There are times that we need to mute our computer audio instantly. The problem is we still have to click on the volume icon to select mute. There are 3rd party freewares to automate the task but it would be much better if you can do the native way in windows – using keyboard hotkeys.

This guide is applicable with 32-bit Windows XP and Vista. Download first the NirCmd utility. Extract it in a folder and copy “nircmd.exe” (executable) and place it anywhere in your system e.g. “C drive“. We’ll now  create the hotkey.

1. Right click on your desktop and select New>Shortcut.
2. Type in the path of the nircmd utility and append “mutesysvolume 2“.  This will let you toggle to mute and unmute the audio. Click on the image for a larger view.

Mute audio hotkey

Mute audio hotkey

3. Click Next and give the shortcut a name. Leave it on your desktop.
4. Right click on the shortcut and select Properties. Place your cursor on the Shortcut Key field and press Ctrl and select a character e.g. “M“. From there, you may also change the icon. Click the image below for a larger view.

Hotkey properties

Hotkey properties

5. Click OK for the settings to take effect.

Test your hotkey. Play an audio file and press the hotkey – in this guide it’s Ctrl+Alt+M, to mute the audio and press it again to unmute.

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