Universal Windows Drivers for Audio - Windows drivers (2023)

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  • 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 or 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/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

Overview

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) Fix Realtek HD Audio Manager Missing from Windows 10

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)

Where:

  • 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 Fix Realtek High Definition Audio Driver Issue & Fix Issues With Any Realtek Sound Card 2023

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:

FileDescription
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) How to Identify and Install Unknown Device Drivers on Windows 7/8/10

  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.

FAQs

How do I install audio drivers for Windows? ›

Select and hold (or right-click) the listing for your sound card or audio device, then select Update driver > Browse my computer for drivers > Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer. Select the audio device whose driver you want to update, select Next, and then follow the instructions to install it.

How do I fix my generic audio driver Windows? ›

  1. Method 1: Make Sure Audio Services are Enabled.
  2. Method 2: Disable and Enable the Audio Device.
  3. Method 3: Uninstall and Reinstall Your Audio Driver.
  4. Method 4: Update Your Audio Drivers.
  5. Method 5: Turn Off Audio Enhancements.
  6. Method 6: Use Windows' native Sound Drivers.

What audio drivers do I need for Windows 10? ›

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

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 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".

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.

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.

Do I need Realtek audio driver? ›

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.

How do I know what audio driver is compatible? ›

If you prefer, you can type device manager directly into the Cortana search bar. Click Sound, video and game controllers, then right-click your sound card and click Properties. Click the Driver tab, then click Update Driver. Click Search automatically for drivers to have Windows find the audio driver updates for you.

How do I update my outdated audio drivers Windows 10? ›

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.

How do I know what audio driver is compatible with my computer? ›

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

Can I install Realtek over Conexant? ›

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

How do you fix a Conexant audio device could not be found? ›

Step 1: Press the Win + X keys and choose Device Manager to open it. Step 2: Expand the Sound, video and game controllers tab and right-click on the sound driver. Step 3: Select Properties and click on the Driver tab. Step 4: Click on the Update Driver option and then select Browse my computer for Driver Software.

Is Conexant still in business? ›

Conexant itself then spun off several business units, creating independent public companies which included Skyworks Solutions and Mindspeed Technologies.
...
Conexant Systems, Inc.
TypeSubsidiary
Defunct2017
HeadquartersIrvine, California , U.S.
Key peopleRick Bergman, CEO
7 more rows

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.

Why I can't install Realtek HD Audio driver? ›

Installation errors that occur with any of the Realtek HD audio drivers are usually a result of either an error in overwriting the files within the default Windows driver or a conflict with the Microsoft Universal Audio Architecture.

Why can I not install Realtek audio driver? ›

Expand the System Devices option, and look for the Microsoft UAA Bus Driver for High Definition Audio. Right-click it and select Disable from the menu. When you've disabled this driver, you can go ahead and install the Realtek drivers again, and they should be working perfectly now.

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

How do I fix a corrupted audio driver? ›

Here's how:
  1. Press and hold Windows + R keys to open the Run dialogue box. ...
  2. Check the drivers' list and expand the list if necessary. ...
  3. Once you find the corrupted driver, right-click on it and select Update driver from the context menu.
Nov 25, 2021

How do I restore my audio device in 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

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.”

Is Windows audio driver better than Realtek? ›

Nothing really different. I'd say, sound quality is slightly better, but that might be more of a placebo effect. The only real loss of uninstalling the Realtek driver is the the simultaneous audio stream on both rear and front audio jacks and 5.1 channel support.

How do I use Windows driver instead of Realtek? ›

In Control Panel window, you can click System and Security -> System -> Advanced System Settings -> Hardware -> Device Installation Settings. Tick “No (you device might not work as expected)” option, and click Save Changes. This will disable Windows 10 from automatically installing Realtek drivers. Step 3.

How do I fix Realtek audio on Windows 10? ›

The easiest way to fix a corrupted Realtek driver is to reinstall and update the driver. You can do it manually through Device Manager or use Advanced Driver Updater, a driver updating tool, to update corrupt and problematic drivers.

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.

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.

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.

