If you have an audio output device connected to your Windows 11 PC—such as speakers, headphones, or a headset—that you don’t want to output sound to, you can disable it in Settings without having to uninstall it in Windows. Here’s how.

First, you’ll need to open the sound options in Windows Settings. To do so, press Windows+i on your keyboard and navigate to System > Sound. Or, you can right-click the speaker icon in your taskbar and select “Sound Settings.”

When Settings opens to the “Sound” page, find the “Output” section near the top and click the sideways caret (arrow) beside the audio output device that you want to disable.

Click the caret arrow beside the sound device you want to configure.

On the Properties page for the sound device, look in the “General” section and locate the “Audio” option, which says “Allow apps and Windows to use this device for audio” beneath it. Click the “Don’t Allow” button beside it.

Click "Don't Allow."

The sound device has been disabled—no trip to Device Manager necessary. If you close Settings and reopen it again later, you’ll notice that the disabled device will no longer be listed in the “Output” section of the System > Sound page. To reenable the device, follow the instructions listed below.

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How to Reenable a Sound Device in Windows 11

To reenable a sound device that you’ve disabled using the method described above, you’ll need to take a slightly different approach in Settings. First, right-click the speaker icon in the lower-right corner of the taskbar and select “Sound Settings.”

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Windows Settings will open to System > Sound. Scroll down the page until you find the “Advanced” section. Click “All Sound Devices.”

Click "All Sound Devices."

In the list of output devices, click the sound device that you’d like to reenable.

Click the sound device in "All Sound Devices" you'd like to change.

On the device’s Properties page, under “Audio,” click the “Allow” button.

Click "Allow."

After that, the sound device will be reenabled and will show up on the list of output devices in System > Sound near the top of the page again. Happy listening!

RELATED: How to Choose Speakers for Audio Output in Windows 11

Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is an Associate Editor for How-To Geek. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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