Chapter 9:
Music, Photos and Video

Troubleshooting Common Audio Problems in Windows 10

In this guide we will cover the most common audio problems in Windows 10 and explain how you can solve them. Usually when these problems occur, you will experience bad sound quality or the sound will be completely missing. Hardware issues and outdated drivers are the leading cause of these problems and as such, they will be the main focus of this troubleshooting guide.

Check Your Audio Cables

If you are using speakers, headphones, a combo box or professional sound monitors you should first check the cables that connect to your PC.

In this section, we’ll show you how to check your audio cables depending on their type. Before you go any further, we recommend that you check for the trivial things as well: make sure that everything is plugged into proper ports, check that all the devices are powered and turned on, and make sure that none of the audio sources are muted.

To troubleshoot speakers and headphones:

Make sure the cables are connected properly (see the illustration below):

Make sure you haven’t accidently plugged your speakers into the line-in jack.

If your device uses a USB cable, then consult our USB troubleshooting guide for more details. Generally you should:

If you are using a HDMI second monitor with built-in speakers that you wish to use, then you should check to see if audio is enabled over HDMI connection.

To troubleshoot audio over HDMI cable:

Open Search.

Type Sound in the search box, and then click or tap on the Sound app from the list of results.

Click or tap on the Playback tab and look for your HDMI device (it will be shown as a speaker icon and will be labeled Speakers; the icon should be followed by the name of the device).

Once you locate your HDMI device, click or tap on it.

Now click or tap on Set Default, and then click or tap on OK to confirm your decision.

Restart your PC after you’ve successfully applied these changes.

Check Your Sound Card

The next step is to check if your PC has a sound card and whether it is functioning properly. This can be done easily via the Device Manager:

Open Search.

Type Device Manager in the search box, and then click or tap on the Device Manager from the list of results.

Double click or double tap on Sound, video and game controllers to expand this category on the left side of the window.

If you cannot see a sound card in this category, try looking under Other devices. If you do not have a sound card listed in any of these categories, consult your PC’s specs. If there is one listed on the spec sheet, but not installed, then contact your retailer about the mistake.

If you can see the sound card, then right click on its name (or press and hold) to open the context menu.

Now choose Properties and under the General tab look at the Device status.

If the device is running properly, then everything is fine; if not, you will see a troubleshoot button. Click or tap on it and follow the on-screen instructions.

If there is a problem with outdated or missing drivers, then consult our guide on updating drivers in Windows 10 for help on downloading and installing the right ones.

Use the Audio Troubleshooter

Download the audio troubleshooter from Microsoft’s support site and run the app. This automated troubleshooter requires administrative privileges and it will check your PC for common audio configuration errors. Since this is a software troubleshooter, it will only be able to detect other software-related problems.

Once the troubleshooter is finished you will received a list of a diagnosed errors. Usually, this program will fix most common problems, but some errors might require further action from the user. If this is the case, then the troubleshooter will point you into the right direction.

Finding and Installing Codecs for Windows 10

A codec is a piece of hardware or software that can compress and decompress digital media files using specific techniques and algorithms. The term codec itself is short for coder-decoder or, less commonly uses, compressor-decompressor. In this instance, we’re referring to the codec software that is very useful for compressing audio and video files.

There are hundreds of codecs that you can use, but only a handful of them come with Windows. In case you stumble upon media files that can only be played via a codec that you don’t have, you will need to find it and install it from a third-party.

How to See Currently Installed Codecs

The information regarding supported codecs in Windows 10 is a bit complex and hard to find. Here’s a trick you can use to discover this information on your PC:

Open the Windows Media Player.

Hover over the Help menu in the menu bar and click or tap on About Windows Media Player.

In case the Help menu is not available in the menu bar, click or tap on Organize, then click or tap on Layout and select Show menu bar.

Now the About Windows Media Player dialog will open. Here you should click or tap on Technical Support Information.

This will open a plain document inside of your web browser. You might be prompted with a menu where you have to choose which program to open it with. This file contains a lot of debug information that is used to troubleshoot media-related problems.

