Fix: High Definition Audio Device Cannot Start (Code 10)

Oct. 26, 2018 / Updated by Bessie Shaw to Windows 10

Imagine how frustrating it would be if there is no sound when you are about to play games, watch movies or listen to music on your computer. It is really irritating. These days, many users are plagued by audio issues, especially the “No Audio Output Device is installed” issue after Windows 10 updates. Microsoft has released a patch KB4468550 to address the “No Audio Output Device is installed” issue. But there are still a number of users who come to us for help with audio issues. One of these common audio issues is the High Definition Audio Device cannot start (Code 10) or High Definition Audio Controller cannot start (Code 10) issue.

When the High Definition Audio Device cannot start issue occurs, you can see a yellow circle with an exclamation mark under your audio device in the Device Manager. And when you double click the device, you can also see the error message “The device cannot start. (Code 10)” in the Device status section.

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If you encounter this issue, don't fret. Here are several effective methods you can try to get rid of the High Definition Audio Device cannot start issue. Read on to try them one by one.

Method 1. Make Sure the Windows Audio Service Is Started

The High Definition Audio Device cannot start (Code 10) issue may occur if the Windows Audio service is not started. Therefore, if you come across this issue, the first method you can try is to check whether the Windows Audio service is started or not. Do like this:

Step 1. Press Windows + R to launch Run.

Step 2. Type “services.msc” into the Run dialog box and hit Enter.

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Step 3. Scroll down to find Windows Audio and check if its Status is “Running”. If no, right click it and select Start from the pop-up menu to start it.

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Step 4. Double click Windows Audio and check if the Startup type in the General tab is set as Automatic. If no, set it as Automatic.

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Step 5. Restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

Method 2. Uninstall the Audio Device on Your Computer

According to some users who went through the High Definition Audio Device cannot start (Code 10) issue, uninstalling the audio device like High Definition Audio Device plays an important role in resolving the issue. To uninstall the audio device on your computer, you can take the steps below.

Step 1. Launch the Device Manager.

Step 2. Scroll down to find Sound, video and game controllers and double click it to expand it.

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Step 3. Right click on the audio device under it (for example, the Realtek High Definition Audio) and select Uninstall device from the pop-up menu to uninstall the device.

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Step 4. After uninstalling the audio device successfully, restart your computer.

When you reboot your computer, Windows will reinstall the audio device automatically.

Method 3. Update the Audio Driver to Get Rid of Code 10

Outdated audio driver may also lead to the High Definition Audio Device cannot start (Code 10) issue. In this case, you can get rid of the issue by updating the audio driver. These posts are for your reference:

Regarding to the easiest and fastest way to update drivers, the professional driver download utility – Driver Talent can do you a favor. It will help you download, install, update and repair all your drivers quickly and safely. Click on the Download Now button below to get it directly. And follow the guide below to update your audio driver right now.

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Step 1. Launch Driver Talent and click the Scan button to perform a full scan on your computer. Then all the iffy drivers on your computer will be listed, including your outdated audio driver.

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Step 2. If your audio driver is detected as outdated, click the Update button in the right of it to update it.

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Step 3. Restart your computer after updating the driver successfully.

Method 4. Modify the Registry to Troubleshoot the Issue

Sometimes, this method can work to resolve the High Definition Audio Device cannot start (Code 10) issue. Follow the steps below carefully. And you’d better back up the registry before you make any changes. Then if something goes wrong after the modification, you can restore them to the previous status quickly.

Step 1. Press Windows + R to launch Run.

Step 2. Type “regedit” into the Run dialog box and hit Enter to launch the Registry Editor.

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Step 3. Navigate to: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class.

Step 4. Find {4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318} under the Class and click it to expand it.

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Step 5. Find the registry values titled UpperFilters and LowerFilters in the right pane, and then right click them and select Delete from the pop-up menu to delete them. Select Yes when you are prompted to confirm the deletion. (Note: If you don’t see the UpperFilters registry value or the LowerFilters registry value, this method is not for you. And if there is just one of them on your registry, delete that one and move on.)

Step 6. Close the Registry Editor and restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

The High Definition Audio Device cannot start issue should be gone after you try the methods above. If you know other methods to get rid of this issue, welcome to share them with us in the comment section below. To learn more solutions to other audio issues, you can get to the Sound Issue section on this site.

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