Reinstate audio function without reinstalling Windows?

Brass Contributor

Hello experts,


I have the following problem in Windows 10.


Windows says: "No Audio Output Device is installed."

Windows says: Speakers (High Definition Audio Device): "This device is working properly."



Can you guess what the problem is? Your guess is as good as mine. I have had this problem since April, after receiving an update. Microsoft knows all about it, I made sure to report all my findings back to the Feedback Hub. (I believe that update has been pushed back or withdrawn since.)


There are a number of things I have tried already to solve this, including the usual uninstall and reinstall of drivers, command line operations and doing in-place upgrade, none of which worked. The only thing that did work at one point, was using System Restore point (no pun intended). But that restore point was purged from the system apparently, during my troubleshooting and Windows Update's tendency to revert back all my changes because it kept installing that same updated over and over again, which not only caused me to lose audio but also caused my system to get stuck in a GSOD loop.


The only viable option I now have is to do a complete system reinstall to get the sound working again. Or! To purchase an external audio card and reroute the audio that way. I'm currently using the "SupremeFX" (Realtek for ASUS) chip that's built into the board.


But I'm curious to see what you experts would suggest? Is there a way to reinstate the audio function in Windows without reinstalling the entire system? I'm sick and tired of reinstalling Windows every time I run into more of a serious issue. Trivial issues are easily dealt with without reinstalling Windows, but not something like this I'm afraid. I'm still hopeful that there might be something I have overlooked, because I can't really afford to reinstall my system at the moment and I would rather not go out and purchase an external audio card to work around what is essentially a software problem in Windows.


Thanks in advance!


57 Replies
This topic appears to be related:

No Audio Output Device is installed

"Whenever I boot up My window. I get an error that no output device is connected. But i have connected speaker as well as headphone and I Fix it by entering in sound control panel and do a test analasis there then My speaker is working Fine. but after doing restart i again face same issue and i have to fix it manually again and again."

I honestly can't really tell if the original poster was able to resolve the issue, even if only temporarily by going to the Control Panel and then doing some kind of device test or something.

Also, the more advanced solutions that Kapil Arya suggested on his website were of no benefit to me. He's suggesting things like rebooting, uninstalling audio device driver (which can't be permanently deleted since it's a generic driver), checking Windows services that are required for audio function and so on. I have already done all these things.
Have you used the sound repair system tool?
did you actively participate during the operation of the tool - you need to approve the next steps during the repair?
Please reply - for me this controller works badly and sends wrong messages because everything works properly only messages interfere?



I have a question if you checked the protocol properties of the sound controller?

is it turned on properly and controller drivers - up-to-date?

Have you tried default settings and audio reset in advanced settings?

If by "sound repair system tool" you mean the "Playing Audio" troubleshooter in the Control Panel, then yes, I have ran that just before posting (it's in Kapil's blog). That did absolutely nothing for me. Other than point out the obvious: there is a problem with audio devices (as if I didn't know that already).

I never liked these automated troubleshooters, they never fixed anything for me. It's as if they are there just for entertainment. In this particular case, the troubleshooter suggests rebooting my computer (as if I didn't do that already a number of times before), and believe it or not but this is the "solution".

I understand it has "uninstalled and reinstalled" the driver in the background, but that merely disables and re-enables it, no driver is permanently deleted unless Windows is instructed to do so and that's only done with third party drivers not with Windows own generic drivers which is why that's not an option in Device Manager when manually uninstalling a driver (the checkbox in the dialog is missing).


Well, and the sound controller has it been checked?

Are the advanced sound settings > - are the default - or have the settings been reset?

I'm not sure what you're asking or where that is, so I will make a guess. I'm assuming you're talking about the Sound control panel applet. It contains no devices for Playback and no devices for Recording.


Playback: "No audio devices are installed"

Recording: "No audio devices are installed"




No audio device can be configured and no audio device properties can be viewed when no audio device exists (options grayed out).




Isn't it a task manager> device manager out there need to check protocol and properties and is the device enabled?




It was quite amusing to watch the "Playing Audio" reality show unfold.


