Having to boot into Windows to get sound working in Manjaro

Sometimes when I boot into Manjaro I have no sound (or the sound is barely audible) even though everything appears to be configured correctly. This has happened a few times but it doesn’t happen that often. Restarting doesn’t fix it, the only way I can get sound working again when this happens is to boot into Windows 10 (I have dual boot). Once Windows 10 loads I get some sound crackling for a second and then I can reboot into Manjaro and the sound works again.

This makes no sense to me and I can only think that something must be getting messed up at a hardware/firmware level. I have a Creative Soundblaster Z which I know isn’t great on Linux as I had a lot of issues getting it to work in the first place.

There is alot stuff missing in your post.

Did you setup the volume controls in Linux? How much percent?

Try to play with alsamixer in terminal… possible that could help.

My sound is set up correctly in Linux and everything works perfectly most of the time. Every couple of weeks or so I will turn on my computer and I randomly have no sound even with the volume at max, but none of the settings have changed (I took screenshots of everything). I check all the usual things in PulseAudio, AlsaMixer, etc. and everything is configured exactly as it was before.

On the times when I have no sound I’ve been through everything in AlsaMixer, turning options on and off, restarting my computer, nothing. The only way to fix the sound seems to be booting into Windows. I don’t even do anything in Windows, I just boot to the desktop and then restart straight away. Then I boot back into Linux and all the audio settings are exactly as they were when it wasn’t working, except now it works. It’s really weird.

I almost never use Windows for anything these days, I only boot into Windows when I’m having audio problems because it’s the only way I’ve found to fix it.

Okay thats strange, i had a Creative X-Fi that was working flawless in Manjaro, but the soundcard got a little defect so i switched to a Creative AE-5 few month ago… i have sound distortion issues in Windows when i first boot in Linux and after a warm switch in windows the sound distortions make this soundcard useless till i booted a second time in Windows again… but this problems that you have is a total differend story.

There must be something with a window driver that do something with your soundcard? Is this problem always there after a cold linux boot?

Most of the time it works fine after a cold Linux boot but sometimes it doesn’t, it’s completely random.

I had a lot of problems getting the sound to work when I first installed Manjaro. I had to use a program called HDA Jack Retask to set the ports in Alsa for my sound card so I could get any sound at all.

I still have some occasional issues, like sometimes when I minimize a window it will mute just that application so I have to go into the audio settings and unmute it again. I also get some occasional audio lag in some applications but it’s not too bad.

Seriously there must be something wrong with your Soundcard… which Kernel are you using?
Maybe a driver bug. But anyways, this random problems really looks like a Hardware problem to me.

My Creative X-Fi was even working Out of the Box with just a live disc boot from usb stick.
I really can recommend my AE-5 Soundcard, but try to get the older version not the Plus Card
with the Dolby License, because its only working with 5.12 Beta Kernel.

If you can get a used X-Fi its even better working.

I’m using the 5.9.16-1 Kernel, I guess I could try one of the others but I don’t want to risk messing anything up now I’ve got it (mostly) working.

You could already run into issues… 5.9 is out of Date and unsupported and is no LTS Kernel… if you don’t like the rolling release, like i do… you can stay with 5.10 till end of 2022 or try the older LTS 5.4.

Its possible you run into problems when updating now, because you stayed to long with 5.9 :frowning:

If you update, just use Timeshift… if something went wrong, you can rollback.

I haven’t been using Linux for that long and I still don’t really understand how it works with updating Kernels. I assumed the kernel would be updated when I updated everything else if it needed to be but it sounds like that’s not the case. Is it because I’m not on an LTS kernel?

I will give 5.10 a try later tonight as I’m working at the moment. I use Timeshift so I should be able to roll it back if there are problems.

In Windows :

disable fast startup


disable secure boot
disable fastboot
disks on AHCI
no legacy
no CSM
UEFI only


I had the same update problems, few month ago.


Offtopic: This not helps with your soundcard problem but usefull information about updates, i created another Topic with this problem that i had few month ago, im sure it will help you to understand more how Linux/Manjaro Kernel update works.

Any updates?

You have to change the kernel in Manjaro Settings Manager

See what kernels are available and choose the one you want running

Check this thread too


Sorry for not replying sooner. I have upgraded the kernel to 5.10 and it has fixed the problems I was having with audio lag in some programs. I haven’t had the problem with losing sound since changing to 5.10 but I can’t say for sure if it’s fixed yet as it didn’t happen every time.

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