How can I make my driver compatible? ›

I suggest you to run the program/game in the compatibility mode and check if it helps.
...
Follow the below steps:
  1. Right click on the program icon, click on Properties.
  2. Click the Compatibility tab.
  3. Check the Run this program in compatibility mode for box and select the Preferred Windows.
  4. Click on Apply and click OK button.
Feb 14, 2016

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.

Why is my audio jack not working after Windows 10 update? ›

Outdated drivers.

Your drivers allow your devices to function with Windows 10. If sound and audio drivers are outdated, you might run into issues with using headphones or the headphone jack. Updating your drivers is the best fix for this.

Is it OK to have outdated drivers? ›

Outdated drivers not only impact PC performance but the overall stability of the system. As device drivers become old and obsolete, they cause a number of computer functionality symptoms, including system freezes, malfunctioning devices, video game lag —even a system crash.

How do I know which drivers are outdated? ›

To see driver information, right click a device, click Properties, and switch to the Driver tab. This displays the date the driver was published, its version number, and other information. To check for a driver update, click Update Driver.

Which device driver to install if the computer has no audio? ›

Check device and driver status in Device Manager

Use Device Manager to check if the audio device is disabled, and then install an available driver update. In Windows, search for and open Device Manager. Double-click Sound, video and game controllers. Right-click the audio device, and then select Update Driver.

Why is Realtek not showing in Device Manager? ›

Try rolling back the sound drivers Choose Sound controller and other audio devices, then Driver tab, then Roll back if available. If no newer sound drivers then uninstall the one presently installed in Device Manager, reached by right clicking the Start Button. Restart PC to reinstall.

Is there a alternative for Realtek audio console? ›

There are 1 alternatives to Realtek Audio Control for Windows. The best alternative is Nahimic, which is free.

Can I switch from Conexant to Realtek? ›

Conexant and Realtek are two different chipset / IC manufacturers. The software and associated drivers for one simply won't work with the other. In short you will likely lose audio on your PC. Why is there no audio on my Windows system even though Windows audio is running?

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.

How do I enable Conexant Smartaudio HD? ›

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Expand Sound video and game controllers.
  3. Right-click on Conexant Audio Device.
  4. Select Update Driver Software.
  5. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions to download and install the driver.
Mar 7, 2021

Who bought Conexant? ›

Synaptics is acquiring Conexant as part of a two-acquisition announcement: it is also acquiring the Multimedia Solutions Business of Marvell Technology Group for $95 million in cash.

How do I fix Conexant audio device in Windows 11? ›

If you are facing no sound issue in Conexant SmartAudio HD device, then check the following solutions to resolve the issue.
  1. Rollback your driver.
  2. Update Driver.
  3. Disable Audio Enhancement.
  4. Use High Audio Definition Device.
Feb 10, 2022

What is the use of Conexant HD audio? ›

This package contains the Conexant CX20641 and CX20651 HD 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.

How do I manually install sound drivers in Windows 10? ›

You can either manually download and install or let the Windows Update service download and install the driver. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update page and then click on the Check for updates button to let Windows 10 automatically download and install the latest sound driver.

Does Windows automatically install audio drivers? ›

Bad or outdated drivers can cause problems in your Windows 10 system. Therefore, Windows 10 forces to update most device drivers in your system to make your OS work efficiently. Realtek audio driver are sound drivers in your computer.

Is Realtek audio driver necessary? ›

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.

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.

How do I know which audio driver to install? ›

Write down the sound-card model information provided. This is located next to a speaker icon and usually includes the manufacturer's name and the model number. Use this information to determine which sound-card driver you need.

How do I reinstall my audio output device? ›

To reinstall the audio output device follow these steps:
  1. Press Windows + R and open the Run window.
  2. Type devmgmt. ...
  3. Scroll down and look for Sound, video and game controllers.
  4. Double click on the category > right-click on the audio device > Update driver.
May 5, 2021

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.

Do I need to download audio drivers? ›

Without the proper audio driver installed, your speakers won't give off any sound. If you have audio issues — crackling music, games missing sound effects — or if your Windows computer emits no sound at all, it's time to update your sound drivers.

What is Realtek audio driver for? ›

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.

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