Windows detected a problem: "There might be a problem with your audio device."

Windows suggesting a solution: "Restart your PC to finish installing drivers and updates" (and itself detected as a problem!!! 🤪).






It seems to think that a restart is the solution to the problem, so "apply this fix" simply means to restart the computer.  But it fails to do this on its own! :grinning_face_with_sweat: So it tells me "we've made some changes that should fix the problem, restart your PC for the changes to take effect". All I can do is click "Next" and then "Close", accepting that the PC must be restarted by me. This is so confusing it's out of this world! It's definitely not for people with a weak heart or easily irritated and with a short attention span.


Of course, I have restarted manually, but that did not solve the problem (I expected no more than that). The troubleshooter did provide a registry log, which to me at least is useless noise. But I will attach it for reference.


P.s. I take that back, because txt files are apparently not supported on this forum: "The file type (.txt) is not supported. Valid file types are: jpg, gif, png, mp4, doc, docx, ppt, xls, csv, ics, pdf, mp3, oft, zip, pptx, xlsx, .cqdx, accdb, xlsm, xlsb."


P.s.s. I have converted it to DOCX so everyone with Office installed can open it (sorry for any inconvenience).


P.s.s.s. Also, the troubleshooter is lying when saying that "at least one of these services isn't running". I assure you both Windows Audio End Point Builder and Windows Audio services are up and running. (I also made Plug and Play run on auto, as suggested in Kapil's blog post.)

Device is enabled, and Microsoft drivers are installed. But I just discovered something unusual under the Events tab. I have a number of "device not migrated" events. This may be related to the in-place upgrade I did earlier, but the time stamps are fresh so they must have been triggered by my recent reboots or possibly by running the troubleshooter.



Not migrated:

Device SWD\MMDEVAPI\{}.{4070709e-61f7-4cca-8c64-43115ebf1b35} was not migrated due to partial or ambiguous match.

Last Device Instance Id: SWD\MMDEVAPI\{}.{6C26BA7D-F0B2-4225-B422-8168C5261E45}
Class Guid: {c166523c-fe0c-4a94-a586-f1a80cfbbf3e}
Location Path: 
Migration Rank: 0xF00000000000F120
Present: false
Status: 0xC0000719
Congratulations you probably found the cause of the error!
now in this protocol turn off this device (make no wrong) then ask you to restart do it!
then go back to this place and turn on this device with this protocol!

I have disabled the device (SPDIF and analog) in Device Manager and I will reboot next.



Rebooted. Both devices are still disabled. What now? Enable it again?

I have "updated" the driver by manually selecting "Audio Endpoint" driver.




Both devices look "normal" now, and per usual I have no sound. So nothing was fixed.




Here you can see that the Windows Audio and Windows Audio Endpoint Builder services are both running.


Now I realize what you're asking. You want to look at the "controllers" group. Sorry! My mistake.


I have disabled and uninstalled (SPDIF and analog) output device, the webcam audio device, rebooted, then disabled HD Audio device in UEFI settings, saved changes, disconnected the USB cable for webcam, and booted up again. In the Device Manager image below what you see is "show hidden devices" enabled. You can see that a number of grayed out (hidden or ghost) devices appear, and no audio output devices appear, that entire group is missing (Windows is right for once).




HD Audio in UEFI enabled again, analog speakers connected, webcam disconnected, hidden devices in view.


Sorry but I can't be at the computer all the time, but I'm very glad you're doing a good job!
1 best response

Accepted Solutions
best response confirmed by SamirGunic (Brass Contributor)

1. Run the audio troubleshooter.


This is the easiest thing you can try. If your audio issue is deeply rooted, it will probably not be very helpful to run the audio troubleshooter. It can only fix the simplest possible non-issues such as if you have accidentally muted your speakers and you're unaware of it. In that case, this tool can unmute it for you.


I did not make this tool, so I don't know all of its capabilities. It could for example be able to restart and enable audio related Windows services, and that alone would make it worth a try.


Run control from the Run prompt to open the Control Panel.




