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How to Fix Realtek Audio Driver

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If you can't get your computer to produce any sound, there's likely a problem with the Realtek audio driver. Typically, the easiest way to resolve any software issue with your Realtek device is to simply remove and replace the Realtek driver. Alternatively, the Realtek audio hardware could be damaged. We need to do a little investigation to find out where the problem is coming from and determine which route needs to be taken to resolve the issue. Let's look into the device manager to check the status of our Realtek audio driver.

To begin...

  1. Click Start

  2. (Windows XP or earlier)

  • Click Control Panel

  • Click System

  • Click the tab titled Hardware

  • Click the Device Manager button

(Windows Vista/7)

  • Type into the search field: device manager

  • Hit ENTER


Windows Device Manager

  1. You should now be looking at a window titled device manager. This utility will show you all the hardware devices connected to your motherboard. Scroll down the list until you find a category that will be labeled similar to

    Sound, or Sound, video and game controllers or Audio. If you don't see your device under this category, try looking under Other devices

  2. Expand this category by clicking on the ( + ) / ( > ) next to the entry. The tree will expand to reveal all of the audio devices. Find the device with the name that contains Realtek. Make a note of the name of the device as it appears in the device manager. We're going to need the display name again in the steps to follow.

  • Does it have a yellow question mark next to it? If so, this is a sign that there is a definite problem with the audio driver. However, even if it does not, the driver may still be causing problems that Windows can't see. We need to uninstall this driver so that a clean installation of a newer or working driver can take it's place.

  1. Double-click the Realtek device in the device manager and a new window will open. This new window displays all the details and information about the device.


Realtek Audio Device Properties

  1. Click the tab labeled Driver at the top of the window.

  2. Click the Uninstall driver button

  3. Check the box next to Delete the driver software for this device

  4. Click OK

The uninstall wizard will guide you through the uninstallation process, removing all the components of the driver as it progresses through the steps and leave us with a clean slate to work on. Now that we've removed the bad driver, we need to go to the Realtek website and get the new driver.

Take the following steps...

  1. Go to the Realtek Website

  2. Click on the Downloads link directly beneath the blue, Realtek banner



  1. Looking at the vetical, orange column, aligned to the left of the page, hover your mouse over Computer Peripheral ICs. Focus on the menu that extends to the right. Hover your mouse over PC Audio Codecs.

    Here you'll have to refer back to the name of your Realtek audio device we made a note of earlier. Was it AC'97 Audio or High Definition Audio. Whichever it was, click the appropriate link for you audio device so that you are taken to the correct page.



  1. Check the box next to I accept to the above and click Next

  2. On the next page, you will see a chart that lists various operating systems that the driver supports. Find your operting system on the list and make sure you are looking at the one listed as (Executable file). This will be listed under Description in the table.


Drivers table as it appears for Realtek AC'97 Audio Codecs

  • Don't know your operating system. Take these next few steps. If you already know your operating system and have found yours on the list, proceed past these bulleted steps.

  • Click Start

  • (Windows XP or earlier)

    • Click Control Panel

    • Click System

    • Here you will see basic information about the computer. Listed in this window is the operating system you are using. Make a note of it and refer back to the table on the Realtek website.

  • (Windows Vista/7)

    • Type into the search field: system information

    • Hit ENTER

    • In this window you will see basic information about your computer. Listed in the very first line, in the left side viewing pane of this window is the operating system you are using. Make a note of it and refer back to the table on the Realtek website.

  1. Once you've found the row under Description that matches your operating system and notes it as (Executable file), look to the last column in that row and click any one of the GO links.

  2. Your browser will ask you to confirm the download. Accept the download and once it is finished, click on it or click Run when prompted.

  3. The installer will guide you through the installation process and once complete, you will need to reboot your computer before you attempt to test out the new driver.

