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How To Open Playback And Recording Devices In Windows 10 1803

Since the day it rolled out to the general public, Windows 10 has been moving settings from the Control Panel to the Settings app. It’s been slow going with the occasional problems, accidentally dropped features that had to be added back later, and duplication of settings between the two apps. With Windows 10 1803, the Sound options have been moved to the Settings app and you can now set an audio device for an app. You can access the sounds panel in the Settings app by right-clicking the sound icon in the system tray. This panel doesn’t have the same playback and recording devices settings that the Control Panel did though, which was kind of useful.

The good news is, you can still access the playback and recording devices settings in Windows 10 1803. There’s actually two ways to do that; one lives in the System tray as it’s always done and the other is of course via the Control Panel.

System Tray

On older versions of Windows 10, if you right-clicked the sound icon, both playback and recording devices were listed in the context menu. Those options are gone now but you can still open playback and recording devices from this same menu. All you have to do is click Sounds.

It opens to the Sounds tab. You can switch to the Recording or the Playback tab.

Control Panel

The setting  can also be accessed from the Control Panel though Windows 10 doesn’t make it easy to access the Control Panel anymore. That said, the easiest way to open the recording and playback devices window is through File Explorer. In File Explorer, enter the following in the address bar.

Control Panel\Hardware and Sound

This will open the Control Panel where you have to click ‘Sound’.

This settings panel shows you devices that are disconnected or that have been disabled. It’s a crucial setting so it can’t be made inaccessible for a while, and not without an alternative. The Sound panel in the Settings app is more basic and deals with only the devices that are both connected and enabled.

For now, the only thing that’s been lost is a more direct way to open these settings. There is one extra click involved now so it’s not a big deal. The real problem is that the menu makes it seem like the option is gone. It also doesn’t do a good job of differentiating between Sound Settings and Sounds. This is something Microsoft seems to do often and it’s more or less another oversight on the company’s part.


  1. Unfortunately, microsoft removed device options present before: My Behringer UCA222 e.g. is now only available as a microphone device. the normal stereo line input device is gone!

  2. Thanks, I was hoping someone had found a workaround to get it to go to the Playback tab always. I’ll keep looking.

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