How to Prevent Windows from Automatically Reducing System Volume

If you are running Windows 7 or later, then you may have run into an odd behavior in your Windows experience. If you’re running a program that uses sound, you may have noticed the volume of your sound to be automatically reduced when you run certain programs, such as Skype or games with audio chat channels. This can be very frustrating and many users have been really upset at this seemingly random volume reduction problem. As it happens, it’s not random and it’s easy to fix. In this article, I will show you why this happens, and how to stop it from happening again.

What’s Up, Redmond?

Longtime Microsoft watchers know that what you really have to watch out for isn’t malevolent intention on the part of the Redmond-based software giant. If Microsoft tries to be evil, they usually just mess it up and don’t really do anything. No, it’s when Microsoft tries to HELP that you have to look out, and this volume glitch is a sterling example of this phenomenon.

Here’s what’s happening. As voice over IP (VoIP) services became more and more common here in the 21st century, Microsoft wanted to make the process of placing and receiving phone calls on the Windows desktop to be more seamless. (You’ve surely noticed how you make and receive all your phone calls on your Windows machine now, right?) To facilitate this, Microsoft added a feature starting in Windows 7 and present all the way through Windows 10 that attempts to detect when a user is making or receiving a VoIP call. When the operating system thinks a call is being made, it automatically lowers the volume of other apps (or even mutes them) while the call is in progress. You know, the way you didn’t ever ask it to do.

Unfortunately, although this feature in and of itself is not an intrinsically stupid idea, it turns out that Windows is really, really bad at detecting whether something is a VoIP call or not. Multiplayer games that contain a voice channel, for example, often trigger the “feature”, as do outright VoIP apps like Skype or Google Hangouts. The real difficulty is that people using Skype or Hangouts or games usually have their relative volumes configured the way they want them configured when they start doing a chat. Microsoft is doing the equivalent of rearranging your desk for you “because I’m sure you want things to be organized”, right after you’ve just gotten everything the way you like it.

VoIP Call Headset

Agenturfotografin/Shutterstock

Thankfully, this immensely annoying feature can be easily disabled. All you need to do is launch your Control Panel or your Settings (depending on your Windows version) and head to the Sound configuration dialog.
Windows Control Panel Sound
In the Sound configuration window, click on the “Communications” tab. This is the location where this automatic reduction feature is configured.

Windows Sound Communications Reduce Volume of Other Sounds
By default, the option to “Reduce the volume of other sounds by 80%” is selected. Change this to “Do nothing” to effectively kill the feature. If, however, you actually find this feature useful, you can further refine it by having Windows only reduce the volume of other apps by 50%, or by having the operating system mute all other sounds entirely.

Want more control over your Windows audio experience? We’ve got the resources that you need!

We’ve got a guide to changing the startup sound in Windows 10.

Here’s our walkthrough for turning off notification sounds in Windows 10.

If your sound isn’t working, check out our article on fixing sound problems in Windows 10.

We can help you if your headphones aren’t working on Windows 10.

We’ll show you how to use hotkeys to adjust your volume in Windows 10.

 

30 thoughts on “How to Prevent Windows from Automatically Reducing System Volume”

Avatar D says:
If you have Dolby atmos running on your device problaby that is the problem. I run an audio album on smplayer while surfing internet. Immediatelly when leave smplayer window minimalize is you can hear the volume changes this is so annoying!. But when closed dolby atmos the automatically volume reducing was gone, and also my dynamic sound.

Having this problem in 2018 too and was gone for some months after doing a windows update and now it is back again. Have windows 10 laptop with dolby atmos.

Avatar Ilma says:
I had the problem of my Win 8.1 laptop continually turning down the volume on my Bluetooth comms headset when watching a TV program or film. Highly irritating to have to keep the sound mixer open and turn the volume back up every few seconds. This fixed it. Thank you.
Avatar jeff j says:
my volume lowers in discord when using it as voice comms for gaming. i already had the settings to “do nothing”. it still lowers my volume, sometimes it mutes. so its difficult to stay in touch with my team in game. i have to window out of game to readjust my volume far too often.
is there an actual fix for this issue? why hasn’t Microsoft addressed the issue, if its been ongoing for several years?
Avatar Nick says:
I have to flick the setting back to lower than back to don’t lower every time I open Skype, This setting is bugged and doesn’t “remember” the ‘Don’t do anything’ setting
Avatar Nick says:
I see the same behaviour it needs flicking of and on after every boot, useless and very annoying.
Avatar Steven says:
Didn t solved the problem, windows even lowers the volume when an npc speaks in the game, wtf, its not a phone call and even thats disabled. Disabled all recording hardware, just lowers the volume in games. Videos and music are good
Avatar Luis Manuel says:
Hello , I changed my USB headset to a different port.

