How to fix the ‘no audio output device is installed’ error in Windows 10

On the surface, you would think a ‘no audio output device is installed’ error in Windows 10 would be simple to fix right? Just install the correct driver and reboot your computer. Unfortunately, It isn’t always that simple. In fact, this stubborn little error can be quite troublesome to fix.

Installing, uninstalling and re-installing the correct drivers doesn’t always remedy the situation even though it should. So what is one to do?

How to fix the ‘no audio output device is installed’ error in Windows 10-3

Fix the ‘no audio output device is installed’ error in Windows 10

First let’s see if Windows Audio services are running and then what Windows has in terms of output devices and drivers.

  1. Right click on an empty section of the Taskbar and select Task Manager.
  2. Select the Services tab and the ‘Open Services’ text link at the bottom.
  3. Look for ‘Windows Audio’ and ‘Windows Audio Endpoint Builder’ services. Make sure they are running and set to automatic.
  4. Also check for the service related to your audio device and make sure that is running too. The name will differ depending on your hardware.

How to fix the ‘no audio output device is installed’ error in Windows 10-2

If all services are running, move on to the next step.

  1. Right click on the Windows Start Button and select Control Panel.
  2. Select Hardware and Sound and Device Manager.
  3. Click ‘Sound, video and game controllers’.
  4. Look at what is there and ensure your audio device is listed.
  5. Right click the audio device in question (it may have a yellow triangle next to it, it may not) and select ‘Update Driver Software’.
  6. Select Automatic and let Windows find the driver or manual if you would prefer to do it yourself.
  7. Reboot your system if prompted and retest.

In the vast majority of cases where you see the ‘no audio output device is installed’ error, re-installing the driver will address the issue. Occasionally when selecting Automatic driver mode in Windows 10, you will be presented with several options. If the specific driver doesn’t work, repeat the process and find the default ‘High Definition Audio Device’ driver that should be listed. Reboot and retry.

If that doesn’t work, you could try a refresh of Windows 10.

  1. Perform a system restore or backup any files you cannot afford to lose.
  2. Navigate to Settings, Update & security, Recovery.
  3. Select Reset this PC and the ‘keep my files’ option.
  4. Follow the wizard to reset Windows while keeping your personal files.
  5. Then reboot and retest.

A system refresh is the step of last resort but has been known to restore audio to fully working status. Even though the correct drivers may be present, the correct hardware selected, services running and everything appearing as it should be, there is occasionally a disconnect between the driver and Windows core. The refresh links the two together again restoring sound to your device.

I hope one of these steps works for you. If you have any other fixes for this error, let us know in the comments section.

Posted by Jamie on August 23, 2016

One thought on “How to fix the ‘no audio output device is installed’ error in Windows 10”

Peter says:
here’s a good one… there is no ‘Sound, video and game controllers’ in my device manager list 🙁

Also, in the control panel, i click ‘Sound’ and the pop-up says: “No Audio devices are installed” both in playback and recording tabs

Peter says:
ps… and i did the windows reinstall ‘keep my files’… nothing changed on the sound front and i did lose heaps of programs, which ms made a list of for me…

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