when I was done, the speaker icon on my taskbar had a red X next to it.  I clicked it, it ran a troubleshooter, and the speakers worked again.  This happened EVERY time I plugged in headphones.  I had a similar experience when I connected the Surface to my TV with an HDMI cable (via the Mini Display Port adapter.)   The sound continued to come from the Surface Pro speakers until I fussed with the settings for 5 minutes.  Once I disconnected the TV, the Surface speakers would only work after running the troubleshooter. 

After spending some time trying to find a permanent fix, I discovered that it had something to do with the Default Audio Device settings.  This fix must be applied once for each type of device. 

I started with the headphones:

  1. Plug the headphones in, right click on the speaker icon in the lower right corner of the taskbar, and select "Playback Devices". 
    Step 1: Right Click the Speaker icon and select "Playback Devices"
  2. The Sound window should open and you should see at least two entries: Speakers and Headphones. 
  3. Right click on the Headphones and make sure both "Set as Default Device" and "Set as Default Communication Device" are checked
    Step 3: Make sure "Set as Default Device" & "Set as Default Communication Device" checked
  4. Click Apply then click OK
  5. Restart (This isn't necessary, but it's a good way to make sure the change took hold)


Unplug the headphones, plug the HDMI cable in, and repeat with the TV. 

Basically, with the speakers set as default, they will ALWAYS be the first thing to product sound.  If you set the headphones as the default, it will play through those whenever they are plugged in.  However, when unplugged, the system will revert back to the speakers since there is nothing else left to play through.  Same with the HDMI. 

Why this is not done out of the box is beyond me, but I'm glad to have finally figured it out!

Next up: The mysteriously disappearing SD card

Do you find these tips useful?  Have any other suggestions?  Let me know!



Microsoft Surface Pro Tip: Type Cover Stops Working

Posted by on 7/27/2013 in Blog Updates under Technology


I've had my Microsoft Surface for about 5 months now and, while I am very satisfied with my purchase, there were still a few grips that prevented me from seeing its true potential.  Most of them have been ironed out, so I'm going to be posting a number of tips and tricks I discovered that may save you from some of the same frustrations and aggravations I went through.

First up:

Type Cover keyboard randomly stops working

My Surface ProEvery once in a while I will be typing away on my Type Cover keyboard and it suddenly stops working.  Usually, detaching it and clicking it back in will correct the problem.  However, on rare occasions, it stops working completely.  When it does happen, the common thread seems to indicate it is usually after detaching the power, putting it to sleep, then waking it back up again a short time later.  Attaching and reattaching the cover doesn't work, and neither does restarting the unit.  However, I discovered that if it happens, and I plug in the unit so it is charging, then shut down completely (you must go to Charms Bar > Settings > Power > ShutDown), then the keyboard will be back to normal when I start back up again. 


This ONLY works when the unit is being charged.  If the unit isn't plugged in, the keyboard will not work after starting back up again.  Certainly not ideal if I'm on a plane or at a conference without access to a power outlet!  But it happens so rarely that I am not too worried about it. 

I wouldn't classify that as a "fix" since the root cause isn't address - it's just a work-around - but it's nice to know that, on the rare occasions it does happen, I know how to quickly get it back up and running again.

Be sure to check out the collection of all my Surface tips.  And stay tuned for a comprehensive review of my Surface Pro after six months of use as my primary computer. 

Have any other useful tips? Let me know!



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