Once your computer has rebooted, play a song or watch a video to test out the functionality of the new driver. Replacing the driver almost always is the solution to a Realtek audio device issue. Are you getting sound? If yes, then the problem is solved and you can continue to enjoy; however, if you still can't get your computer to produce any volume, take the following steps to ensure that the device is configured properly.

Take these steps next to continue troubleshooting your Realtek audio problem...

  1. Click Start

  2. Click Control Panel

  3. (Windows XP or earlier)

  • Click Sound and Audio Devices




  • In the window that apears, check under Device volume to ensure that the slider is not set to Low. Adjust the slider to a volume you are comfortable with.

  • Also check the Mute check box under the slider is not selected.

  • Click the Advanced button under Device volume




  • A new window titled Master Volume will appear. Check that none of the Mute boxes are checked and that the sliders are not set too low.

  • Click the Options menu at the top of this window and select Properties

  • Make sure that the device in the Mixer device drop down menu is set to your Realtek device output.

  • Make sure that the option Playback is selected under Adjust volume for

  • Click OK

  • Back at the Master Volume window, click the Red X to close this window.

  • Now back at the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties, click the Audio tab.




  • Make sure that the drop down menu under Sound playback is set to your Realtek audio device output.

  • Click the Advanced button under Sound playback.

  • Make sure that your speaker setup is configured properly for the speakers that you have. As long as it's not set to No Speakers or Stero headphones then it will work.

  • Click OK

  • Back at the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties window, click Apply and then click OK.

    (Windows Vista/7)

  • Click Hardware and Sound

  • Click Sound




  • In this new window you should see your audio devices. Click on the Realtek device and click the Configure button.

  • Click the Test button.

  • Click the Next button.

  • There should be two check boxes: Front left and right, & Surround speakers. Make sure Front left and right is selected and check Surround speakers if it's not greyed out.

  • Click Next

  • Click Finish

  • Back at the Sound window, check that the Realtek device is still highlighted and click the Properties button.




  • Check that the drop down menu at the bottom of the this window is set to Use this device (enable)

  • Click the tab titled Levels at the top of this window.

  • Check that the output slider for your Realtek device is not set to 0. Move the slider to a volume you are comfortable with and check also that the mute icon is not selected.

  • Click OK

  • Back at the Sound window again, click OK

Let's try to test out the audio again. Play a song, watch a video or start anything that produces sound. It should be working now. If the sound is working then the problem is solved and you need read no further. If you are still having issues with your sound, you can continue reading to try and repair the Windows Universal Audio Architecture.

Take the following steps...

(Windows XP)

  1. Go to Microsoft's website

  2. You should be prompted by a dialog from Microsoft, asking if you wish to run a special troubleshooter. Click Run now




  1. This Fix it utility from Microsoft will guide you through the troubleshooter and should correct any remaining problems that exist. Simply follow the instructions and it will finish in no time. You may have to reboot your computer once the utility is finished.

(Windows Vista/7)

  1. Go to Microsoft's website

  2. There are two Fix it utilities from Microsoft on this page. You should run each of them to try and fix the issue.




    Under To run a sound playback troubleshooter, click the Fix it button. Your browser will prompt you to accept the download. Once the download is completed, click on the file or click Run when prompted.

  1. The playback troubleshooter will guide you through the process and attempt to correct the issue. You may have to reboot your computer once it is finished.

  2. Revisit the link above to run the second troubleshooter under To run a hardware and devices troubleshooter.

    Click the Fix it button under this section and your browser will prompt you to accept the download. Once the download is completed, click on the file or click Run when prompted.

  3. The devices troubleshooter will guide you through the process and attempt to correct the issue. You may have to reboot your computer once it is finished.

Now we need to run another test of our audio to see if it is working. Play a song, watch a video or run anything that is supposed to produce sound. If the sound works then the problem with your Realtek audio device is resolved. You can refer back to this guide if you ever experience issues in the future.

If the sound still does not work, then your Realtek audio device may be damaged and will possibly require replacement.


   
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