How do I get sound working in older versions of Ubuntu

Upgrading the firmware should fix the sound issues in Ubuntu 14.04.

Since publishing my post on how to install Ubuntu 15.04 on a Toshiba Chromebook 2, some commenters have pointed out that sound is not working on Ubuntu 14.04.

Thanks to a comment left by Nate and testing by Mitchell, getting sound working on older versions of Ubuntu is actually quite easy.

The key is to upgrade the firmware in Ubuntu 14.04 to the firmware used in 15.04:

  • Uninstall the current firmware by typing sudo apt-get purge linux-firmware_xxx, where xxx is your current firmware version. You may find that Ubuntu finds nothing but it’s still worth checking.
  • Download the new firmware from the Ubuntu website and install the .deb file (if you double click on it, it will open in the software installer).
  • Reboot and follow the sound fix instructions in the original post of installing Ubuntu on a Toshiba Chromebook 2.

The sound should work after a reboot. I hope this helps you 🙂


    1. It’s a system update that breaks sound, I assume it’s driver related. On a clean install of 16.04, as long as you don’t update, sound will work. That’s the best I have for the moment, but plan to troubleshoot when I get a chance.

  • Not sound related but as of this am 3/11/16 after ubuntu software update tracking pad not at all working on my Toshiba 2. Usb mouse working fine but no track pad. If you hear of a fix would appreciate the share. Thanks!

    1. Hi John,
      I have just tested by doing a clean install of Ubuntu Gnome 15.10 and after the update the trackpad stopped working. The kernel version was 4.2.x so after updating the kernel the trackpad works.
      Go to and download 3 files linux-image-4.4.5-040405-generic_4.4.5-040405.201603091931_amd64.deb, linux-headers-4.4.5-040405_4.4.5-040405.201603091931_all.deb and linux-headers-4.4.5-040405-generic_4.4.5-040405.201603091931_amd64.deb. Install them in that order and reboot.

      1. Hi There,

        Im a bit new to all this, have followed everything and fixed sound after intalling ubuntu 14.04. However, after doing an update trackpad and sound have stopped working.
        When you say install the 3 files above – how do you do it? I appreciate that seems like a stupid question but im not massively confident with this system and dont want to screw anything up.
        Any help massively appreciated.

        1. Oops, I was just trying to install them in the wrong order! All fixed and working, thanks for the guide, very helpful!

  • Ok I repeated the process step by step, Extracted the file in archive manger, checked to make sure it was in the downloads folder, repeated the terminal commands and when I enter the replacement file command I still get this > sudo cp ~/Downloads/asound.state /var/lib/alsa
    cp: cannot stat ‘/home/john/Downloads/asound.state’: No such file or directory
    I also replaced Trusty Tar with 15.10 to see if that would help. Apparently I bungled something in the original attempt to get the sound working, probably not anything in your guide that will fix that. Either way, enjoying Ubuntu on my Chromebook with or without sound. Thanks for responding!

  • Sound not working here either, every time I enter the command it gives me this back> Unloading ALSA sound driver modules: snd-hda-codec-hdmi snd-hda-intel snd-hda-codec snd-hda-core snd-hwdep snd-pcm snd-timer (failed: modules still loaded: snd-hda-codec-hdmi snd-hda-intel snd-hda-codec snd-hda-core snd-hwdep snd-pcm snd-timer).

      1. Getting closer it seems. I followed the video to a T and when I enter the last command I get this> john@john-Swanky:~$ sudo cp ~/Downloads/asound.state /var/lib/alsa
        [sudo] password for john:
        cp: cannot stat ‘/home/john/Downloads/asound.state’: No such file or directory

        Thanks so much for the reply. I also get an internal error message when I reboot, don’t know what that’s about. Thank you!

    1. See here for firmware versions in Trusty Tahr. If it can’t be found when you do the purge, it’s ok to install the new version, doing the purge is just a precaution.

      1. The system is working great, but I still can’t get the sound to work. I know that I’m running 14.04, and I’ve tried several times to replace the ALSA file etc… I don’t think I’m properly installing the firmware.
        When I go to the link for the new firmware there is a bunch of stuff I don’t understand, but I can a link and download the .deb via FTP. Once I have that, the Ubuntu installer seems to know what its doing (and apparently I’ve installed it). Still, rebooting and swapping the ALSA file then rebooting doesn’t give me sound. The firmware download page seems to recommend installing via apt-get, but it doesn’t say what the thing is in apt-get install . Please help! This is driving me crazy!

        1. Ok let’s retrace our steps 🙂
          To see if the firmware has installed try:
          dpkg -l ‘linux-firmware*’
          It should show linux-firmware_1.143.6, if not try installing it like this:
          sudo dpkg -i ~/Downloads/linux-firmware_1.143.6_all.deb
          The next step is important, if the audio services don’t stop sound will not work:
          sudo alsa force-unload (you can see this in my video at 2:17)
          Move the file asound.state to /var/lib/alsa. When you download the file it is in a zip file (unpack it and move it to your Downloads folder (in the video at 2:03)
          sudo cp ~/Downloads/asound.state /var/lib/alsa
          Let me know how you get on.

          1. I got it! Silly mistake really: I had asound.state in the right place and all, but the default setting was to go through headphones instead of the speakers!
            Thank you Captain, my Chromebook is now a real computer!

  • Hello Cap! I have tried the solution in the main post, and also in the G+ Community, but i can’t make the sound work in Ubuntu 15.10 ( 64 Bits ) .. i have the swanky Toshiba Chromebook 2 model. And everything is in spanish. Is there maybe a way to “downgrade” the audio settings and drivers to 15.04 ?

    1. In Ubuntu 15.10 the sound will work there’s no need to downgrade to previous versions, make sure you follow step 5 in this post carefully.

  • Thank you very much. I continued with the rest of the tutorial on step 5, and got it working. When I did my installation I followed the link to this page, but got it working now… thanks

  • ok, I’m running lubuntu 15.10, and I’m not getting any sound when playing youtube in browser. Is there anything I need to installed. I did apt-get update && apt-get upgrade, but still no sound. Is there any 3rd party plugins?

    1. If you’re running lubuntu 15.10 you don’t need to follow the info on this page. Follow step 5 in my main guide for fixing the sound. If you’ve already done that go to sound in settings and while playing something in YouTube check to see if sound is on mute for that application.

  • Great post Captain! Wish I had seen it when I was on 14.04 on my CB2. Sound has been working flawlessly since I updated to Xubuntu 15.10. However, the microphone isn’t being detected. Was it working for you? Or did you have to fix it? Any help would be greatly appreciated as I’m a bit lost.

    1. I just noticed the mic doesn’t work as well (although I’m pretty sure it worked in Ubuntu 15.04), l’ll have to do some investigating…

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