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Realtek Audio Problem after Updating to 1809

Windows provides regular updates that improve your PC performance and security. Although Microsoft attempts to ensure these updates do not create new issues, sometimes bugs and defective updates do go out with the release.

One of these was a Realtek audio problem after updating to 1809 release of the Windows Cumulative Updates (provided by Microsoft in 2018).

Realtek Audio Problem after Updating to 1809

Windows 1809 Update History

According to Microsoft, corrupted DNS (Domain Name Service) records from an external service provider marred the first release of the 1809 update.

However, since the first attempt to push the release in October 2018, two subsequent pushes also created issues, and enterprise users are now skipping this update entirely.

Instead, most commercial users will only update to 1903 (indicating a March 2019 release), and it appears as if Windows will follow suit, not requiring users to first update to 1809 before moving to 1903.

As non-commercial users have very little say in when to install an update, determining whether you’ve received the update will be the first step to correcting the issue.

Checking Your Windows Update History

  1. Hit the Windows key and type “update history” into the search bar, then select the top result.

View your Update History

Microsoft enforces automatic updates for Home and Pro Editions of Windows 10. Enterprise users have the ability to choose which updates to push to the company’s users.

While the enforced automatic updates mean some users already received the 1809 update, Microsoft disabled the push instructions for 1809 due to possible conflicts with the subsequent 1903 update.

What the above highlights for advanced users is the importance of regaining control over when you allow an update from Microsoft.

The issues with the 1809 update only came to light after multiple users experienced issues.

  1. Check your current update version by expanding the Feature Update section.

Feature Update

  1. If you are lucky, you will be running on the 1803 update released last spring. If you have the 1809 update listed, you’ll need to take further steps to correct the issue.

Checking the Latest Update Version

The above PC uses advanced settings to prevent any unmanaged updates from installing. This requires changing how your Services run in the background by modifying default settings, as well as changing some connection properties in Windows 10.

As Microsoft uses a new update distribution protocol for Windows 10 that utilizes your internet connection to deliver updates for other users, it is advisable to search for the steps and change your update settings accordingly.

If your latest update is the 1809 version, check for the new updates from Windows Update Settings window and install the 1903 version.

Updating to the 1903 Version of Windows 10

  1. From the Update History window, click on the Back Arrow to access Update Settings.

Access Update Settings

  1. On the Settings window, you can update to the latest version of Windows 10.

Update to 1903 Version of Windows 10

As indicated above, Microsoft is no longer pushing the 1809 update, opting to replace it with the 1903 version instead.

If you’re still running 1809, simply updating to the latest version can solve your Realtek Audio problem after the process completes.

It’s also important to note that Microsoft only supports a particular update for a predefined period before forcing all users to apply the latest version.

In this case, the current latest version does not contain any of the bugs that 1809 included.

  1. Download and Install the latest version. Windows will provide you with information about the progress of the download.

Update to 1903 Progress

  1. Once the update finishes downloading, Windows will automatically start the installation.

Installing Latest Windows Update

After the update completes, you’ll need to restart the PC to apply the latest features, which may take some time to finish.

Although you can rollback from 1809 instead of updating to the newer version, the backend support isn’t available for that version, and you’ll still need to update from 1803 to 1903 soon.

The 1903 update includes many new features, as well as fixing (and eliminating) the bugs that came with 1809.

Some of these new features include:

  • Pasting from the cloud using a multi-device clipboard.
  • Adding an emoji from your keyboard.
  • Synchronize key files to your Android phone.
  • New modifications for cursors and pointers.
  • Automatically backup specific folders.
  • Improved snipping with the new Snip & Sketch tool.

To see all the new features, click on the “See what’s new in the latest update” link.

This will take you to the Microsoft website with detailed instructions on how to use the new features.

See what's New in the Latest Update

Once you’ve completed the entire update process, you should test your Realtek Audio playback. The issue users experienced with update 1809 didn’t show up as device failures.

Instead, it only caused audio playback to create popping sounds from the speakers at random intervals.

That means the only way to verify the issue is resolved is to check the playback remains crisp over a consistent period.

The previous update did corrupt connected device drivers, and if the update didn’t automatically fix the issue, you’ll need to fix your Realtek Audio driver manually.

Fix Realtek Audio Drivers Manually

There are two different ways of fixing the Realtek Audio playback issue.

The first is to check for an update of the driver, and the second is to remove the current one and reinstall a new driver.

Updating the Realtek Driver from Device Manager

  1. To open device manager, hit the Windows Key, type “Device Manager,” and select the top result.

Device manager

  1. In Device Manager, scroll down to the “Sound, video and game controllers” and expand to see the “Realtek High Definition Audio” device.

Locate Realtek High Definition Audio Device

  1. Click on the icon using the Right Hand Mouse Button to open the context menu and select “Update Driver.”

Update Realtek Driver

  1. On the Update Drivers window, select “Search automatically for updated driver software” option.

Automatically Search for Updated Driver

  1. Windows will search the internet for the latest drivers.

Search for Drivers

If Windows does not locate any updated drivers and you’re still experiencing audio playback issues, it may be necessary to uninstall the device and let Windows reinstall it.

Uninstall and Reinstall Realtek Audio Device

  1. Once again, use the Right Hand Mouse Button to open the context menu and select “Uninstall Device.”

Uninstall Realtek Audio Device

  1. You’ll receive a prompt to remove the device. Tick the box to “Delete the driver software for this device” in order to completely remove the device and then click the Uninstall button.

Remove Device and Driver Software

  1. A window will show you the uninstallation process’ progress.

Uninstall Progress Bar

  1. Once windows removes the device, go to the actions menu in Device Manager, and select “Scan for Hardware Changes” to add the audio device.

Scan for Hardware Changes to Add Audio

  1. Note that Windows will add a Generic Driver for the High Definition Audio Device.

Generic High Definition Audio Device

  1. To install the correct device driver, use the Right Hand Mouse Button to open the context menu, and select “Update Driver” to download and install the correct software.

Update to Install Realtek Driver

  1. Select the “Search automatically for updated driver software” and let Windows download the correct driver and install the software. Once the software completes, you’ll have the correct Realtek High Definition Audio Device listed in Device Manager.

Issues Resolved with Realtek Audio

At this point, all issues with your Realtek Audio device should be resolved.

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