Sometimes we need to keep an audio device enabled, even if we don’t want to listen to the audio from it. This is not convenient if you use a keyboard shortcut to switch between audio devices quickly.
Windows do not offer a way to hide audio devices from the taskbar without disabling them, but you can easily fix this using SoundSwitch. This app allows you to change only between selected audio devices with a shortcut.
Here is how to do it:
- Download SoundSwitch and install it on your PC.
- On the taskbar notification area, right-click on the SoundSwitch “headphone” icon and select Settings.
- On the playback tab, select the audio devices you want to toggle between by clicking on the checkbox next to it.
- Now check Hotkey enabled so you can use the hotkey to change between the selected audio devices (You can also edit the shortcut if you prefer.)
The unused audio devices not selected in SoundSwitch will keep enabled unless you manually disable them on Windows sound settings.
If some of your audio devices are unnecessary, you can also choose to disable them in Windows. So only the useful audio devices will be listed on Taskbar.
How to Hide Audio Output Devices by Disabling Them in Windows 10/11
If you use a keyboard macro to switch between devices and only need to disable unused audio devices, you don’t necessarily need a third-party app.
You can disable these devices directly in Windows by following the steps below:
- Enter Control Panel on Windows Search and click on Open.
- On Control Panel upper-right corner, change View by to Small icons.
- Click on Sound.
- Under Playback, right-click on the audio device and click on Disable:
- Right-click on the Start Menu icon and select Settings.
- Click on Sound.
- Under Output, click next to the audio device you want to disable.
- Then under General, click on the Don’t Allow button:
Currently, Windows does not have a built-in way to hide enabled audio devices, but you can quickly fix this with the app SoundSwitch.
With SoundSwitch, you can set a hotkey to change only between selected audio devices.
To set a different hotkey to each audio device, check the second half of our article on how to create a hotkey to change audio output in Windows.
If you are having audio issues with your devices, check my article on how to update multiple drivers at once.