Universal Windows Drivers for Audio - Windows drivers (2023)

  • Article
  • 8 minutes to read

In Windows10 you can write a universal audio driver that will work across many types of hardware. This topic discusses the benefits of this approach as well as the differences between platforms. In addition to the Universal Windows drivers for audio, Windows continues to support previous audio driver technologies, such as WDM.

Getting Started with Universal Windows drivers for Audio

IHVs can develop a Universal Windows driver that works on all devices (desktops, laptops, tablets, phones). This can reduce development time and cost for initial development and later code maintenance.

These tools are available to develop Universal Windows drivers:

  • Visual Studio 2015: Set "Target Platform" equal to "Universal". For more information about setting up the driver development environment, see Getting Started with Universal Windows Drivers.

  • APIValidator Tool: You can use the ApiValidator.exe tool to verify that the APIs your driver calls are valid for a Universal Windows driver. This tool is part of the Windows Driver Kit (WDK) for Windows10, and runs automatically if you are using Visual Studio 2015. For more information, see Validating Universal Windows Drivers.

  • DDI reference documentation: The DDI reference documentation is updated to indicate which DDIs are supported by Universal Windows drivers. For more information, see Audio Devices Reference.

Create a Universal Audio Driver

For step-by-step guidance, see Getting Started with Universal Windows Drivers. Here is a summary of the steps:

  1. Load the universal audio sysvad sample to use as starting point for your universal audio driver. Alternatively, start with the empty WDM driver template and add in code from the universal sysvad sample as needed for your audio driver.

  2. In the project properties, set Target Platform to "Universal".

  3. Create an installation package: If your target is device running Windows10 for desktop editions (Home, Pro, Enterprise, and Education), use a configurable INF file. If your target is device running Windows10 Mobile, use PkgGen to generate an .spkg file.

  4. Build, install, deploy, and debug the driver for Windows10 for desktop editions or Windows10 Mobile.

    (Video) How to Download and Update Realtek HD Audio Driver on Windows 10/Windows 11

Sample Code

Sysvad and SwapAPO have been converted to be Universal Windows driver samples. For more information, see Sample Audio Drivers.

Available Programming Interfaces for Universal Windows drivers for Audio

Starting with Windows10, the driver programming interfaces are part of OneCoreUAP-based editions of Windows. By using that common set, you can write a Universal Windows driver. Those drivers will run on both Windows10 for desktop editions and Windows10 Mobile, and other Windows10 versions.

The following DDIs to are available when working with universal audio drivers.

  • Audio Drivers Event Sets

  • Audio Drivers Interfaces

  • Audio Drivers Property Sets

  • Audio Drivers Structures

  • Audio Topology Nodes

  • High Definition Audio DDI Reference

  • Port Class Audio Driver Reference

Convert an Existing Audio Driver to a Universal Windows driver

Follow this process to convert an existing audio driver to a Universal Windows driver.

  1. Determine whether your existing driver calls will run on OneCoreUAP Windows. Check the requirements section of the reference pages. For more information see Audio Devices Reference.

  2. Recompile your driver as a Universal Windows driver. In the project properties, set Target Platform to "Universal".

    (Video) How to Download and Update Realtek HD Audio Driver on Windows 10 or Windows 11

  3. Use the ApiValidator.exe tool to verify that the DDIs that your driver calls are valid for a Universal Windows driver. This tool is part of the Windows Driver Kit (WDK) for Windows10, and runs automatically if you are using Visual Studio 2015. For more information, see Validating Universal Windows Drivers.

  4. If the driver calls interfaces that are not part of OneCoreUAP, the compiler reports errors.

  5. Replace those calls with alternate calls, or create a code workaround, or write a new driver.

Creating a componentized audio driver installation


To create a smoother and more reliable install experience and to better support component servicing, divide the driver installation process into the following components.

  • DSP (if present) and Codec
  • APO
  • OEM Customizations

Optionally, separate INF files can be used for the DSP and Codec.

This diagram summarizes a componentized audio installation.

Universal Windows Drivers for Audio - Windows drivers (1)

A separate extension INF file is used to customize each base driver component for a particular system. Customizations include tuning parameters and other system-specific settings. For more information, seeUsing an Extension INF File.

An extension INF file must be a universal INF file. For more information, see Using a Universal INF File.

For information about adding software using INF files, see Using a Component INF File and DCH Design Principles and Best Practices.

Submitting componentized INF files

APO INF packages must be submitted to the Partner Center separately from the base driver package. For more information about creating packages, see Windows HLK Getting Started.

SYSVAD componentized INF files

To see an example of componentized INF files examine the sysvad/TabletAudioSample, on Github.

