Switch between Speakers and Headphones in 1 Click

Isn’t it always the smallest things that create the biggest irritations? Things like a  dripping faucet, a creaking stair step, or Windows forcing you to send your mouse through a maze of menus just to switch audio output between the speakers and the headphones! Aren’t Windows’ developers smart enough to come up with a toggle switch between the two outputs? Apparently they’re not. But luckily for us, Dustin Wyatt is.

Wyatt’s the creator of Soundswitch, a free and simple program that lets you  switch from one sound output to another by tapping a hot key or by clicking a tray icon.

Counting sound devices

Count your sound devices, top to bottom. Note mentally the numbers of the two you want to control with a software switch. (Don't really draw red circles on your monitor.)

Download Soundswitch at , and unzip the file into whatever directory you want. That’s all there is to installation except for going into a config.ini file with a text editor to make a few changes. One is to tell Soundswitch which sound devices you want to switch between.

But first click the loudspeaker in the Windows system tray and click open the playback devices’ dialog box. Right click on any of the devices listed there and make sure that both “Show Disabled Devices” and “Show Disconnected Devices” are checked.

Changes to .ini file.

Edit an .ini file to let the program know what devices to control.


Close the box that has those two options by clicking outside it. Now count your output devices, including disabled and disconnected, and remember the numbers of the two you want to be able to switch between. In the example here, I need to control a set of speakers in position 4 and the headphones at 5.


Add those numbers to the “Source1=” and “Source2=” lines, and that’s it. You can do more by assigning hot keys to switch the sound sources and set up a bunch of controls you’ll never use.  Just save the .ini file, run switchsound.exe, and the icon you see to the left will appear in the system tray.  Next time the family’s yelling at you because your speakers are too loud, just click the icon and don your headphones. When everyone’s gone, another click will bring you back into full-blast rock ’n’ roll glory.

Soundswitch works with Vista and Windows 7. There’s an older version for XP.



  1. buddy

    how do i toggle between my headphone with the speaker attached to the monitor

    in order to listen to the headphone the monitor speaker has to be given in the input, i guess

    any solution

    • Ron White

      Sounds as if you’d go into the Sound dialog box and note the plae number of the monitor speaker and that of whatever other source you want to switch with and put those place bnumbers into the ini file. Play with it.

      • Eric Wood

        Do you know how to get it to bind to a macro key?

    • johnny

      I don’t know why one would want to go through all this. On my acer laptop, when you plug in the headphones, it automatically disconnects the speakers. My Dell XPS 400 Desktop has front & rear speaker jacks. The rear are hooked to amplified speakers & when I plug headphones into the front jack it automatically shuts them off. Don’t all computers do this?

      • Ron White

        You’re partially right, Johnny, but you have the advantage of using a laptop–and one that is thoughtful enough to turn off the speakers when you plug in the headphones. Not all computers do that. (I don’t know how many, but I’m using one of them right now.) The other advantage of a laptop is that the headphone jack is easy to get to. On desktop PCs–many of which are actually under-the-desktop PCs, it’s not so easy. I have to get down on my hands and knees to plug in the headphones. On older PCs, the jack may be at the back of the computer, just to make things harder still.
        I’m an idealist. If there’s a theoretical way in which I can be lazier, then I believe it should exist in reality also.

  2. johnny

    I see. The reason my desktop may do this on it’s own is because it has fancy sound card installed in one of the PCI slots.

    I also agree totally with your last statement.

  3. Ron White

    At times we must suffer on behalf of our perfections.

  4. David

    This would be a great solution for me, very frustrating having to plug/unplug headset from back of my PC. However, when installed and running, all I get is the icon, flashing alternately with a red “X”. If I right or left click on the icon, I get 2 menu items – “Script Paused” with a check mark next to it, and Exit. I cannot uncheck it, so unfortunately my only other option is to exit!

  5. Ron White

    Hi, David…. I’m going to take a guess: In the .ini file, you didn’t check the boxes to show disabled and disconnected devices. That could throw off your numbering.

