I was listening to music, and my sound suddenly went dead in all my applications. I'm using Ubuntu 12.04, which uses pulseaudio, so I tried sudo /etc/init.d/pulseaudio restart, but nothing happened. According to lsof | grep pcm, nothing is using the soundcard at the moment, although I'm not entirely sure if my source for that command is applicable.

Is there a way another way to restart Ubuntu 12.04's sound system from the command line without rebooting the system?

  • This answer worked for me. askubuntu.com/questions/15223/… – rickfoosusa Aug 25 '14 at 23:58
  • I think the solution really depends on the computer you have and the ubuntu version installed on it. For me none of the 2 top answers worked. joeytwiddle's answer worked. I have a Lenovo Legion Y520 with Ubuntu 16.04: sudo pm-suspend is the only thing that worked for me. – Yoann Pageaud Sep 3 '19 at 13:05
  • This is NOT an answer to the question, however, this page show up in the top when searching for how to fix the sound in Ubuntu 18 and 19. When having trouble with the motherboard built-in Intel soundcard, this solution has worked for me: linuxuprising.com/2018/06/… Excerpt: Ubuntu 18: add "options snd-hda-intel model=generic" at the end of the /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf reboot Ubuntu 18, 19, 20. Kernel 5.3.0-41 and -42: Edit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf as root and add "options snd-hda-intel dmic_detect=0" Edit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.c – thomasa88 May 16 at 15:07

I've used pulseaudio -k && sudo alsa force-reload a couple of times, and it worked well. The first part kills pulseaudio, the second reloads ALSA. You don't need to restart pulseaudio, because it auto-restarts.

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    This helped to me to fix the issue 'no sound after suspend' I have suffered from for don't remember how long. – khustochka Aug 31 '13 at 19:19
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    Sometimes you might need to clear pulse config with "rm -R ~/.pulse*" before issuing any restart. – Radu Maris Sep 23 '14 at 11:33
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    It works for me after my USB headphone stop to work. – Felipe Oct 20 '14 at 22:47
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    pulseaudio -k saved my life ! no sudo needed – Aitch Apr 10 '18 at 21:15
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    still work in 18.04 – Fat Mind Jan 29 '19 at 18:34

What I do when my sound doesn't work is

killall pulseaudio

and then I press Alt + F2 and type in pulseaudio. It usually works for me.

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In my case there were nasty messages in kern.log / dmesg:

sound hdaudioC0D2: HDMI: invalid ELD buf size -1

The solution was simply to suspend and resume the machine!

$ sudo pm-suspend
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    i don't know what was going on, I also had a mike problem, reinstalled pulseaudio and alsa packages, but the sudo pm-suspend trick did it.... – vlad-ardelean Aug 11 '16 at 10:33
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    Battery died on my Dell, did all the above, tried this as a last resort and it worked! Thanks! – iLikeBreakfast Jan 9 '17 at 5:33
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    Same thing happened here - after battery died, headphones did not work after next boot. pm-suspend fixed it. – axel22 Aug 24 '17 at 16:29
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    In the last Wifislax(64 2.0)livecd -intoram. The 'mixer' dissapeared and OS sound got muted after all I've tryed all above none worked only this. – Tyþë-Ø Feb 11 '19 at 10:02
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    Does someone able to explain this behaiour? – 18augst Mar 12 '19 at 22:07

Just for completeness, in newer Ubuntus versions that use systemd, I used this and it worked well:

systemctl --user restart pulseaudio

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    this answer fixed my problem – Marlon Jun 21 at 17:23
  • So clean, love it! ✨ – pkoch Jul 4 at 14:12

Have you looked inside the folder to see if pulseaudio was available in init.d, try replacing pulse audio with alsa-utils

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FINALLY! This worked for me, and has worked repeatedly: https://askubuntu.com/a/221922

"Go in to the Preferences and switch the Output Module to ALSA audio output. Quit VLC & relaunch. It worked ok to me"

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