Ubuntu 10.04 Tip: How to fix Waiting for sound system to respond problem


When you have Ubuntu 10.04, and you login as root, you cannot change the sound volume or settings with the sound applet in the gnome-panel.

Go to System->Preferences -> Startup Applications

Make sure you're in the tab ‘Startup programs'

-> Click on ‘Add'

Name: Pulseaudio daemon
Comment: Start the sound daemon

Now logout, then login again

Via Ubuntuforum

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38 Responses

  1. Christoph says:

    Why do you log in as root in the first place? Usually gdm doesn’t allow it in the default settings and over all, why do you do it? It’s just a big security hole in your system!

  2. Don Birdsall says:

    There is already a startup entry titled “PulseAudio Sound System”. The associated command is “start-pulseaudio-x11”. For people who do not login as root, does this do something different?

  3. ben says:

    this didn’t solve the problem for me ๐Ÿ™

    anyone have other solutions???


  4. RawShark says:

    Are you experiencing issues with the sound system or just missing the sound applet? Check if Gnome Volume Control applet is included in the System -> Preferences -> Startup Applications. It is called “Volume Control” If not add it:

    Name: Volume Control
    Command: gnome-volume-control-applet

    After that, in either case, press alt+f2 type:


  5. Just don’t login as root, its unnecessary.

  6. ben says:

    nothing happens when i do: gnome-volume-control-applet

    Whatever I do I get the sound system waiting warning. I even purged, and reinstalled pulse audio, nothing. I also deleted the .pulse folder in /home – nada nada… anything I should try before re-installing ubuntu? ๐Ÿ™


  7. ben says:

    i should mention that sound works, its just the PA applet and the sound settings that don’t work. so for example, if i plug in my USB headset, it doesn’t switch to it like it used to. only speakers work

  8. Joe says:

    To all of you wussy users out that tell me not to run as root, you do what you want on your system, let “real men” do what we want on ours. sudo for wimps! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Joe says:

    It worked, thanks!

    I recommend the original poster add –start to the end of the command so that the service daemons itself, the switch will also prevent the command from launching multiple instances of itself.

    start-pulseaudio-x11 does not start the sound daemon, but it depends on the sound daemon. If the sound daemon is not running you will get the error message “Connection refused”.

    I tested as a non-root user and it indeed worked as expected. I’m not sure how the sound daemon is launched on a per user basis. I grepped in a few places for ‘pulseaudio’ /etc/ ~/* ~/.gnome2*, but found nothing of interest.

    “Real men run as root” – “Mohammed Ali”

  10. Joe,
    Running the desktop is not only unnecessary but unsecure. Running browsers and chat clients is particularly foolhardy. If a site you view has a malicious code or applet in it then it will inherit the access of the user launching the browser (root) and will be able to access the stuff it can to cause terror / duplicate / email forward etc. If yuo do this as a user then the app will only have write access to the users home directory and damage is minimised to the home directory. This is one reason why Windows users get so many problems, the default user model is Admin so thatt dumb users don’t have to sweat access rights. This does however mean that any virus in email / via jave / via flash can reek havok on the system as it has full access.

    root is also common on ALL UNIX systems, this is the first account an attacker will try to gain access to your system. If you have root enabled then the attacker must only guess the password, if it is disabled, the chance of guessing the password is 0% as the account is disabled. Using only usernames the attacker must also guess a valid username which could be ANYTHING at all and therefore more secure.

    Disabling root is just smart, it’s not about “being men” , its about keeping possible issue to a minimum. Having to type sudo for a small few commands fails into insignificance considering the extra security it gives the system.

    Idiots use root, smart people use sudo

  11. Joe says:

    Thanks ubuntugeek.com, your the best!

  12. Mr. T says:

    @Joe, I believe that it was Arnold Schwarzenegger that said “Real men run as root”, possibly in Terminator 4: Rise of the Windows.

  13. ursu says:

    ๐Ÿ™‚ this fix its a good one it work for me ๐Ÿ™‚ actualy its the same sound mixer from 9.10 but ๐Ÿ™‚ still worked

  14. ursu says:

    this fix its a good one it work for me ๐Ÿ™‚ actualy its the same sound mixer from 9.10 but ๐Ÿ™‚ still worked
    i have virtual box with winxp and i kind of like watching movies with subtitles under the ost and it sounded low . so now its high

  15. jeremy says:

    worked perfectly, thank you much!

  16. Dan says:

    This works but then Skype is borked…”pulse audio server- local” is the only option in skype, all of the other options that were there are gone….any suggestions?

  17. qu4ck says:

    Worked, Thank you

  18. alejorodri11 says:

    That works!! Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. prasun says:

    I have solved my problem using the method-
    delete .pluse from my home directory.
    then run /usr/bin/pluseaudio

  20. mx32 says:

    I had this problem. Was solved by installing pulseaudio (I do not know why it was not installed, the volume controls were working fine. I guess it was removed by accident)

    Used Code:
    sudo apt-get install pulseaudio

    and then followed the instruction posted above, but instead of entering the command:


    I used:


    because this was the original command in the “Startup programs”

  21. Lรฆirbag says:

    I don’t have an internet conection. So I can be a really Macho Macho Super Strong and Migthy Powerfull Man login as root when ever I want to hahaha…

  22. Marc says:

    Deleting (rm -fr) the .pulse directory in my home directory and restarting Ubuntu fixed it for me. I think my .pulse directory had gotten corrupted somehow.

  23. yes I'm a girl Ubuntu user says:

    Hey, I have the same problem…
    Does age count as a factor? I’ve tried the two startup apps suggested, and neither work. Could it be that my computer sound system is fried? You men are the experts, not me.

    My Latitude D630 is 2 years and one month old.


  24. Hasi says:

    Thx It works for me

  25. Thambi says:

    thank you very much dude, you saved my day.. i also had the same problem, but few days back, i intensionally removed pulseaudio, for installing JACK.. anyways, thanks for your suggestions

    cheers to open source software and it’s helping communities ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Openprivacy says:

    I had the same problem (no volume applet) and discovered a bug in my /etc/pulse/daemon.conf that I had recently edited to remove ratelimit.c notices in /var/log/messages

    I changed ‘log-level = normal’ to ‘log-level = error’ (line 49) and `/usr/bin/pulseaudio –start` worked – I now have a volume applet.

    Thanks for the hints, folk!

  27. sirisena says:

    This also works for ubuntu 11.

  28. flakefrost says:

    same thing with backtrack5 on my netbook lol

  29. ipsod says:

    I had the same problem, and fixed it by copying the ~/.pulse folder from another account.

  30. sheena says:

    reinstalling pulseaudio helped me

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