Sounds in Windows

Since Windows Vista Microsoft changed the way ho and where sounds are played. Now, all programs that produce sounds can use different sound devices. As an example, system sounds come from the computer speakers, the 5.1 sound of the DVD software are routed to the sound system and other video sound comes from the speakers of the external monitor. 

Unfortunately, this new way of sound routing may lead to problems as sounds don't come from the expected device. The associated settings are not complicated, though:


To change settings, use the small speaker symbol in the bottom right corner of the Windows desktop. A left mouse click will open a volume slider, from which the mixer can be opened:




The mixer allows for separate volume setting for each sound source.


A right-click on the speaker symbol will open a small menu, which contains an entry "Playback Devices". Click here to open the playback devices dialog:


Here, you'll see all devices that can be selected to play a sound. Each of these sound devices can be selected as default device (right click -> "set as default device"). Another option here is to set a device as "default communication device", which then will be used for communication software such as Skype.