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

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.


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


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


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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