So I’ve been running the Windows 7 RC for awhile, but I haven’t really been playing many games. I’ve started playing TF2 again with my brother, and I noticed that every time I loaded the game any music I had playing in Windows Media Player, or even my Ventrilo volume would drop extremely low. It was quite frustrating as I could no longer hear my brother in Ventrilo over the volume of the game I was playing.
I spent a little time looking into the problem and it all came down to the same source as the culprit, Windows 7. It turns out that Windows 7 has a new feature that when it thinks you’re communicating with someone, ie. voice chat in TF2, it automatically reduces volume of all other applications by 80% as a default. You can change this by going to Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Sound -> Communications. You have the option to mute all other sounds, reduce the volume of all other sounds by 80%, reduce the volume of other sounds by 50%, or do nothing. I personally have chosen to have Windows 7 do nothing.
If you happen to like this feature and want it to happen most of the time you can always open your game or communications software first, and then open your other application, such as Windows Media Player or TF2, and it won’t modify the volume. I hope this helps those of you out there experiencing the same problem.