"Rename audio devices" with the Windows 11 logo.
Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Whether it’s for productivity or pleasure, a PC running Windows 11 can be used as your primary source for music, video, television, podcasts, training videos and education. However, Windows 11 and Windows 10 tend to identify the audio devices used for multimedia presentations with cryptic manufacturer numbers and port identifiers — not always the best for user experience.

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A much better user experience would be a system that allows “Speakers VS278” to be renamed “Favorite Bluetooth headphones,” or something similar. Microsoft Windows 11 does allow users to rename audio devices so they can be easily identified and chosen from a list of available devices, but to get to those settings, we must work our way through a confusing network of Windows 11 menus.

Rename audio devices to recognizable names in Windows 11

Two steps are required to see the list of currently available audio devices connected to your Windows 11 PC. First, click the speaker icon located in the notifications area of the taskbar (Figure A).

Figure A

Click the speaker icon located in the notifications area of the Windows 11 taskbar.
Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Now, to see the actual list of available audio devices, click the speaker icon to the right of the volume indicator (Figure B). For our example, we have three devices listed, but it is possible your system may list several more.

Figure B

The actual list of available audio devices on the Windows 11 device.
Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

To change your current audio device, choose and click another device on the list. To choose properly, you must first be able to decipher and distinguish which audio device is which. Renaming audio devices to better describe them would be helpful.

With the list of audio devices open, click the More Volume Settings button at the bottom of the list to reach the Settings screen shown in Figure C.

Figure C

Sound settings under the Windows 11 System settings.
Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

As you can see, the list of audio devices provides a minimum of amount of information:

  • Device 1 is the internal laptop speakers.
  • Device 2 is a pair of headphones.
  • Device 3 is the HDMI/Display Port output.

To rename the devices to something more descriptive, click the arrow icon for the device to reach its detailed Properties page (Figure D). For our example, we are renaming the headphones.

Figure D

Rename option under the sound device settings in Windows 11.
Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

The final step is to click the Rename button under the name of the audio device on this Properties page and provide a new name. Click the Rename button to apply your new name, which will now be displayed whenever you display audio devices in Windows 11, as you can see in Figure E.

Figure E

The renamed audio device under the Sound settings in Windows 11.
Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic


From now on, when you display your audio devices in Windows 11, you will be presented with a list that is descriptive and meaningful, allowing you to make a quick and easy choice on which device you would like to use. This is particularly helpful when you have connected more than one pair of headphones or more than one set of speaker systems to your computer. Windows 11 PCs used as media players are notorious for this scenario.