File nameDescription
ComponentizedAudioSample.infThe base componentized sample audio INF file.
ComponentizedAudioSampleExtension.infThe extension driver for the sysvad base with additional OEM customizations.
ComponentizedApoSample.infAn APO sample extension INF file.

The traditional INF files continue to be available in the SYSVAD sample.

(Video) How to Install Genuine Dolby Digital Drivers in Windows 10, 8, 7

File nameDescription
tabletaudiosample.infA desktop monolithic INF file that contains all of the information needed to install the driver.

APO vendor specific tuning parameters and feature configuration

All APO vendor system specific settings, parameters, and tuning values must be installed via an extension INF package. In many cases, this can be performed in a simple manner with the INF AddReg directive. In more complex cases, a tuning file can be used.

Base driver packages must not depend on these customizations in order to function (although of course functionality may be reduced).

UWP Audio Settings APPs

To implement an end user UI, use a Hardware Support App (HSA) for a Windows Universal Audio driver. For more information, see Hardware Support App (HSA): Steps for Driver Developers.

Programmatically launching UWP Hardware Support Apps

To programmatically launch a UWP Hardware Support App, based on a driver event (for example, when a new audio device is connected), use the Windows Shell APIs. The Windows 10 Shell APIs support a method for launching UWP UI based on resource activation, or directly via IApplicationActivationManager. You can find more details on automated launching for UWP applications in Automate launching Windows 10 UWP apps.

APO and device driver vendor use of the AudioModules API

The Audio Modules API/DDI is designed to standardize the communication transport (but not the protocol) for commands passed between a UWP application or user-mode service to a kernel driver module or DSP processing block. Audio Modules requires a driver implementing the correct DDI to support module enumeration and communication. The commands are passed as binary and interpretation/definition is left up to the creator.

Audio Modules is not currently designed to facilitate direct communication between a UWP app and a SW APO running in the audio engine.

For more information about audio modules, see Implementing Audio Module Communication and Configure and query audio device modules.

APO HWID strings construction

APO Hardware IDs incorporate both standard information and vendor-defined strings.

They are constructed as follows:

SWC\VEN_v(4)&AID_a(4)&SUBSYS_ n(4)s(4) &REV_r(4)SWC\VEN_v(4)&AID_a(4)&SUBSYS_ n(4)s(4)SWC\VEN_v(4)&AID_a(4)


  • v(4) is the 4-character identifier for the APO device vendor. This will be managed by Microsoft.
  • a(4) is the 4-character identifier for the APO, defined by the APO vendor.
  • n(4) is the 4-character PCI SIG-assigned identifier for the vendor of the subsystem for the parent device. This is typically the OEM identifier.
  • s(4) is the 4-character vendor-defined subsystem identifier for the parent device. This is typically the OEM product identifier.

Plug and Play INF version and date evaluation for driver update

The Windows Plug and Play system evaluates the date and the driver version to determine which drive to install when multiple drivers exist. For more information, see How Windows Ranks Drivers.

To allow the latest driver to be used, be sure and update the date and version, for each new version of the driver.

APO driver registry key

For third party-defined audio driver/APO registry keys, use HKR.

(Video) How to Install Audio Driver Windows 10 (Official Dell Tech Support)

Use a Windows Service to facilitate UWP <-> APO communication

A Windows Service is not strictly required for management of user-mode components like APOs. However, if your design includes an RPC server to facilitate UWP <-> APO communication, we recommend implementing that functionality in a Windows Service that then controls the APO running in the audio engine.

Building the Sysvad Universal Audio Sample for Windows10 Desktop

Complete the following steps to build the sysvad sample for Windows10 desktop.

  1. Locate the desktop inf file (tabletaudiosample.inf) and set the manufacturer name to a value such as "Contoso"

  2. In Solution Explorer, select and hold (or right-click) Solution 'sysvad' , and choose Configuration Manager. If you are deploying to a 64 bit version of Windows, set the target platform to x64. Make sure that the configuration and platform settings are the same for all of the projects.

  3. Build the all of the projects in the sysvad solution.

  4. Locate the output directory for the build from the build. For example it could be located in a directory like this:

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\src\audio\sysvad\x64\Debug\package
  5. Copy the following files to the system that you want to install the sysvad driver:

TabletAudioSample.sysThe driver file.
tabletaudiosample.infAn information (INF) file that contains information needed to install the driver.
sysvad.catThe catalog file.
SwapAPO.dllA sample driver extension for a UI to manage APOs.
KeywordDetectorAdapter.dllA sample keyword detector.

