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Exploring Realtek HD Audio Drive Failures and Common Fixes

Your standard Windows PC comes with the Realtek HD audio drivers automatically.

While part of the system, Realtek HD drive failures are common. In fact, after years of use, your PC may someday surprise you with a request to install the Realtek HD audio driver or give a drive failure error.

Luckily, the fix is easy and requires just a few troubleshooting steps.

Exploring Realtek HD Audio Drive Failures and Common Fixes

What is Realtek HD Audio?

Realtek HD audio driver failures and fixes are a typical Google search because Realtek itself is one of the most popular sound drivers.

With Realtek high-definition audio, you can utilize DTS, surround sound, and Dolby systems. Modern Windows PCs come with Realtek HD audio drivers and the audio manager system installed automatically, which allows you to tune your PC’s sound by the type of speakers you’ve installed and your sound preferences.

Realtek HD is a background Windows process, so you may see it any time you open the task manager, but it shouldn’t take up high CPU or resources.

If you experience Realtek HD audio drive failures, you have fixes available.

Manually Uninstall and Reinstall Audio Driver

The easiest solution to a Realtek HD audio drive failure is to fix with an uninstall/reinstall of the driver itself.

1. Open Device Manager

Use your Windows search icon on the taskbar and search for “device manager.”

Open Device Manager

The application should appear in the search results – click on Device Manager to open it.

2. Find Your Sound, Video and Game Controllers Section

Find the Sound, Video, and Game Controllers section of the Device Manager and expand it.

Sound, Video and Game Controllers Section

Expand the category and find your Realtek High Definition Audio driver.

Realtek High Definition Audio driver

3. Uninstall the Realtek HD Audio Driver and Do a Full Restart

Right-click on the Realtek HD driver.

Select Uninstall in the menu option.

Uninstall the Realtek HD Audio Driver

Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the uninstall. Windows will verify you are sure you want to install; click “yes” to continue.

The uninstall should take less than one minute.

Now, do a full restart of your computer for the uninstall to take effect.

4. Open Device Manager to Scan for Changes

Go back into your Device Manager.

At the top of your Device Manager, select the Action menu option.

At the top of your Device Manager, select the Action menu option

Under Action, choose the option to Scan for hardware changes.

System Devices

Windows automatically scans and detects the uninstall of your Realtek HD Definition Audio driver and prompts you to reinstall. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the reinstallation.

Now, do another restart of your PC, and you shouldn’t see the error message. If you do, continue to the next phase.

Driver Failure Might Require Fix to Microsoft UAA Bus Driver

Realtek High Definition Audio drivers have a known conflict with Microsoft’s UAA Bus Driver. If you haven’t disabled this before, it may be the root of your error

1. In Device Manager, Find System Devices

Go back into Device Manager.

This time, expand the menu for System Devices.

System Devices


2. Locate the Microsoft UAA Bus Driver for High Definition Audio

Look through the list for the Microsoft UAA Bus Driver for High Definition Audio. If you do not see it, you have already disabled it.

If you do see it under your System Devices, right-click on the driver and select Disable device.

disable Microsoft UAA Bus Driver

3. Go to Programs and Features to Uninstall Driver Conflicts

Now, head to Programs and Features in your settings, in Windows 10 it is labeled as your Apps & Features.

Find the Realtek High Definition Audio Driver in your list and select Uninstall.


Now, go back into your Device Manager, right-click the Microsoft UAA Bus Driver, and select Uninstall.

uninstall device

Do not restart your computer.

4. Reinstall Your Realtek HD Audio Driver

Now, reinstall the Realtek HD audio driver. Ignore any Windows pop-ups for “Found New Hardware,” as you should do this manually.

Once the reinstall completes, restart your computer.

Try Adding Legacy Hardware Instead

Sometimes the Sound, Video and Game Controller branch of your Device Manager goes missing.

If this happens, you must add it back (known as legacy hardware) before you can successfully reinstall your Realtek HD audio driver.

1. Go into Device Manager and Head to Actions

In your Device Manager, click on Action.

This time, you want to select Add legacy hardware.

Add legacy hardware

2. Follow the On-Screen Windows Prompts

The Add Hardware wizard will prompt you to find the right legacy hardware.

Follow the On-Screen Windows Prompts

Select the option to automatically search and install legacy hardware. Once the search finishes, you select the Sound, Video, and Game Controllers branch, and Realtek High Definition Audio Device.

select the Sound, Video, and Game Controllers branch

Install your Realtek HD Audio Driver, and it will automatically complete itself.

When Audio Drive Fails Replace Your Sound Card

Unfortunately, if the above fixes do not work for your Realtek HD audio drive failures, then the software is not the issue – instead, it is likely your sound card.

You can check by purchasing a replacement sound card, which is relatively inexpensive if bought online, and replace it in your PC’s case. If the error messages go away, then it was a sound card error.

A PC’s sound card is what lets you listen to music or sound from your computer. It takes the digital data out of your system and transforms it into sound waves recognized by your ears.

Your sound card delivers these sound waves through external headphones or speakers, and the card is located inside your PC case.

Update and Repair Realtek Drivers With Driver Support

As you can see, there are many steps to fix this standard error. One way to avoid these various steps is to download and utilize the beneficial properties of Driver Support.

Driver Support automatic fix

Driver Support’s software automatically inventories your computer upon installation, looks for active devices and their current drivers.

Once you register your Driver Support product, the program will automatically download and update drivers as they release – saving you the hassle of guessing which driver you need to download manually.

If there is an error with your Realtek High Definition Audio driver, Driver Support’s system detects it and will indicate the error with an exclamation point next to it.

From there, click on the driver and select Fix It! for the program to automatically locate the appropriate driver version and install it for you.

Instead of searching through Device Manager, finding drivers manually online, and hoping that you picked the right one, Driver Support takes only two clicks to update your Realtek HD audio driver and avoid conflicts in the future.

Since 1996, Driver Support has worked tirelessly to create a solution that is user-friendly and convenient.

When your computer has up-to-date drivers, you are working with maximum performance, and you will notice you have fewer conflicts or version errors.

Driver Support Can Troubleshoot Common PC Issues

Make driver issues a thing of the past. Download Driver Support’s application in one click, register your account and let the program do the work for you.

Even with registration, you can set the system to manually alert you so that you can approve each driver update for more control over how your system is handled.

Driver Support handles more than just Realtek HD – you can update, install, and repair any device driver, including the latest mice, keyboards, and external systems.

See how easy it is to fix Realtek HD audio drive failures and Give DriverSupport | ONE a try today! app on your Windows PC today.