  6. David

    Hi Ron, thanks for the suggestion. Yes that would be the obvious answer wouldn’t it – but no, I’m at that sad age when I actually RTFM these days :(

    In the end, I just put a shortcut to mmsys.cpl on my quick launch bar. That brings up the list and I switch the default. Not ideal, but only a couple of clicks.

    • Benjamin Connell

      Yeah, I ended up doing that, thanks for the tip David! I also changed the icon from that horrible bolt on a page to a speaker and double quaver.

  7. Clint

    Hi Ron,

    Just wondering if my only option is to purchase a swtich for both headphones and speakers to plug into.

    I currently pull my pc tower out to and switch the plugs over. I do have a front audio jacks, but it appears they dont work correctly. When gaming the people I play with tell me that they have to mute me because of feedback and interference. This doesn’t happen when i plug into the back.

  8. Jim

    I got this to work (Version 2.03) only by NOT showing hidden hidden & disabled devices, and also only by using the hotkey (clicking on the icon in the tray gives the flashing red X). The default hotkey in the default .ini is ctl-ALT-F11 (SwitchDevice).

  9. Jim

    P.S. I’m running Windows 7 x64

  10. Munson

    Me to and It works great!!!!!!!!!!THANK YOU!!!!!!!

    • Steve Krause

      You bet! Welcome to groovyPost.

  11. Ernie

    This looks to be an ideal solution for me, but when I have installed the program and try to run it I get an error “Error setting SwitchDefault to ^!{F12}”. If I replace the “^” with “Ctrl+” and the “!” with “alt+”, the program appears to run, with the icon in the system tray, but the hot keys do nothing. But Shift c swaps the output. However I am unable to use a capital c.

  12. Omri Rosen

    is there a way to hide the little windows appears when switching device?

    • Neo

      I would love to know this as well. Often i need to do this when i have full-screen windows open, and having them drop back to desktop only to have to fullscreen them again almost defeats the purpose – though it is still quicker.

      Any ideas?

  13. Mark Ruggiero

    Hi guys I’m just finding this little program but can’t get past the ini file. No matter what i set the shortcuts to i get an error msg saying “cannot set xxx to yyy”. So I change the default in the file to something different and it trips over the next shortcut in the list. If i change them all it goes back to the first one again with the error. If i comment them all out it tells me that the ini file can’t be found in the installations directory. Running win7pro. Any thoughts?

  14. James

    im having an issue starting sound switch it says “errir setting SwitchSpeakerCount to ^!{F9}”

  15. James

    Your software really works for me, i am running a win 8.1 64bit, so it seems a little problem when open the .exe directly. When press Ctrl Alt F11, the audio menu was there, yet with a bing red X window. But it goes all fine when i change the compatibility to win7.

  16. Andrew

    I got this to work in windows 10 by UNCHECKING ‘show hidden hidden’ & ‘show disconnected devices’. I also have to run the program in Windows 7 compatibility mode, and can only use the hotkeys (Ctrl Alt F11 is the useful one by default). Clicking on the icon just pauses it.

  17. Eileen

    I have windows 10 and I just can’t get it to work….

  18. Jayme

    I did get this useful widget working on my spare Win10 64-bit box. After tweaking the ini as described I had a few issues. My eventual config was as follows:

    – UNcheck the two “Display…” settings in the Playback Devices window.
    – Set the .exe to run in Win7 compatibility mode.
    – Use Ctrl-Alt-F12 (default) to switch between devices. The docs seem to suggest that F11 should do this. But that’s what worked for me.

    Notes: Although the system works (yay!) it does chuck the UI for the Playback Devices up on the screen as it steps through the changes. It is removed afterwards though. A “silent” option would be great!

    Going through the setup options triggered various playback device testing until I got the right combo above.

    I hope helps someone.

    • Jayme

      EDIT for clarity:

      The two UNchecked settings in the Playback Devices should be “Show Disabled Devices” and “Show Disconnected Devices”.

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