Sunday, August 30, 2009

Live Messenger And The Default Communications Device

Discovered something else totally cool about Windows 7 (and probably Vista though i havnt tried it on there).  For audio playback devices there are two default settings:

  • Set as default device - Audio from all programs will be played through this audio device unless otherwise configured
  • Set as default communications device - All calls and video call audio will be played through this audio device unless otherwise directed

Turns out that messenger falls into the second category.  If you make a video call or voice call through messenger it will direct to the default communications device not the default playback device.  What this means, if you are using bluetooth headphones or similar, is that the sound will still go to the speakers unless you configure it to use your headphones.  Doing this is very easy:

  1. Shut down messenger if it is running
  2. Connect your bluetooth headphones or plug in your wired headphones
  3. Right-click the speaker icon in the system tray and select Playback devices to display the following dialog:image
  4. You will see the top item is my bluetooth headphones – they are currently set as the default playback device automatically when connected by the BlueSoleil software i am using
  5. Right-click the bluetooth/wired headphones and select Set as default communication device.  This will cause all communication audio (ie - Live Messenger calls) to redirect through the headphones when they are connected
  6. Click OK to save the changes
  7. Restart messenger and make a call.  The audio will now go through your headphones

Note that it is necessary to restart Messenger for these changes to take effect.  If Messenger is running and you make the change it will continue to use the speakers until you do so.


Michael Anderson said...

What if you only want to assign different applications to different devices at the same time? Like: If you want to have the sounds from one browser on your headset, while sounds from another browser on speakers?

Adam said...

Micheal: I guess you're shit out of luck. ;)

Ben Pierce said...

And what if you have plug-in headphones but bluetooth speakers, and plugging in your headphones doesn't initiate them?