We had a curious case at work with one Dell workstation losing audio out of the internal speaker last last week and then subsequently losing audio out the headphone jack as well early this week. Running through all the diagnostics available - drivers, bios, Dell pro-boot diagnostics - there was definitely a hardware issue. So the motherboard was replaced under warranty. With a fresh driver reinstall to go with the new audio chip on the new board, we only got the headphone audio back. Speaker to be replaced.
Tonight I did the two Windows updates for this week:
- 2020-01 Cumulative Update For Windows 10 v1909 (KB4532695)
- 2020-01 Cumulative Update For .Net Framework 3.5 and 4.8 for Windows 10 v1909 (KB4534132)
After which point, I lost audio from my primary motherboard audio. Doesn’t seem to be coincidence since both cases it is Realtek HD Audio. In the case of VLC media player, it would play video with no sound. iTunes would load media (video or audio) showing on the “Now Playing” bar up at the top but but not start playing (timer stuck at 0:00) unless I exited and picked another playback device (iTunes still doesn’t have device changing while running…). Other media programs would fail to load the media files, or start playback with generic failure messages.
I have since reinstalled the Realtek HD Audio drivers for my motherboard via ASUS’s website and have my audio back. I figured it would be worth notifying the community that if after this weeks updates your audio suddenly seems to die, that the case may be a incompatibility between your audio driver version and the new Windows’ updates.
Windows 10 Pro users - if you cannot get a new enough working audio driver from your motherboard manufacturer, you should be able to roll back the update and then turn on the delay-mode to hold off on new updates for a couple months (the maximum it allows). You can do this under Advanced Options from the Windows’ update menu. Select Pause Until date or use the Deferral options just below which are under Choose when updates are installed.
Windows 10 Home users you are pretty much stuck, as you cannot disable updates.
For either version of Win10, I recommend getting the newest audio driver you can, hopefully before Window’s updates itself. Other audio devices such as USB headsets and the audio output via NVidia graphics cards (HDMI, Display Port, DVI) is NOT affected, at least for my system.