I have a Lenovo Y500 with Windows 8. I successfully got Ubuntu 12.04 installed alongside Windows 8 and the nvidia drivers just worked from the start. The sound wasn't working at all however, and although alsamixer was alive and well when I started out, I seemed to have completely destroyed it now.

I keep getting:

$ alsamixer
cannot open mixer: No such file or directory

Kernel version:

$ uname -a
Linux laptop 3.5.0-28-generic #48~precise1-Ubuntu SMP Wed Apr 24 21:42:24 UTC 2013 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

I've tried both of the following packages from https://code.launchpad.net/~ubuntu-audio-dev/+archive/alsa-daily/+packages:

oem-audio-hda-daily-dkms - 0.201305101424~precise1
oem-audio-hda-daily-lts-quantal-dkms - 0.201305101424~precise1

but to no avail.

This is the output of my alsa-info:


I've tried many other solutions as well but nothing seems to get alsamixer back, nevermind trying to get the audio to work again.

PS. when alsamixer was still working I did check the levels and it was not a case of the channels being muted.


  1. /usr/bin is in $PATH.
  2. no asound rc or conf files anywhere.
  3. alsamixer is in /usr/bin, can't run it as alsamixer, /usr/bin/alsamixer not with sudo, even after purging and re-installing alsa-utils.

Edit 2

$ ls /dev/mixer -l
ls: cannot access /dev/mixer: No such file or directory
$ ls /usr/bin -l | grep alsamixer
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root   root       65344 Mar 28 23:54 alsamixer
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root   root       61272 Dec 18  2011 gnome-alsamixer

Edit 3

$ ls /dev/snd -l
ls: cannot access /dev/snd: No such file or directory
  • Try to delete asound.conf file. May 13, 2013 at 13:58
  • @Radu I do not have a asound.conf file.
    – alecvn
    May 13, 2013 at 14:20
  • Those Unknown symbol errors indicate that you have installed drivers that do not match your kernel.
    – CL.
    May 13, 2013 at 14:24
  • @Radu Wow man this is a coincidence, I joined here actually to thank you for your guide on installing Ubuntu alongside Windows 8 but didn't have enough rep to comment! So, thanks!
    – alecvn
    May 13, 2013 at 14:30
  • Edit your question with the results of ls /dev/mixer -l and ls /usr/bin -l | grep alsamixer commands. May 13, 2013 at 15:07

4 Answers 4


I hit this error and solved it by adding myself to the audio group.

sudo addgroup <username> audio

Log out and back in, then test.

  • 1
    It might be enough to just run newgrp audio and log out && log in, at least within the same shell. Mar 25, 2015 at 21:40

Firts of all, you should check if you have /usr/bin directory in your $PATH in terminal with:

echo $PATH

If the $PATH is ok, check if alsamixer is there:

ls -l /usr/bin | grep alsamixer

If yes, try to run alsamixer like this:


If still doesn't work delete .asoundrc file (in your home directory) and /etc/asound.conf (if you have them) and reinstall alsa-utils:

sudo apt-get remove --purge alsa-utils
sudo apt-get install alsa-utils
  • 1
    I updated my question with the results. After reading your guide to installing Ubuntu alongside Windows 8 I have a lot of faith in you! ;D
    – alecvn
    May 13, 2013 at 14:49
  • Updated my answer again. On my other PC with Ubuntu 12.04 installed ls /dev/mixer -l doesn't show anything either.
    – alecvn
    May 13, 2013 at 16:32
  • Marking this as the solution as it brought me to the final conclusion.
    – alecvn
    May 14, 2013 at 9:16
  • 1
    Radu, thank you very much. The simple checks and your if/else guide was spot on. The final solution (purge and install again) resolved a 3 week long issue I was struggling to resolve. So nice to see alsamixer again. Thanks.
    – James
    Feb 16, 2015 at 17:03

I had the same problem and it happened while the sound card (ALC662) was disabled in BIOS. Enabling it, allowed me to start alsamixer. I hope it helps.

  • Could you explain it a bit more and maybe add screenshots?
    – user45853
    Mar 17, 2014 at 21:11
  • This might have helped, however I just re-installed and started over.
    – alecvn
    Mar 18, 2014 at 10:00

For me using the -c parameter worked

alsamixer -c 1

but I'm on 16.04

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