I've seen other topics where people say their computer doesn't recognize or use their external speakers. I have this problem but it's a bit different. My computer doesn't think it has any playback audio devices connected to it at all. This computer is a laptop, it won't even use it's own speakers. I know these speakers work because I ran pre-boot diagnostics and the speakers worked perfectly. Also strangely enough when I ran a System File Scan earlier today then rebooted, my audio worked perfectly external speakers and all... for a while. I don't know exactly how long it worked because I had to go to class. all I know is that when I returned my computer had once again forgotten about its speakers. This makes me wonder what in the world is messing with my protected system files and why my computer seems unable to maintain them without the Operating System disk? I have scanned and scanned and scanned some more and come up with nothing (used bitdefender and spybot search and destroy which I reinstalled specifically to check for anything bit defender missed it found a few things but nothing related to my problem). The only other thing I can think of is that my sound card is trying to die... unfortunately I don't know the name of my sound card but I believe it is a Creative product since it is a creative program that runs my sound (SB Audigy ADVANCE MB is what shows up in the program but I don't know what it refers to.)
This forum is my only help outlet because my Dell warranty has expired and they are no longer obligated to provide free service so they don't. I will not download anymore mal-ware removal tools etc because I've tried this in the past and you always have to pay money before the program will remove anything. Please keep in mind that as part of this issue I cannot change any of my playback audio device settings because as far as my computer is concerned I don't have any devices to configure at all. I also cannot do a system restore to a previous date because as part of campus policy we are required to disable that function. As a last resort I will consider repairing my operating system (I've done this before to correct a blue screen of death issue I had a few years ago) but I would rather not go through that hassle. If you need screen shots of my device manager, sound and audio settings menu, or anything else let me know and I will post them.
attached is screenshot of control panel audio settings...