Install and test the driver

Follow these steps to install the driver using the PnpUtil on the target system.

  1. Open and Administrator command prompt and type the following in the directory that you copied the driver files to.

    pnputil -i -a tabletaudiosample.inf

  2. The sysvad driver install should complete. If there are any errors you can examine this file for additional information: %windir%\inf\setupapi.dev.log

  3. In Device Manager, on the View menu, choose Devices by type. In the device tree, locate Microsoft Virtual Audio Device (WDM) - Sysvad Sample. This is typically under the Sound, video and game controllers node.

  4. On the target computer, open Control Panel and navigate to Hardware and Sound > Manage audio devices. In the Sound dialog box, select the speaker icon labeled as Microsoft Virtual Audio Device (WDM) - Sysvad Sample, then select Set Default, but do not select OK. This will keep the Sound dialog box open.

    (Video) Optimizing your Windows Computer for Audio

  5. Locate an MP3 or other audio file on the target computer and double-click to play it. Then in the Sound dialog box, verify that there is activity in the volume level indicator associated with the Microsoft Virtual Audio Device (WDM) - Sysvad Sample driver.


How do I fix my audio driver glitch? ›

Hardware problems can be caused by outdated or malfunctioning drivers. Make sure your audio driver is up to date and update it if needed. If that doesn't work, try uninstalling the audio driver (it will reinstall automatically). If that doesn't work, try using the generic audio driver that comes with Windows.

How do I download Conexant audio drivers Windows 10? ›

Install the Conexant Audio Driver
  1. From Start, search for Device Manager.
  2. Select Sound, video game and game controllers.
  3. Right-click the Conexant Audio Driver and select Properties.
  4. From the Driver tab select Update Driver.
  5. Browse my computer for driver software and install your downloaded Conexant driver.

How do I fix generic audio driver detected? ›

Method 2: Update Your Audio Drivers

msc" and then click "OK". Step 3: In the "Device Manager" window, click on "Sound, Video and Game Controllers" to expand it and then select the outdated driver. Step 5: When the update is complete, restart the computer and hopefully the problem should be gone.

How do I manually update my audio driver? ›

Update the device driver
  1. In the search box on the taskbar, enter device manager, then select Device Manager.
  2. Select a category to see names of devices, then right-click (or press and hold) the one you'd like to update.
  3. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
  4. Select Update Driver.

Does Windows 10 need Realtek audio drivers? ›

Realtek High Definition Audio Driver is the most popular sound driver for Windows systems, and it helps manage surround sound, Dolby and DTS sound systems on your computer. You need this driver for your audio device to even work on the PC – so uninstalling it would create serious audio errors.

Can I use Realtek instead of Conexant? ›

You can't install Realtek over Conexant hardware. Many HP machines with Windows 10 use Realtek software.

Does Windows 10 automatically install audio drivers? ›

Go to Control Panel > System and Security > Advanced System Settings > Hardware tab. Click on Device Installation Settings and choose 'No (your device might not work as expected)' to prevent Windows from automatically downloading device drivers.

Where can I download audio drivers for Windows 10? ›

Update audio drivers on Windows 10
  1. Click on the Start menu and type in Device Manager. ...
  2. Search for Sound, video and game controllers. ...
  3. Double-click on the audio entry and switch over to the Driver tab. ...
  4. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
Sep 26, 2019

How do I reinstall audio drivers in Device Manager? ›

Replies (7) 
  1. Open Start Menu.
  2. Type Device Manager and Open it.
  3. Double-Click on the category "Audio inputs and outputs".
  4. Under this category, right-click on the driver of your audio output device and select "Properties".
  5. Click the "Driver" tab and look for "Roll Back Driver" button* below and click it.
Jan 17, 2021

Do I need Realtek audio driver? ›

It is not necessary to enable Realtek HD Audio Manager on startup. When you connect a device, it will quickly launch and identify the device. If you want to open Realtek HD Audio Manager later or it doesn't automatically pop up, you can go to Control Panel to find and open it.

How do I find all my audio drivers? ›

Step 1: Right-click on the Start button in the taskbar area and then click Device Manager to open the same. Step 2: In the Device Manager, expand Sound, video and game controllers tree. Step 3: You should now see your audio driver's name.

How do I install missing audio drivers? ›

Step 1: Click on Start (Windows logo) or press the WIN key on your keyboard, then search for "device manager". Click on the first search result or press ENTER . Step 2: Expand “Audio inputs and outputs”. Step 3: Right-click on your audio device and select "Update driver".

Which audio driver is best for Windows 10? ›

The most common audio driver for Windows 10 is the Realtek HD Audio Driver.

