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.


Marshall said...

Thank for all you have done with the creative drivers.

Just a question. When i try to use Asio, windows freezes. I have to manually reboot.
Any thoughts?

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel_K,

(NB: I am a Microsoft employee)

Thanks for posting this workaround. I agree with you that audio has been a rough ride, in part due to our work on the audio stack and in part due to ongoing driver problems. Hopefully we've got most of the stack issues worked out now (build 10166 should fix this particular problem) but we are still waiting for drivers from Creative, among others.

Though I've never been in touch with you directly, I know from the Windows Insider forums that you've really helped a lot of the Insiders with their Creative issues. Thanks a million for doing that!


John Wink
@johnwinkmsft on Twitter

ElekZik said...

Thanks, you saved my gaming evening !

Anonymous said...

You're a genius and the only person I've found to have figured this out. Thanks for the many years of solid drivers.

Daniel Kawakami said...


Glad to be of help.


Daniel Kawakami said...


What is the model of your sound card?

Juanita Bekker said...

Thank you so much, this was the only thing that helped. Thank you so much

Marcelo Ruggeri said...

I love you, man!!!!
I went crazy after it :\
You saved me

Toby Meyer said...

Thanks much for publishing your findings Daniel and great analysis!