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Windows 7: Windows Audio Service crashes constantly on any "sound" action

13 Apr 2014   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Windows Audio Service crashes constantly on any "sound" action

Greetings folks,

I'm hoping somebody here can help me. I've just completed a new gaming pc build running Win 7 Professional 64-bit. Clean install. I've downloaded all the "important updates" from Windows Update. The only programs I have installed beyond what came on the CD's with the components are Google Chrome, a trial version of WinRar, and the Steam client.

The problem I am having is that every time I attempt to do *anything* sound related, the Windows Audio Service crashes.

For example: If I go into the "Sound" menu on the control panel, and select *anything*.. all the devices disappear in front of my eyes. Windows Audio crashed.
If I go into the Realtek HD Audio Manager and attempt to do anything at all... all the devices disappear in front of my eyes. Windows Audio crashed.
If I go into the Sound Blaster Cinema program and attempt to do anything at all.. all the devices disappear in front of my eyes. Windows Audio crashed.

Ok.. so restarting the service is trivial.. I pop into services.msc, find it, and select "start". It restarts fine.
Or I can click on the speaker tray icon with the red x that pops up when the crash happens, and the troubleshooter will restart the service.

Even if I'm not tinkering with any sound settings however.. Let's say I go to youtube and pick a random video for a sound check... As soon as it starts playing, Windows Audio crashes.

The only curious thing I've noticed is that if I leave that video playing.. Windows cannot restart the Windows Audio service.

It's done this on the MSI supplied drivers for my onboard sound. It's done this on the Realtek HD Audio drivers downloaded directly from Realtek.

I've tried disabling the "Nvidia High Definition Audio" device and the "Nvidia Virtual Audio Device (Wave Extensible) (WDM)" device in the device manager, thinking perhaps they might be competing with each other. No change in behavior.

I tried disabling the digital output on the Realtek. No change in behavior.

My end goal is, hopefully, to have sound handled by the Realtek HD Audio chip built into the MSI motherboard and directing output to the Logitech Z506 5.1 speaker system, and have my Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 Ti direct the video to my Asus VS278Q-P monitor.

The monitor is connected via HDMI cable, and has a couple crappy speakers which, at one time, were producing *some* output before I had installed the various drivers from the manufacturer CD's.

That's every bit of data I can think to give to explain my problem and what I've tried to fix it. Can anybody more knowledgeable in Audio issues perhaps help me out here?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2014   #2

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

Ok.. finally got this solved, thanks to a fellow on another forum.

Apparently, the secret to this is "Realtek can't make a driver to save their ass, even for hardware of their own design." I did a clean reinstall of windows, and added only barebones drivers, one at a time, to see what was breaking things... and sure enough, as soon as any form of Realtek driver went live on my machine.. bam.. insta-death for Windows Audio service and the resultant complete unusability of anything audio.

So I uninstalled everything having to do with Realtek, and just used the HD Audio drivers from Windows Update.. and bam, with a couple very minor configuration tweaks, I have proper 5.1 audio coming out where it's supposed to.

Some poor schlep at Realtek customer service is gonna have a real bad day here in a few minutes. >.<

Anyway, problem solved.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2014   #3

Windows 10 64 bit

Millions use RealTek without problems. You must have some type of hardware problem that is causing this error. Are you using the RealTek drivers supplied by MSI for your specific motherboard? That is the preferred driver. The direct from RealTek drivers have a notice to get them from your vendor and that the Vendor's drivers should be used.

I have three PC's with RealTek and all work without problems. Two self built Desktops (1 with a Gigabyte motherboard and another with an ASUS motherboard) and a Lenovo Laptop. The Desktops are both dual boot Win 7/Win 8.1.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

16 Apr 2014   #4

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

From my original post: "It's done this on the MSI supplied drivers for my onboard sound. It's done this on the Realtek HD Audio drivers downloaded directly from Realtek." Yes, I've tried the MSI supplied drivers for my specific motherboard. Their complete lack of functionality was what induced by posting here in the first place. I tried the latest drivers downloaded directly from Realtek. Exact same issue. The generic Windows HD Audio drivers work fine. The is far from my first rodeo in terms of building PC's.. So either MSI is doing something really screwy with their onboard audio chip from Realtek, or Realtek can't write drivers. Seeing as how the audio functions *flawlessly* under the generic Windows drivers, this suggests the hardware is *fine*. Thus I revert to my opinion on Realtek and an inability to write driver code.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Apr 2014   #5

Win 7 64bit
Same Issue!

I am having the same issue with the on-board sound on my MSI Z87-G45 board.

- Clean install
- Windows Audio Service keeps crashing!
- I am going to try uninstalling Realtek,
- I used to have it installed on my older machine that was running the same version of windows. Just upgraded the CPU, Motherboard and RAM
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2014   #6

windows 7 Ultimatex32
Unable to load realteck audio drives in my desktop

I having compaq desktop p4,2.3GHr processor,2GB ram,inbuilt realteck AC 97 audio drivers on my motherboard. priviously i was using win Xp, now I loaded win 7 clearly. My audio drivers are not loaded, while loading audio drives manually after installing audio drivers my system det crashing with message a problem has detected windows has been shutdown to prevent damage to your computer. Driver_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL, after shutdown ihave to gone into safe mode and restated win7. Iam unable to solve my audio problem Can anyone help me please?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows Audio Service crashes constantly on any "sound" action

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