Volume stayed in place.

Avatar Max says:
People switch to linux for Christ’s sake.
Avatar Ping says:
I solved it!
You have to disable all devices at “Recording tab”
Avatar JohnnyQ says:
That didn’t work for me. The volume control seems to include some kind of sensor that reacts to external sounds/non-attached input. I have a Toshiba Satellite, 2009, with Windows 10. It all works perfectly–except the volume isn’t stabilized. If I sit quietly and watch it long enough, it will eventually go from 100 to zero. I can speed up the process by the normal tapping of keyboarding, or by just tapping on the device itself, or sometimes the desk. Either way, I can’t do anything with sound without the volume reducing itself. None of these solutions has helped so far, because of the external factor.
Avatar Walter says:
windows is just plain stupid…. this is not rocket science… so far i found the easiest way to solve the problem is switch to a macbook
Avatar Asaf says:
disable you microphone! the only thing that worked for me!
Avatar JohnnyQ says:
That didn’t work for me. I have a Toshiba Satellite, 2009, and it works perfectly–except for the volume stabilization. If I sit and watch it long enough, the system volume will eventually reduce to zero, but tapping the keyboard in normal fashion or just tapping the unit itself will get a faster plummet. Nothing I’ve read and tried has turned this around.
Avatar Radoslav says:
PROBLEM SOLVED FOR ME WINDOWS 10 PRO
I went to Playback devices -> Speakers ( or whatever is your main device) Properties – > Advanced + Set the format to 24bit 44100Hz. I have unchecked both in the Exclusive mode
Than go to Recording Devices ( you can do this from the speaker section on the right bottom of your screen -> On Microphone right click and properties -> Go to Advanced and set Default format to 2 Channel, 16bit, 44100Hz (On recording device i left checked both in Exclusive mode)
***THAN RESTART PC***
After that you shoudve been fine ! Hope it works. Cheers!
Avatar K1du says:
Actually disabling Acoustic echo cancellation worked for me.
Avatar JT3 says:
Similiar kind of problem.
Okay so When im recording virtual instruments in a music program its really loud but clear . so now when i export music track and play in windows media player the song sounds low or kind of distorted …
Need help
Avatar DP says:
I found that going to Control Panel -> Sound -> Playback -> Right-Click Speakers and Hit Properties -> Enhancement Tab -> Check Loudness Equalization
I also did all the other settings mentioned. Unchecking Allow apps to take exclusive control and Do nothing in the Communications Tab
I hope this works for other people.
Thanks
Avatar Anna says:
I’m sorry this didn’t work for some others, but this is such a relief for me, thank you for the help!!! For months, maybe almost a year, my volume would do this sometimes and no matter what I did, nothing helped. It wouldn’t always decrease but it was very annoying when it did. I tried closing out the program using volume (usually Netflix) and sometimes that would work and other times it would just start gradually decreasing again.
When I went to try this to fix it, I knew it was probably the problem when it was set to decrease by 80% because when the volume decreased, it was go almost silent but I could barely hear it still.
Thank you for the help, I think the probably I’ve had for over a year is finally solved!!
Avatar José Pablo Sánchez says:
Ok guys, I think I fixed it for myself. I started having this issue as soon as I updated to Win10, and the solutions I was trying never worked for me (All the ones that have been listed earlier by other users) I already had the DO nothing”, and i had disabled all enhancements. Anyways, what i did was:
1-first open playback devices
2.go to the “Properties” of the laptop speakers (Mine is ConexantSmart Studio HD)
3. On the “General” tab go to “Controller Information” and click Properties again
4. Go to the “Controller” tab and Click “Update Controller” and just search automatically for the update.
5. Then it’ll start downloading and updating the drivers for the laptop speakers. You will need to restart the computer when its finished.
When it restarted it showed that the audio the whole time was lowered by 50%, and even though this bull*** keeps automatically lowering whatever device I plug into, now it doesn’t affect me much since I’m now able to dramatically increase the volume. Hope it works for you, hmu if you’re able to fix the autolowering thing.
Avatar RandomGuy says:
I finally fixed the problem for me:
Opening the Volume Mixer Panel in the Windows Sound Options made me realise, that i put firefox to 10% Volume and everything else was at 40%. After i put the firefox-sound to 40% as well, the problem was fixed and i had no problem with the sound getting lower randomly anymore.
Avatar some dude says:
I have found (by accident) an alternative solution that might work, depending on your hardware. I say “depending on your hardware” because i’m not sure if standard Windows 10 laptop speakers do come with Dolby Audio or it’s just mine.

