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Windows XP/No Sound from .WAV files


Hello Troy!

I am having a problem with my Windows XP3 sound system on my PC. Until recently I was able to play .WAV sounds, MP3 and MP4s. But as of yesterday I noticed that I could no longer play any .WAV sounds, etc. I went to the Control Panel to check under sounds, etc. and all is as should be. The funny thing is that I can play MIDI sounds quite well but not .WAVs or the others.

In researching this issue on my own, I went to a website on eHow, at:      and followed the "Instructions" given all the way to #5. They suggest selecting the Current_User key but the item they call "<No Name> :REG_SZ:"  was not found on my system! Perhaps this could be the problem? I don't know how I can restore that or if it even needs to be.

In thinking back, I did a Registry Cleaning recently but don't know if that could have changed the sound files to affect the .WAV or perhaps something else caused it. When Windows starts up I used to hear the Windows Start .WAV sound as well as when it was turned off. But now I cannot hear either of those sounds. I sometimes like to listen to Internet programs and find that now I cannot without the sound. Do you, perchance, know what could be causing this problem and how it can be rectified? I did a system restore, on Puran Utilities, one day *after* the registry cleaning with that program but now it does not appear to restore things to the way it used to be. But again I don't know if this is part of the problem or not.

Troy, thank you for your help!

P.S. I hope you are feeling better! Hang in there!!

Hi Tren,

That is unfortunate that your playback of that type of audio doesn’t seem to be working… It was good of you to try to troubleshoot it on your own, looking up possible solutions and trying the steps. Those exact steps at the Ehow  website may be specific to one type of problem however, and that person is merely sharing how they solved their issue (which is very nice of them and does not mean all Ehow instructions are not going to work). They may not work for your issue and if they don’t, that’s ok, we’ll just try some other things to get it working…

You had said that you used a ‘registry cleaning’ program. These aren't bad applications, but sometimes something they can think that isn't used often or referenced properly (whether it is the fault of the programmers of the cleaning program or the other program, or no one), such as files/drivers/etc may be seen as ‘not needed’ and deleted, or their reference removed from the registry. This can result in Drivers not working and there may not be any errors to indicate it is not working. This is only one possible solution, but you can still try to re-install the drivers for your sound adapter (if it is your motherboard/onboard, install the motherboard drivers again, or if it a soundcard or USB device, install the drivers for it again, usually obtained from the manufacturer’s website). This may correct any missing entries in the Registry and references to any drivers that may have been too rigidly ‘cleaned’.

Another thing that may be happening is that the chips that handle the audio portion of the sound adapter (inside a USB device or part of your motherboard, for example) may be having troubles. Dusting out any sound-related components of your system can help with issues like heat and conduction problems, but if it is a hardware issue, the quickest way to check is to substitute a different audio part with another one. For instance, if you are using a USB device to produce sound, plug in a different USB device (from another system or a friend’s system) or enable the onboard/motherboard audio if you are not using that, and see if WAV files play correctly then. This can give you a clue as to what part may be having troubles/dying/etc.

One of the most obvious and thankfully, easiest problems to solve with audio not playing, is to check the Volume Controls and see if your WAV/Out is turned down (but your MIDI output is turned up). This would easily explain the problem, if it was turned down by accident, or if an application ‘reset’ it to be off for some reason (this exact issue happened to me in the past).

I hope those ideas at least start you off in figuring it out, Tren – and thank you for your kind  words of encouragement!


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Troy M. MCSE, CNA, MCP, CST, IC3, Aplus


Hi there! Even though I am relatively new around here, I have been having great fun with PCs for over two decades now, becoming familiar with Windows through versions 3.x/9x/Me/2000/XP/2003/7/8/10. I enjoy helping others with what I feel is an exciting industry - computers are always changing, improving and offering new opportunities for learning. I look forward to assisting you with questions concerning Windows, how it interacts with your PC Hardware, configuration/settings or just general tips and ideas. Besides troubleshooting questions, feel free to ask the basics, as well. I will always start there, and I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a dumb question - we are all ‘Beginners’ at one time or another!


I am an A+ Certified, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer with Computer Service Technician and LAN Administration diplomas and over 15 years direct experience with PCs including assembly, troubleshooting/support and upgrading. I have worked for retail outlets, schools and businesses, and have been an Instructor in the past as well – helping others, just like you, understand and enjoy computers!

MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer), CNA (Certified Novell Administrator), MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional), CST (Computer Service Technician (Formerly Computer Engineering Technician)(Hardware/OS servicing Diploma), IC3 (Internet and Core Computing Certification)(Hardware/OperatingSystem/Internet Fundamentals Certification), A+ (Computing Technology Industry Association Hardware/Operating System Certification)

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