Now follow this path.


Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Troubleshooting\Hardware and Sound




Click on the item that says "Playing Audio" and follow the instructions.

2. Ensure that audio related Windows services are running.


Run services.msc from the Run prompt and locate the following two services.


  • Windows Audio
  • Windows Audio Endpoint Builder

Make sure their Status is "Running" and their Startup Type is set to "Automatic".



3. Reinstall audio device and device drivers.


Open the Device Manager and locate the "Sound, video and game controllers" category and expand it to view audio controllers. Right click on each of them and then click "Uninstall device". If you get the optional check box "Delete the driver software for this device" be sure to check it before you click on Uninstall.






Note: You will have to download and reinstall the audio drivers, especially if you have selected to "delete the driver software for this device".


Go to Action menu, then select "Scan for hardware changes" to re-enable your audio device(s). You may need to reboot the PC, especially if you have selected to delete the device drivers in the previous step.

4. Restore system configuration using a System Restore point.


Run sysdm.cpl from the Run prompt to open System Properties and click on "System Protection" tab. Then click on System Restore, select "Choose a different restore point" and click Next. Then select a restore point whose creation date and time predates the audio issue you're experiencing. Don't select one that's too far back in the past as it could undo more system changes than you would want to.



5. Attempt to manually repair the Windows registry.


Have a look at one of these locations.


  • C:\Windows\System32\config\repair
  • C:\Windows\System32\config\RegBack


See if you have some files in there with names such as "SAM", "SECURITY", "SOFTWARE", etc. These are your registry hive files. These files contain all the important system configuration parameters and allow Windows to boot correctly, recognize and initialize your system devices. You can use these files in an attempt to repair your Windows registry using various tools Microsoft has released over the years, including RegEdit.




Note: The hive files your system is currently using are stored one level up in the System32\config folder.


Note: This is a very advanced topic, and I would advice against using these techniques if you don't feel comfortable with it. I would not only advice against it because it's an advanced topic, but because the chances of success are slim and you may be wasting your time on this. There is no single tool (to my knowledge) that Microsoft has released that can reliably repair a corrupted Windows registry. The best I know of is RegEdit, but you need to be running it on the system you are trying to repair, or know how to load and unload registry hives offline and make changes that way. It can get really tricky and it's a dirty solution.


Note: Starting with Windows 10 version 1803, Windows no longer uses the RegBack folder to store backup copies of its important registry hive files. This feature has been deprecated and this folder is no longer used.


Note: Don't fool yourself with registry repair tools. They don't do anything useful but make you feel good about your PC, making you think that you're doing something good for your PC. They belong in the same category as "PC Performance Boost" type of applications. There are dozens of these registry repair and cleaning tools on the web, and all they do is remove registry keys and values that are not of any concern to begin with. You can end up screwing up a perfectly healthy Windows installation by using these tools.

6. Do a so called "in-place upgrade".


This works by migrating the old Windows registry and all the registered devices and their drivers to a new Windows registry. The chances of a successful repair are higher here than doing manual registry labor. It depends largely on the state of the current registry and how badly it is corrupted.

7. Restore your system from a system backup.


If you have one, restoring your system state from a backup could be your first and last step you would need to do to recover from this kind of audio issue. If you don't have a backup solution already, you should invest some time in sourcing a backup solution that can create disk images or system images. I personally have a very good one, but this event with Windows Update and audio issues was set too far back in time for me to revert the changes using my system image, and I didn't attend to the problem at hand before it was too late.

8. Reinstall Windows.


As the last resort, if everything else fails, you can be sure that reinstalling Windows will most certainly resolve the issue. This too could be your first and last step you would need to do. The cost of reinstalling Windows is that you would have to restore all your files and applications. As I pointed out previously, your files should not be stored and living on your Windows partition in any case. Make it a habit to store your files elsewhere. The same goes for applications and configuration files. If you can install them elsewhere, do so. This will make you much better prepared to reinstall Windows whenever you run into some issue that you can't resolve. Reinstalling Windows fixes 99.99% of all issues with Windows.

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