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How to install audio drivers on Windows 10

Audio drivers are essential for any and all computers and all operating systems come with generic audio drivers that work right out of the box. Generic audio drivers will work in most cases i.e., you can watch a movie, play a YouTube video in your browser, or listen to music and the audio will work just fine.

Windows 10 will initially start you off with generic audio drivers but it will eventually install proprietary audio drivers via Windows Update. These may not be the best audio drivers for your system, and they may not be up to date either. That’s why it’s a good idea to install audio drivers on Windows 10 yourself instead of allowing the OS to install them.

Audio drivers for Windows 10

Windows 10 normally installs generic drivers and they may, or may not be right for your system. The alternative for this driver is the Realtek High Definition Audio driver. 

audio drivers windows 10

Download Realtek drivers

If generic audio drivers are not working for your system, you most likely need Realtek drivers, or you need to update the driver.

You can get Realtek drivers from;

  • Windows Updates.
  • Intel’s official download center.
  • The website for the manufacturer of your system e.g. Dell or HP.

Manually install audio drivers 

To install audio drivers on Windows 10, 

  1. Download the driver that you want to install. 
  2. Run the executable file.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions and complete the download.
  4. Restart the system.

Install drivers from Windows Update

You can install audio drivers from Windows Update but this method is not as reliable as a manual installation because Windows Update may find and install an older driver.

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Expand Audio inputs and outputs.
  3. Double-click your audio device.
  4. Go to the Driver tab.
  5. Click Update driver.
  6. Allow Windows 10 to install any drivers that it finds.
  7. If no drivers are found, click ‘Search for updated drivers on Windows update’.
  8. Install the drivers that Windows Update finds.
  9. Restart the system.

Realtek alternatives

Realtek audio drivers are the drivers used on most systems. If you do not want to install Realtek drivers, your only other option is to use the generic audio drivers that Windows 10 installs.

If you do not install Realtek drivers, chances are you won’t be able to use all features on the audio device(s) on your system. For example, in the absence of Realtek drivers, you won’t see the Stereo Mix option under Sounds in Recording and Playback. This will in turn limit your use of external and combo audio devices.

Having sound trouble even after installing the right drivers? Check out these troubleshooting tips.

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