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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How To Remove PulseAudio on Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat)

Many of you may have encountered issues with PulseAudio. In my case I have sound problems with PulseAudio in Skype. Here is a quick way to remove PulseAudio.

In terminal type:

sudo apt-get purge libcanberra-pulse pulseaudio pulseaudio-esound-compat pulseaudio-module-bluetooth pulseaudio-module-gconf pulseaudio-module-udev pulseaudio-module-x11 gstreamer0.10-pulseaudio pulseaudio-utils pavucontrol 

This will remove PulseAudio from your system and it will also remove your volume applet on your top panel.

We can get back the volume applet and make the function keys work again by doing this:

Go into System>Adminitstation>Software Sources>Other Software Tab>Add

Paste this into the APT Line: ppa:dtl131/ppa

In terminal type:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install gnome-applets gnome-media gnome-settings-daemon libcanberra0

Restart your computer.

Right click on the top panel, click Add to Panel choose Volume Control and add it.

That´s it, we removed PulseAudio and restored your volume applet and function keys.


Click Here!
Saúde said...

After 2 days trying figure out what's wrong with my microphone I give up from Ubuntu in a Toshiba laptop.

On my Asus netbook, Ubuntu works great with microphone but not in Toshiba.

Now, I will give a try on the Toshiba following your tutorial.

Thanks a lot.

Me said...


Have you tried searching in The Ubuntu Forums? There are a lot of threads regarding mic issues on Toshiba. Maybe you can find a solution there.

Shade said...

Or, you could avoid this entirely just by using the pasuspender command. It suspends PulseAudio and halts it, also handing over control of ALSA to whatever app you launch using it. This also means that, just like removing PulseAudio would incur, only one app will be able to use your audio hardware at any time if you have a cheap audio chipset.

Λύκινος said...


I followed your instructions on a fresh Ubuntu 10.10 installation (problems with pulseaudio, for example microphone crackling in skype). Everything went fine, except for one thing: after restart, I could not find "volume control" in the "Add to Panel" menu.

Also, there is no more Sound Preferences entry in System > Preferences. I have updated the system and added the ppa:dtl131/ppa to the software sources.

Any idea what I may be doing wrong?

Me said...

check in synaptics if gnome-applets, gnome-media, gnome-settings-daemon, and libcanberra0 are updated with the PPA's versions, if not then you need to upgrade it manually. restart and it should be there. sometimes it needs a few restarts to appear. its done that to me also.

Λύκινος said...

Thank you,

With PulseAudio I had problems with the microphone. In every other aspect it worked fine but that was unacceptable for skype. Now everything seems to work fine except some applications (dosbox and scummvm) that do not have sound at all. I tried to naively uninstall and reinstall them but that did not work. I managed to install dosbox by compiling from source code and finally it did work (so I now have sound with dosbox). I will try to do the same with scummvm later.

I wonder:
Since I only wanted to use alsa with skype, was there any less drastic measure to bypass pulseaudio only for skype? I tried hard to do that (e.g. pasuspend did not work, just killed all sound in skype) before, in infuriation, I took this drastic measure of removing pulseaudio, but I failed.
Is what I have done (removing pulseaudio) revertable?

projectmoon said...

For some reason, apt-get did not pick up on the fact that I removed the PPA and wouldn't let me replace the audiohacks versions with the mainline versions.

It is revertible, although I had to download a few deb files from Launchpad directly because I didn't feel like removing the gnome-settings-daemon (which would have removed a bunch of other stuff).

Remove the PPA and then reinstall the relevant .deb files from Launchpad. I only resorted to this because aptitude reinstall didn't work for me. Maybe I just did it the reinstalls in the wrong order. Perhaps you could get it to work with aptitude reinstall. Certainly is more elegant than downloading the .deb files manually.

Me said...

You can re install pulseaudio in synaptic or in ubuntu software center. With the problem with skype sound, the only thing that worked was to remove completely pulseaudio.Even if you have alsa installed skype won't use alsa. It still wants to use pulseaudio if it sees that it is in your system.

You could have used the force version option in synaptic so you wouldn't be downloading .deb files.

Rand Aijala said...

I tried this, but now all my music players play an infinite loop of the last half second of sound instead of pausing. It happens in exaile, banshee, and rhythmbox. I dont get it...

Me said...

sorry but I haven't the slightest clue why it should affect your music players like that. It was just supposed to replace the sound server output. It should have not affected the playing capability.

Unknown said...

Thanks a lot for the post. It saved my day. Skype works perfectly now. However, my major issue after removing pulseaudio is that the sound stops working completely after I switch between user accounts on my laptop. Any solution for that?

Unknown said...

I have tried this method on 11.04 and now cannot get the volume control back to the panel.

Me said...

I have not checked with 11.04 yet. have you tried the add to panel option? right click on the top panel and select add to panel then find volume control.

Sorry haven't checked switching user accounts but it should not have affected it.

Me said...

upgrade the gnome-applets-data then restart. right click panel, add to panel, add volume control.

Anonymous said...

On 11.04 works perfect. No application for video or music is affected. Skype also works perfect!
To add "volume meter" to panel you need first upgrade "gnome-applets-data" and restart. Many thanks for your tutorial.

Hidra said...

Well, on 11.04 with Unity, my volume control is gone (and I can't find a way to restore it... Can't "right click on the panel"). My only option is to rollback to Ubuntu classic. =/

Hidra said...

I installed the indicator-sound again (which depends on pulseaudio) and Skype microphone stopped working... again.

So, I had three options:

1 - Skype 100% working, but my system without a sound applet (and without a GUI way to switch between my sound devices);
2 - Skype 50% working (with no microphone... which makes it useless), but the rest of my system working like a charm;
3 - Accept the fact that Ubuntu isn't for human beings yet and switch back to Windows when I need to use Skype.

I choose the third option for now...

Me said...

11.04 is still buggy for now and I'm not sure if this is because of the hardware you have or not. @Paul got it working on his so most probably it is hardware. I myself have no problem with Pulseaudio in one of my laptops (MSI) but on my EEEPC Skype and Pulse don't interact well together.

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