Also, it might help if you do this while during a skype call, so you can notice right away if it works or not:

1. Go to Sound Settings (you can do this from your volume control icon on the taskbar)
2. Look for “Sound Control Panel”
3. in the “Playback” tab, look for your default speaker (Mine is Realtek High Definition Speakers) and click “Properties”.
4. Go to the “Dolby Audio” tab if available and click “turn on”.

you should notice changes immediately. at least i did. hope this helps.

Avatar rabbit says:
I did all that and it didn’t work for me. This is weird, but try unhooking your keyboard, waiting ten seconds, then plugging it in again to reinstall the driver.
Avatar Jordan says:
I know this is older, but in WIN 10, it kept turning the volume down for Spotify. I’d raise the volume and in 2 seconds, it dropped right back down. This solution fixed it for me! Thank you very much!
Avatar Overmind says:
Not working. Just another W10 over-emulation fail.
Probably will work only if you disable all mics.
Avatar Safety Bear says:
Solved it People. So if your bit rate is to high it steals from other programs. change yours to 24bit 44000 and it works make sure your mic is set too.
Avatar ClintJCL says:
Even when this is set, it still happens.
Avatar Rajnish says:
My Windows 10 is back to lowering the volume when I play movies. Pause and play the movie and volume is fixed, but withen 5 seconds the volume is back down again. Despite ‘Do Nothing’ still being selected.
Doesn’t matter what movie and doesn’t matter what media player I am using.
Please someone help me .I buy ny laptop just 5 days ago.pls pls pls help me
Avatar Knave_of_Trumps says:
I am trying to solve a related problem. I use a Windows tablet running ContaCam as a CCTV security monitor, with sound. When the screen turns off, the microphone mutes. The video keeps recording, on and off with movement detection, but there is no sound recording unless I configure the display to stay on. If I do that, I have issues with the battery running down. Is there a setting anywhere, maybe in the registry, to stop it muting the microphone?
Avatar Sakira Takari says:
Is there anyway to get it to stop lowering my media player’s audio when a webpage plays sound? I hear the notifications JUST FINE, WINDOWS. I don’t need you lowering my audio every two minutes when someone messages me back!
Avatar Erik Anderson says:
yeah, so I have the same problem, I went in and change it to “do nothing”……still doesnt work, also tried going to the so called “enchancements” tab but that doesn’t even exist…..so is there anything I can do? Im tired of my volume being lowered, this all started happening when I got some of the new updates for windows 10..
Avatar bdrigg says:
This trick did not work. However, when I disabled the external mic on my laptop – that did it.
Avatar Mircea says:
I love you :)
Avatar ForbiddenFlame35 says:
Well it works for now thanks
Avatar DreadedGhoul575 says:
This does nothing for me when playing games; I still hear loud noises going down in volume.
Avatar Raven2099 says:
didn’t do nothing
Avatar Raijin Lightnin' (LightingWolf says:
This is the 5th time im dealing this this crap.
I’ve put on ‘ Do nothing ‘ and have never taken it off it and yet it go down to the point where it might as well be mute…
Avatar Muddassar Nazar says:
I have window 10 dell 3541 laptop. I have seen auto reducing volume for few seconds problem. I have tried all method that update driver, window re-installed, go sound play back setting choose lower bit 16 bit rate and chose do not reduce volume. But my problem is as same. Please help me.
Avatar Tesla The Brave (Esminets) says:
This worked. Thanks! For those who are worried about their movie sounds lowering, that’s an entire different thing. If you read it instead of scrolling past the explanation and going right to the instructions, you would know that.

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