Within the last 2 months, we have had several HP Spectre x360 13" convertible laptops within our fleet in which the sound has stopped working. I suspect that this is due to Windows/Driver updates through Windows Updates. Not all machines have been affected, so far only 3 or 4 of them have experienced this issue but I am concerned about it happening on the rest of our HP Spectre X360 systems.
If I remove and uninstall the current drivers and try loading up older versions of the Realtek audio drivers, I am eventually able to get the sound working again. Due to this, it seems like it's definitely a driver/software issue as opposed to hardware. Unfortunately, this seems to be a temporary fix as after a week or two the sound has stopped working again on several of these systems.
I just tried performing the "audio check" through the HP Support Assistant on one of the affected systems, which has now come back for the 3rd time, but that has been unable to resolve the issue. Again I had to play around with repeatedly removing the audio driver and installing older versions until one of them finally worked. I'm looking for feedback from HP or the HP Community on this issue and if others have found a fix or if HP has guidance on resolving this.
Model info of an affected system: HP Spectre x360 - 13t-ae000
Quick update, we've had yet another system with this problem. I have now spent nearly 2 hours trying to get it resolved and have been unable to do so. I've tried the normal process of repeatedly uninstalling the existing audio driver and installing other versions trying to find one that works but in this case, none of them have gotten sound working again. I have again tried the HP Audio Check and Windows troubleshooter and neither have been able to resolve the issue.
I'm getting to the point with this machine where I'm starting to consider simply wiping the system and reloading Windows from scratch.
While some of those suggestions, removing and reinstalling drivers, has worked in the past on several systems that have had this issue, I have already performed all of those steps to no avail on this latest system. I ended up wiping the computer and reinstalling Windows and everything from scratch. That did fix the problem which further reinforces the fact that it's not a hardware related issue but instead software/drivers.
I believe I have narrowed this problem down to systems in which I hadn't performed a clean install of Windows prior to deployment with the end user. We used to simply use the factory install of Windows, as built by HP, and then customized and cleaned up the systems from there. Since then, I have put together a new automated build procedure that performs a full wipe of the drive and then installs Windows and all our standard applications to keep the system 100% clean. In looking at which systems have had issues and the majority of systems that haven't... this is the only differentiating factor that I can come up with. Otherwise they are all the exact same model Spectre and are all at similar patch levels, etc. I now believe that it's some issue with the factory image that HP installs.
That's the best theory I can come up with at this point, but it still doesn't explain what exactly is causing the sound to stop on these machines. Again, I suspect it's some incompatibility with Windows Update/Drivers but have been unable to narrow it down beyond that. I'm interested to see if this latest machine experiences the issue again within the next month or so now that I've performed a clean Windows install on it. If not, and the problem resurfaces again on other machines that I've previously fixed, I will end up having to perform clean Windows installs on all of them as well.
If anyone else has similar experiences or more details that may shed light on the source of the issue, I'd be glad to hear it.
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