Why do I have no audio driver? ›

As mentioned, the “no audio output device is installed in Windows 10” error happens due to a corrupted or outdated driver. Therefore, the best way to fix this error is to update your sound drivers. You can update drivers manually, but it can be somewhat a daunting task.

How do I get my old sound driver back? ›

You can restore the previous driver by using the rollback option.
  1. Simultaneously press the Windows + X keys on your keyboard. Select Device Manager.
  2. Expand Display Adapters.
  3. Double-click your Intel® display device.
  4. Select the Driver tab.
  5. Click Roll Back Driver to restore.

What is Realtek audio? ›

Restart required. This package contains the Realtek High Definition audio driver. Audio driver is the software that helps your operating system to communicate with audio devices such as internal sound cards, speakers, headsets, and microphones. Recommended.

How do I force update all my drivers? ›

To quickly update device drivers using Windows Update, use these steps:
  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Update.
  4. Click the Check for updates button.
  5. Click the View optional updatesoption.
  6. Click the Driver updatestab.
  7. Select the driver you want to update.
  8. Click the Download and installbutton.
Feb 24, 2022

What is Realtek HD Universal driver? ›

Restart required. This package contains the driver for Realtek High Definition audio codec. Audio driver is the software that helps your operating system to communicate with audio devices such as internal sound cards, speakers, headsets, and microphones. Recommended.

What happens if I uninstall Realtek audio? ›

Open Device Manager to Scan for Changes

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.

Why doesn't my Realtek sound work? ›

Update Realtek High-Definition Audio

Common sound problems on Windows are outdated, corrupt, or missing drivers. To fix this issue, downloading and installing the latest driver is recommended. This can be done either manually or automatically.

Should I use high definition audio instead of Realtek? ›

High defination audio driver is a basic audio driver that comes pre-installed in windows. Realtek Audio is the proper driver that will utilize the audio components in your device and hence is better suited.

Is Conexant audio driver good? ›

Conexant SmartAudio HD is a lot more powerful. It improves quality of audio a lot, if the sound seems to be not loud. You may need to check the application that takes care of business. Just type smartaudio in the search field, see if you have an equalizer option available,if you have one.

Which is better high definition audio or Realtek? ›

High Definition Audio has better sound quality. But if you want to use any programs like Dolby Atmos or Voicemeter they need Realtek. Also laptop default speakers are made for Realtek and will sound low quality with HDA.

How do I get Realtek HD Audio Manager on Windows 10? ›

The simple way to access Control Panel is to press Windows + R, type control panel, and press Enter to open it. Step 2. In Control Panel window, click Small icons next View by. Find Realtek HD Audio Manager and click it to open Realtek HD Audio Manager in Windows 10.

How do I fix no audio device installed? ›

7 Best Solutions to Fix No Audio Output Device Is Installed Error
  1. Make Sure All External Conditions OK.
  2. Run the Playing Audio Troubleshooter.
  3. Uninstall Audio Drivers.
  4. Install & Update Outdated Drivers.
  5. Fix No Sound with Driver Booster.
  6. Check for Windows updates.
  7. Re-enable the device.

Does Windows 11 need Realtek? ›

This audio driver is required if you plan to connect a microphone or headset to the audio jack. If you have any yellow bangs after all drivers have been installed, try reinstalling the Realtek Audio driver with Intel SST again.

Is it OK to delete Realtek audio driver? ›

You should [Disable] the RealTek device so that it does not continually get re-recognized and seek to re-install a corresponding driver. Navigate to the Device Manager, open the [Sound, video and game controllers] branch and right-click on [Realtek High Definition Audio] then choose [Disable].

Can I replace Realtek audio driver? ›

You'll find this easy to do on Windows 10 by simply clicking the Start Menu and going to Device Manager. Once you're there, you can navigate to “sound, video and game controllers,” find the device that needs to be updated, right click it and select “update driver.”

How do I find hidden drivers? ›

For Windows 8 and later: From Start, search for device manager, and select Device Manager from the search results. Troubleshoot the devices and drivers in Device Manager. Note Click Show hidden devices on the View menu in Device Manager before you can see devices that are not connected to the computer.

How do I manually download a driver? ›

To manually install a driver manually, use the following steps:
  1. Open the Start menu and search for device manager.
  2. Select the top result.
  3. When Device Manager opens, expand the branch for the device you want to install.
  4. Right-click the device and select Update driver from the menu.
May 6, 2022

Do audio drivers matter? ›

The short answer is: yes, the size of your headphones' driver has a specific influence on their sound quality. But that doesn't mean larger drivers always deliver better sound.

