How to Fix: No Sound - High Definition Audio Driver (Code 10)

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader William C. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I'm have a problem with my sound after the latest Windows Update in Windows 10 (version 15063.540). If I use System Restore to roll back the sysetm (which then uninstalls the update), my sound works perfectly fine. In my Device Manager I have: a 'High Definition Audio Device' with yellow exclamation point warning, and two 'Realtek High Definition Audio Device' with no warning. I have uninstalled and reinstalled the Realtek audio drivers to no avail - the sound will simply not work! My system is connected to a TV via HDMI cable. If I use headphones on the computer, I have sound - just not out of the TV with HDMI. I am hoping you can help, as I'm getting tried of doing a System Restore every few days. "

My response:

I asked William if he would like me to connect to his system using my remote desktop support service to have a closer look, and he agreed.

Off the bat, I told William that he should not be doing a System Restore every few days to 'fix' the sound issue, as this effectively rolls back any security updates in Windows 10 to a previously unpatched state. In other words, it is a major security risk that can leave the system wide open to hackers and exploits - so if anyone else reading this article is doing the same thing to 'fix' a problem - please don't.

How to Fix: No Sound - High Definition Audio Driver (Code 10)

As for William's sound problem, it was rather vexing.

The first thing I did was go to Device Manager and deleted all the audio devices related to his sound card, then rescanned the system for changes. When I did that, one of the yellow exclamation points (!) in Device Manager went away - a sign of progress. Nine times out of 10 this usually fixes the problem, but in this case it did not.

What we were left with were two "High Definition Audio Device" listings under the "Sound, Video and Game Controllers" heading and only one of them had the yellow exclamation mark (!). If I double clicked on the "High Definition Audio Device" with the exclamation mark, Windows reported that "This device cannot start. (Code 10)".

I then looked up William's motherboard model number using CPUz, then proceeded to download the appropriate sound drivers for Windows 10 from the manufacturer's website. While researching the 'audio not working (Code 10)' issue, it was suggested that sometimes Windows 10 audio drivers won't work on some sound controllers, and that using a Windows 7 or 8 sound driver might work. Unfortunately, this did nothing and Windows would report it was already using the 'best driver' already.

After a bit more research, some sites suggested (with success) that deleting upper and lower filter registry keys related to CDROM drives in the Windows Registry would fix "Code 10" audio issue. The keys are located at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ Class \ {4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}; the keys to delete are 'UpperFilters' and 'LowerFilters', with the instructions to reboot the system afterward. Unfortunately this did not work.

Then, I got thinking a bit more.

William mentioned that his sound worked with the headphones and not HDMI - and there is a reason for that. The headphone jack on the computer uses another sound controller which is not related to HDMI audio. In fact, the HDMI audio is specifically related to the "High Definition Audio Device" listed in Device Manager. Since HDMI sound is also coupled with video, I figured there is a good chance that the video card driver might be at fault.

At this point, I went into Device Manager and deleted his video card (Intel HD 4600). This made the screen go blank on William's end (but not mine, since I was using remote desktop). I then proceeded to delete all "High Definition Audio Devices" under the "Sound, Video and Game Controllers" heading and rebooted.

Upon reboot, the sound was working 100%!

So the issue in this case was not the sound card driver per se, but the video card. This was particularly confusing considering that it is usually the sound drivers that having anything to do with generating sound - perhaps there was a conflict between the video and sound drivers. I hope this helps anyone else having this issue as it was rather tricky, indeed.

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If this article is over your head - or if you still can't get your sound to work, I can help using my remote desktop support service. Simply contact me, briefly describing the issue and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question -- or even a computer problem that needs fixing -- please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (4 votes)