Go through the list until you find information regarding codecs.

How to Find and Install Missing Codec

When you try to play a file with an unsupported codec, you will usually receive an error message along with the name of the codec that you need to install. This will often lead you directly to the codec’s main webpage where you can download the software.

In case the error message doesn’t contain the information regarding the ID of the codec, you can inspect the file for more information. Right clicking (or pressing and holding) the file will open the context menu where you can click or tap on Properties. Under Details, look at the File tab. Here you can look at the Audio codec and Video codec sections to see which codecs are required. The information that is displayed here, however, isn’t always accurate.

The file’s extension can also be a valuable hint. For example, MP3 is a file extension that is associated with the MPEG-1 codec. However, this is also rather inaccurate as file extensions are not the same thing as the codecs used to compress and decompress their content. Nonetheless, if you search for an unusual file extension you’ll probably find a lot of information about it on the Internet – including the name of the required codec.

You can also search for codecs based on their official ID signatures that are sometimes displayed in the error message. Video codecs have an ID that is known as the FourCC identifier, while audio codecs use a WaveFormat identifier.

Once you’ve found the codec’s webpage, you can download and install it. Not all codecs are free and you may be required to purchase the one you need. The installation process may vary so be sure to check the instructions or FAQ section on the codec’s site.

Finally, before installing a codec you should remember that these programs are third-party software and not affiliated with Microsoft. As such, you take full responsibility for installing them. Usually there’s no need to be worried, but Microsoft always recommends that you create a USB recovery drive in case third-party files cause system corruption.

Windows Media Player Device Sync in Windows 10

The Windows Media Player is a great built-in media station for your movies, music and photos. In Windows 10, this program has been equipped with a brand new feature called device sync (device synchronization), which allows you to copy your media files from your library to a portable device. With this feature you can easily copy your files from your Windows PC to your smartphone or tablet device.

How to Use Windows Media Player’s Device Synchronization

Media items can be synchronized to your portable devices manually or automatically (when the device is connected). When you connect the portable device to your PC for the first time, the Media Player will suggest which method works best for you, but you can always change this later. If your media library is large but your device has a small storage capacity, then it is best to do the sync manually. Otherwise you can feel free to automate the process.

To get started with Windows Media Player’s device sync, do the following:

Connect your portable device to the PC. Make sure that the device is turned on.

Open the Windows Media Player. The program will detect the device automatically.

To change your synchronization options, connect the device to the PC and do the following:

Open the Player Library and click or tap on the Sync tab.

Click or tap the Sync options button.

Now click or tap on Set up sync and follow the on-screen instructions.

Technical Notes about Automatic and Manual Synchronization

The choice between the automatic or manual sync depends greatly on your device and how large your library is. The Windows Media Player will choose automatic sync by default if you have more than 4 gigabytes (4GB) of available storage capacity on your device and your media library is smaller than that.

However, you have the liberty to choose individual files and folders instead of having the entire Player Library copied at once. This means that automatic sync can be used to sync specific files and not the entire library.

Since the process is automatic, this means that the contents of the device will automatically be updated every time when the device is connected to the PC. As such, the contents on your portable device will mirror the Player Library.

To illustrate this clearly – if you have downloaded a music album to your Player Library, the same music files will be copied to your device the next time it’s connected to the PC. This also works for file deletion. If you delete the album on your PC then those files will be deleted on the portable device the next time you sync.

On the other hand, if you do not have sufficient storage space on the device, then the Windows Media Player will choose manual sync as the default option. You’ll have to follow the on-screen instructions in order to add or remove the items that you wish to synchronize with your device.

Importing Photos and Videos from Portable Devices in Windows 10

There are several ways to import content from your external devices to your PC and they greatly depend on the type of device that you’re using. In this guide we’ll talk about all of the methods and provide solutions for the common problems. If you’re interested in the process of synchronizing media files on your PC with portable devices, then head over to our device sync in Windows 10 guide.