Why is my Realtek audio not working Windows 10? ›

Update Realtek Audio Driver. You can press Windows + X keyboard shortcut, and click Device Manager to open Device Manager on Windows 10. Scroll down to click Sound, video and game controllers category to expand it. Right-click Realtek Audio and choose Update driver to update Realtek audio driver.

How do I re enable my audio driver? ›

Enabling and Disabling Playback Audio Devices in Windows 10
  1. 1) Right click the sound icon in your system tray (or task tray)
  2. 2) Open sound settings.
  3. 3) Manage sound devices.
  4. 4) Click on the devices you'd like to enable or disable.

What causes audio glitching? ›

Typically the receiver's connection is stalling due to over-utilization. Alternately, the listener's audio equipment may be malfunctioning due to a faulty cable or jack that is injecting noise or gaps into the stream. If there is no problem playing back other types of audio, then the problem is network related.

How do I repair Audiodg? ›

Top 4 Methods to Fix Audiodg.exe High CPU Usage Windows 10 [Partition Manager]
  1. Fix 1: Modify the Sounds Settings.
  2. Fix 2: Run Audio Troubleshooter.
  3. Fix 3: Update the Driver for You Sound Card.
  4. Fix 4: Update Your Game and Related Software.
Jun 9, 2020

Why is my audio all messed up? ›

The problem may be from simple human errors, such as improper level settings, misaligning microphones, recording too loud, and more. Even if you keep your setup relatively error-free, noise, RF interference, rumbles, and faulty equipment can distort your sound. Making audio sound immaculate after distortion isn't easy.

How do I fix my audio driver Windows 10? ›

How to Fix Broken Audio on Windows 10
  1. Check your cables and volume. ...
  2. Verify that the current audio device is the system default. ...
  3. Restart your PC after an update. ...
  4. Try a System Restore. ...
  5. Run the Windows 10 Audio Troubleshooter. ...
  6. Update your audio driver. ...
  7. Uninstall and reinstall your audio driver.
May 28, 2022

How do I check my audio drivers? ›

Step 1: Right-click on the Start button in the taskbar area and then click Device Manager to open the same. Step 2: In the Device Manager, expand Sound, video and game controllers tree. Step 3: You should now see your audio driver's name. Most likely you have Realtek High Definition Audio.

How do I fix distorted audio in Windows 10? ›

Click Sound, video and game controllers and right-click the audio device to choose Properties. Next click Driver tab, and click Roll Back Driver button to roll back audio drivers in Windows 10. Then you can check if sound distortion Windows 10 issue is fixed.

Why is my sound cutting in and out? ›

Defective hardware or improper network configuration can cause audio to cut in and out. If the problem occurs on one phone, the underlying cause can vary from equipment to network configuration. If audio cuts in and out on multiple phones, the issue is likely network related.

How do I restore my audio output device? ›

How to Fix the No Audio Output Device Is Installed Error by Updating Audio Driver
  1. Step 1: Click on Start (Windows logo) or press the WIN key on your keyboard, then search for "device manager". ...
  2. Step 2: Expand “Audio inputs and outputs”.
  3. Step 3: Right-click on your audio device and select "Update driver".
Nov 10, 2021

Will a factory reset fix audio issues? ›

If you're experiencing issues with your audio, resetting your PC may help resolve the issue. A reset will restore your PC to its default settings, which can help fix audio problems. However, a reset will also erase any personal files and data on your PC, so be sure to back up your files before resetting.

How do I reset my audio port? ›

Right-click on the headphone device that isn't working. Select Enable to make sure it isn't blocked from playing audio from your computer. Click the now available Set as Default button. Click the OK button and restart your computer.


1. Find & Install Windows PC Drivers AUTOMATICALLY For Free
(Mike's unboxing, reviews and how to)
2. Behringer UM2 Setup Driver on Windows 10 [UPDATED]
(Audio Tech TV)
3. What is a Software Driver as Fast As Possible
4. Download & Install Realtek HD Audio Drivers In Windows 10
(ComputerSluggish Tutorials)
5. Get Windows 9x Sound Working in VMWare!
(Michael MJD)
(Ham Shack Reviews)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Trent Wehner

Last Updated: 10/09/2022

Views: 5795

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Trent Wehner

Birthday: 1993-03-14

Address: 872 Kevin Squares, New Codyville, AK 01785-0416

Phone: +18698800304764

Job: Senior Farming Developer

Hobby: Paintball, Calligraphy, Hunting, Flying disc, Lapidary, Rafting, Inline skating

Introduction: My name is Trent Wehner, I am a talented, brainy, zealous, light, funny, gleaming, attractive person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.