Jul 7, 2015

Windows 10 Build 10162: Working around the audio issue

Personally, I think Microsoft is screwing up this release.

It's all about making money with the Windows Store and release the unfinished OS as fast as possible.

So close to RTM, Windows 10 suffers from an annoying regression bug in its audio subsystem.

Yep, it IS a bug, and it is not related to the SMALL changes in the audio subsystem.

The default audio stream format registry data is corrupted when:

  • Speakers configuration is changed;
  • Default format is changed to a different sample rate;
  • Some audio enhancements are enabled (rarely).

As the format becomes invalid no audio is played back and Windows reports a "Failed to play test tone" error in Speakers test.

To workaround this, just play with the bit depth.

Everytime time you change the Speakers configuration or the Sample Rate (regardless of the bit depth), change the default format to a different bit depth while keeping the same sample rate.

If the current bit depth is 24-bit, change it to 16-bit, then change it back to 24-bit. Make it sure the sample rate is always the same. The other way round is also valid (16-bit -> 24-bit -> 16-bit).

When you do this, the default audio stream registry data is corrected.

If the audio is working you can change the bit depth with no harm.

Example 1 - Current format is 16-bit, 48000 Hz and you want to change it to 24-bit, 96000 Hz.

  • change to 24-bit, 96000 Hz, click on apply.
  • change to 16-bit, 96000 Hz, click on apply.
  • change to 24-bit, 96000 Hz, click on apply.

Example 2 - Illustrated guide for those not tech savvy.

  • Realtek HD Audio driver's default format is 24-bit, 44100 Hz.
  • Open the Playback devices.
  • Double-click the Speakers device (Realtek High Definition Audio).
  • Click on Advanced tab.

  • Change it to 16-bit, 44100 Hz (CD Quality):

  • Apply the change:

  • Now restore the default format back to the desired format:

  • Apply the change and click the Test button. Now it works!

Edit: the issue was fixed in build 10166 and 10240.

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