Importing Content from Smartphone, Tablet, Camera or External Drive

Importing photos and videos directly from these devices is very easy. The speed of the transfer, however, depends greatly on the type of connection. If you are connecting the devices via a USB 3.0 connector then you should make sure to use a USB 3.0 port for optimum speed and performance. See our guide on USB 3.0 devices in Windows 10 if you are unsure about this.

Here are the steps:

Connect the device to your PC.

Open the Photos app:

Right click within the Photos app or swipe in from the bottom edge. This will show a list of the app commands.

Click or tap on the Import command.

Use the import window to select the device you want to import from.

Once the device is selected, the app will search for all photos and videos that haven’t been imported before and select all of them. However, you can manually choose the files you wish to import.

Click or tap on the Import button once you’ve selected all of the files that you wish to copy to your PC.

Additionally, you can use wireless uploading to import your files if you’re using a smart device. Windows Phone, Android and iPhone users can download the OneDrive application from their respective stores and use it to upload files directly to OneDrive.

Importing from a DVD or CD

The import process for DVDs and CDs is a bit different as there is no automatic import tool. Essentially, you will have to copy and paste the files just like in earlier versions of Windows.

Here’s how it works:

If you want the copied files to appear inside of your Photos app, then you need to copy them into the Pictures folder on your PC or OneDrive.

The PC Cannot Locate the Connected Device

The most common problem with importing media files in Windows 10 is that sometimes your connected device won’t show up anywhere on your PC. This indicates that the PC doesn’t “see” or cannot communicate with the device in question. In case of mobile devices and cameras you should first make sure that they are turned on and unlocked.

Try the following solutions:

Windows 10 Media Apps

Instead of asking you to install separate programs or applications, Windows 10 comes with preinstalled media apps: Movies & TV, Groove Music, Photos and the Xbox app.

Movies & TV

Besides being an app to play your video files, Movies & TV tries to compete with providers such as Netflix by offering you movies and TV shows. You can access this part of the app by starting it and clicking on Movies on the upper left corner. You will notice a roll of movies that are derived from your interests that Windows 10 and Cortana collect. If you buy or rent anything, it will also show here.

Clicking or tapping the icon of Movies opens up the Store app where you can pick HD or SD quality as well as different audio if available. It also shows information on the movie, a trailer that plays in the Movies & TV app, names and photos of cast and crew, reviews, offers you other movies that might interest you and you can see which platforms the movie can be watched on. You can also click or tap Show all to open the Store and browse all available movies. You are also free to choose if you want to buy or rent something, if possible.

The app had certain issues at the launch of Windows 10 such as choppy video, but updates have fixed those and the app looks very sleek and works very well.

You can also access TV shows from the main menu on the upper left corner of the app by clicking or tapping TV. Again, it will show anything you bought or rented, as well as a tailored roll of TV shows you might be interested in. Clicking Show all will open up the Store allowing you to view all available shows. You can decide if you want to pay for a complete season of a show or just buy one episode at a time. Although buying a complete season is cheaper once you round it up.

The app does suffer from a setback when it comes to available movies and TV shows as most users think the collection is too narrow and should have more classics, different genres and overall just more of everything.

Moving away from the online part of the app, you can also view all the videos on your hard or solid state drive and OneDrive. However, the app will most probably not be able to find them unless you direct it to them.

Click or tap Videos in the upper left corner to access your video files. If you see they are missing, you can click or tap Change where we look which will open a browse window allowing you to find the folder where you video files are situated. After a short sync, they will then appear in the app and any new video files you might add at a later date.

You can sort them by date added or A to Z by clicking or tapping Sort by in the header of the screen. You can also delete files from within the app by right-clicking a video file and choosing Delete.

You might encounter an issue where the Movies & TV app cannot open some files due to missing codecs. In this case, you should try to download those codecs manually. If this does not work, you should try a different app for those files.

You can also change the app a bit by clicking or tapping Settings in the lower left corner. Here you can change the download quality of videos to HD, SD or Ask every time if you want to decide for particular videos.

Another option is to change where videos are stored when they are downloaded. Clicking or tapping Modify your storage settings will open up the Settings window where you can change where every single type of file is downloaded. Here you need to change the New movies and TV shows will save to and check your preferred drive.

