Windows 10 Tip: How To Quickly Switch Sound Playback Device

I have a Bluetooth headphone, and a set of pretty decent speakers both connected on my desktop computer. I use the speakers when I need background music, and will put on my headphone when I need to screen out the surround sounds to get more concentrated on my work. In Windows 10, it makes this back-and-force switch a lot easier.

Here is how you can do it too if needed.

Click the speaker icon in the system tray and the little up arrow

A list of available sound playback devices pops up.

Simply click the one you want to play your music, and the sound gets switched over right after. It’s simple like that.

Note that there are four playback devices listed in the screenshot above. But only two of them are connected to a physical device and usable. Is there any way to only display the usable devices and hide the inactive ones in the list?

Right-click the speaker icon and choose Playback devices.

The Sound dialog box pops up, from where you can right-click the device you don’t want them to display and choose Disable.

The disabled devices will be hidden from the playback list from the system tray. Now the list is much cleaner and easy to use.

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 02/25/2017

Posted in: Tips & Tricks , Windows 10
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Glenn Reimche
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Thanks Kent, I’ve never noticed that arrow.

I’ve been using SoundSwitch (see github) to accomplish the same thing. The two main benefits being able to select which sound devices appear in the list without disabling them in Windows, and being able to also switch your Recording Device.

What I hate is that we still can’t select a specific “default” sound device for each app. I’m switching several times a day.

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