Volume controlling Judas, why have you forsaken me?
July 15, 2008 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Why would the mute button on my computer suddenly stop working?

Sometime during the course of yesterday, the mute button on my computer stopped working. I have a ~6 month old Lenovo/ThinkPad T61 running Vista, and I have had zero problems with it until now. The up/down volume buttons still work fine, and I can mute and unmute using the volume control in the system tray, but the ever-so-useful external mute button has just...stopped.

The computer hasn't sustained any physical trauma lately, and the only unusual thing I did yesterday was to completely uninstall and reinstall iTunes. Windows last installed updates two or three days ago, so I don't think any of those are involved at all as the problem just started last night.

Does anyone know why this would happen and how I could go about fixing it? I poked around on google, and someone on some forum a while ago said it could be a driver problem, but said no more than that.
posted by phunniemee to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Best answer: A lot of time, media keys likes that are actually handled by a separate program. Windows has support for handling them on their own, but if your computer came with something that processes them/allows you to configure them yourself, if that process isn't running, they'll (wait for it) fall of deaf ears.

Try a full reboot (actually shut down and restart) and see what happens. Still, the fact that your volume keys are working is a bit strange...
posted by disillusioned at 11:06 AM on July 15, 2008

Couple of options - if it's part of a programmable set of function buttons, the mapping may have gotten reassigned somehow. I know that different audio progs may sometimes 'override' the function of the audio-related buttons on keyboards - if i have two different audio apps open simultaneously, the play button only works for the most recently selected one. So perhaps iTunes hijacked the mute function and then didn't release it when it was first uninstalled? Possible solutions - un/reinstall iTunes with an earlier version, see if that fixes it. Do a system rollback to, say, a week ago, see if that fixes it. Scrounge around your vista system apps and see if there's a keymapping program that will either a) show you what function that button is triggering, if any, or b) allow you to custom-set your own function, and set the button to mute yourself.

The other side of the problem may be physical - you could have gotten some nub of crud into the keyboard workings that's gumming the key function. Try a can of compressed air first, barring that, you may need to remove part of the case to get at the underside of the keys. Not that hard to attempt, but definitely be sure of what you're doing before you attempt! May Void Warranty! And other warnings of that nature.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:11 AM on July 15, 2008

Response by poster: Gee, I feel dumb.

I had to restart, like, 4 times yesterday because of the music program retardedness, so it totally didn't occur to me to just reboot the damned thing.

All better now. Thanks.
posted by phunniemee at 11:33 AM on July 15, 2008

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