Show my download devices will show all the devices that are added to your account. This means you can download everything you purchase to any of those devices. You can have downloaded content on a total of 5 devices. You can also remove any of those devices, but keep in mind you can only remove one every 30 days.

There is a restore option in case you deleted a movie or TV show accidentally. Just click or tap Restore my available video purchases to make them appear again.

The app also features different modes: Light, Dark and Use system setting. The last one will use whatever you chose to use in your personalization settings.

Groove Music

While the name of the app is Groove Music, it also has a service connected to it that is called Groove. It used to be called Xbox Music but Microsoft decided to change the name because it confused users since you did not need an Xbox to use it. You do not need to use the paid Groove service to use the app to play your local music.

Groove allows you to listen to MP3 files located in your OneDrive account, and with a monthly subscription, you will have access to millions of albums from all sorts of authors. Groove is available on iOS, Android, Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile and Xbox One. To sign up for Groove, you need to have a Microsoft account. This will allow you to use the service across all your devices.

The Groove Music Pass is your subscription to Microsoft's streaming service. You pay $9.99 a month (prices vary depending on region) to get access to the Groove catalog of music. You can get a free month trial to try out the service. To get the service, simply open the app and click on Get a Groove Music Pass. As long as you keep paying for it, you can keep playing the music without buying each song or album.

Besides using the Groove service, you can also play music on your local drive. You can do this by clicking or tapping Play your own music from the home screen of the app or by clicking or tapping Albums, Artists or Songs on the left menu or by going to the app settings. Under the Add some music heading, click or tap on Choose where we look for music. This will open a window that shows where the app is already looking and a plus icon that will open a browse window so you can find the file you want to play music from. After you have chosen the file, click or tap Done.

You can also add your music to OneDrive. Do this by opening the app, and from the home screen click or tap on Add your music to OneDrive. This will open a new tab in your web browser and direct you to Microsoft's page. Once there, click on Add songs to OneDrive. It will open your OneDrive web app where you can upload music to the music file. If you need help with OneDrive, check the OneDrive section of this guide. This will allow you to listen to your local music on any device via the Groove music app.

To access the Groove Music app settings, click or tap on the cog wheel icon in the lower left corner. Here you can choose to Hide app features relate to Groove Music Pass if you are not using the service and do not want to see any information related to it. Here you can also choose where the app will look for music on your local drive as well as import iTunes playlists. You can turn on Media Info if you want the app to automatically retrieve and update missing album art and metadata, as well as OneDrive so when you add a song to OneDrive, it will remove any version that came from Groove Music Pass. Under Reset, any playlists and any music you have added or downloaded from the Groove catalog can be deleted. You can also choose a mode for the app: Light, Dark and Use system setting like with the Movies & TV app.


Windows 10 comes with an image viewing app called Photos, but its options are far from what you could imagine. Instead of simply allowing you to view images, it will also make it possible for you to edit your them with a range of tools, share them on social media, import from other devices and work with Cortana to find them more easily.

The app will sort your images into Collection, Albums and Folders. Collection will sort your images by the date they were added. At any time, you could have a lot of images to sift through so the easiest way to go through them in Collection is to click on the name of the month above the images and it will open a menu of all months and years so you can find the one you need.

Albums will automatically sort your images by the date they were added, but you can also make albums manually. Just right-click or hold on a picture to open the menu. Here you can select Share, Slideshow, Copy, Delete and Add to album. Once you click Add to album, you will be prompted to choose an existing album or create a new one.

To select more than one image, you can simply hover over one in its upper right corner until a small box appears that you can then check. Then you can do the same with other pictures, except you don't have to hover over the picture, it will already be showing the box. You can also just press or tap Select in the upper right corner.

If you click or tap on Folders, you can see what folders the Photos app is already taking images from and you can add a new folder by clicking or tapping Choose where to look. This will open the app's settings. Here you have to click or tap Add a folder under the Sources heading. You can also click or tap the X next to any folder if you wish to remove it from the list.

