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Laís Carvalho
Laís Carvalho

Posted on • Updated on

Ubuntu SILENT! But not so silent O.o

My laptop decided to not to have any sound. My fresh Ubuntu 20.04 installation still does not account for my Bluetooth headphones (any tips to connect Jabra devices to Linux? Seems like the saga has millions of followers).

On an attempt to add their MAC address to the sound configuration of the laptop (my personal way to scream "YOU WILL CONNECT BECAUSE I AM THE HUMAN AND I TELL YOU WHAT TO DO!" to my PC), I messed up the entire sound configuration and lost not only sound but video and audio devices. A total messy mess!

nervous laughing at computer

So here is the tutorial about how to undo your booboo if by any chance you edit more files than you bash knowledge can chew.

  1. Keep an eye on your error logs, one of them told me there was an invalid command on my config file. Read, cd into the MOFO, and fix it! Error messages are there for something.

What brings me to...

  1. DO NOT indiscriminately EDIT files from /etc/.... Keep in mind that if things go South, it might be required to reset your entire machine. If you happen to change a lot, try and keep notes on an editor describing your steps. Worst case scenario, they can become a blog post in the future, or not. The goal here is to learn to document your booboos.
  2. If you happen to be in Ubuntu 20.04 and someone is telling you to edit /etc/asound.config run away from there because this file does not exist on your version. On 20.04 the equivalent is called /usr/share/alsa/pulse-alsa.config. I've 'edited' asound.config and broke it. Don't be like me!
  3. If you also edited ~/.asoundrc and is currently staring at a Dummy Sound, which is ironically silent on your Settings window, come with me and let's fix this.


Delete the files that you know you've edited and are now troublesome. In my case, I had to delete ~/.asoundrc and /etc/asound.config. Both initially did not exist, but I thought I would create and edit them, just to make more difficult to debug later on. #sillyme

Once they have been deleted, go to your terminal and type:

systemctl --user mask pulseaudio.socket #restart pulse auto-starting
systemctl --user stop pulseaudio
pulseaudio -vvv
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

This will prompt the system to rebuild the config files. It should work! :)

In case your audio is still not alive after this, you could try the instructions in here, it gives some great suggestions.

That's all then, folks!

Good luck and stay safe! Most importantly, don't forget to KEEP AWAY FROM /etc/ files if you don't know your way.

I think I've learned my lesson for now :)

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