Settings also allows you to turn on OneDrive so images from your OneDrive also show up in the Photos app. You can choose to only show the pictures folder or all folders. Under Viewing and editing, you can choose to turn on Automatically enhance my photos. This will only appear on the images that can be improved but will not actually be saved to the file. Here you can also choose a Mode: Light, Dark and Use system setting.

Editing is the true power that the Photos app gives the user. To edit an image, you simply have to click or tap on it to enlarge it. You will have several options on the screen:

Share – click or tap this to open a list of applications that can share the image. Note that you have to have social media apps installed from the Store to be able to use them to share.

Zoom – click or tap this to zoom in or out the photo. A slider will appear that you can move left or right depending on how much you want to zoom in. You can also use your mouse wheel or zoom in with your fingers if you are using touch.

Slideshow – click or tap this (F5) to start a slideshow from the selected image.

Draw – click or tap this to open up a drawing tab. You can choose to use a Ballpoint pen, Pencil, Calligraphy Pen, Eraser or Touch writing to add your own handmade text, signs or images to the image.

Enhance – click or tap this (E) to let the app enhance the photo automatically. If you want to leave it enhanced, just leave it like that. If you want to go back to how it was, just simply click or tap Enhance again.

Edit – click or tap this (Ctrl + C) to open up an Edit tab on the right side. This will offer you options such as crop and rotate, choose a filter, change light, color, warmth, clarity, vignette, spot fix and red eye. You can Share it from there without saving if you want to keep the original, Save if you do not want to keep the original, or Save a copy if you want to keep the original and the edited image.

Rotate – click this (Ctrl + R) to rotate the image by 90˚ clockwise.

If you click the three dots at the end of the tab, you can also choose to Open with, Copy (Ctrl + C), Print (Ctrl + P), Set as (Lock screen, background, Photos tile) and File info (Alt + Enter).

Xbox app

Windows 10 comes with a preinstalled Xbox app which allows you to control your Xbox One and stream games to your PC. To play an Xbox game on your computer, both of your devices need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

To use Xbox game streaming, you first need to enable game streaming from your Xbox One. To do this, go to Settings and select Preferences. Make sure these two settings are enabled:

After ensuring that your console settings are correct, you need to establish a connection from your Windows 10 PC to your Xbox One console from within the Xbox app on your PC:

On your PC, launch the Xbox app.

Select Connect from the panel on the left side.

The Xbox app will scan your home network for available Xbox One consoles. Select the name of the console you want to connect to.

Once you have connected, you'll see the icons change to indicate you are connected, and you'll see new options for streaming, power, and media remotes. You'll also now have control of the console remotely.

To get started, all you need to do is to plug an Xbox One controller into your PC. Once the app automatically installs the necessary drivers, you can start streaming your games.

The Xbox app also has the Game DVR feature which allows you to record gameplay on your PC.

Once you open the Xbox app, go to Settings > Game DVR and enable game recording. You can also turn on the Background recording feature which lets you record the last 15 seconds to 10 minutes of your gameplay. Keep in mind that this will affect game performance.

Then, open a game and press Win + G to open the Game Bar. A window will pop up and ask you “Do you want to open Game Bar?” Confirm by checking the “Yes, this is a game” checkbox.

If you can’t see the bar, you might need to play the game in windowed mode. Also, some games won’t allow you to record. In that case, you will see the notification “This app can’t be recorded”. The Game bar includes tools that let you take a screenshot, record gameplay, control the recording and access settings.

To start recording, click the red record button or press Win + Alt + R. Pressing those buttons again or clicking the stop button will stop recording.

If you haven’t been recording your gameplay and want to capture the last 15 seconds to 10 minutes of your game, you can do that by using Record that by pressing Win + Alt + G. This is only possible if you’ve previously enabled the Background recording feature in settings.

You can also take a screenshot of your game by clicking the camera icon or pressing Win + Alt + Print Scrn.

All the videos and screenshots are saved in you user account’s Videos\Captures folder. They can also be accessed within the Xbox app by clicking on the Game DVR icon.

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