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All audio devices suddenly unrecognised after Windows Update/Flash Player update


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#1 Dornroschen

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 08:12 PM

Hi all,
BleepingComputer first-time poster here. I have used your site many times as a lurker, but on this occasion I can't seem to find a solution to my problem, so am forced to bother you for direct help!


The problem
Earlier tonight I was playing Elite:Dangerous on my new (one month old) Windows 8.1 desktop system, and all was well.  Belarc Advisor system profile posted here, fyi:

 

Spoiler

 

I finished playing, and installed the latest Windows Updates (nine of them - I can even supply the KB numbers if helpful) and restarted. When prompted, I then upgraded Flash Player from 16.0.0.235 to the latest version (16.0.0.257). After doing this, I tried to play a song in Winamp and received this error message: "Bad DirectSound driver.  Please install proper drivers or select another device in configuration." 

 

Shortly thereafter I noticed that my system's audio had stopped working altogether, through both speakers and headphones.  While searching for a solution I have also noticed that Youtube videos in Firefox now crash after a second or two, although they play in IE (silently, of course).
 

The symptoms
 
I am in the fortunate position (from a diagnostic perspective) of having an almost identical working computer sat next to me. My father and I bought identical computers a month ago. Needless to say, after this happened I have not yet run the updates on that machine, so it allows me to compare and contrast. Hopefully that means that we can get to the bottom of this.

As you can see from the left-hand screen grab below, the volume button in my taskbar now has a white cross on a red background, and displays "No speakers or headphones are plugged in" when hovered over, and the Control Panel sound menu now has no playback devices listed (the four HDMI outputs also appear as "not plugged in" on my father's fully functional system).  As compared with my father's system, mine has lost "Speakers" and "Realtek Digital Output" from this list. 

The right-hand screen grab is from Device Manager (with "show hidden devices" enabled, displaying the hidden devices as greyed out).  On my father's system all the same sound controllers are listed, but "Realtek High Definition Audio" is not hidden (ie. not greyed out).
 
Nospeakersorheadphones_zps4cd66587.jpgControlpanel_zps9773561b.jpg
 

Attempted solutions
 
The first thing I tried was updating drivers through Device Manager.  Nothing seemed to need updating there, so I did a system restore to a point before the updates.  The system restore went through fine, and the updates were rolled back, but the audio problem persists (as does the failure of Youtube videos). 

I then tried reinstalling Realtek HD audio (both from my driver disks and from the Realtek website), but nothing changed.  I tried uninstalling all sound drivers and restarting the machine, and also tried re-installing the Windows/Flash updates.  I have tested the speakers, which work fine with other machines.  I am at a loss to explain or fix the fact that my computer suddenly can't recognise any audio devices.

Any ideas?  I'm happy to run any diagnostics requested and post the results here.  For now, I have run the below three, as suggested on this slightly similar thread.  These were run after rolling back the updates via System Restore, i.e. as close as I can get to when the sound system was working.

 

Speccy:

http://speccy.piriform.com/results/vtEp57kC1NMJDsqIKv6OdVN

SecurityCheck.exe:

Spoiler

MiniToolBox:

Spoiler

 

Many thanks.


Edited by Dornroschen, 16 January 2015 - 05:22 AM.


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#2 jhayz

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 08:12 PM

I finished playing, and installed the latest Windows Updates (nine of them - I can even supply the KB numbers if helpful) and restarted.

 

Please post the KB numbers nex time. Seems to be a compatible issue in Windows 8.1 OS or the installed updates initially.


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#3 Dornroschen

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 08:37 PM

Ah, I'm thrilled to get a reply, thanks! 

 

I hope you're right and it's a software compatibility issue, as that seems as though it might be resolvable.

The Windows Update KB numbers are:

 

KB2934520 (Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.2 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 for x64-based Systems)

KB3024663 (Security Update for Internet Explorer Flash Player for Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems)

KB3004365 (Security Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems)
KB3019215 (Security Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems)
KB3019978 (Security Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems)
KB3021674 (Security Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems)
KB3022777 (Security Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems)
KB3023266 (Security Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems)
KB890830  (Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool for Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2 x64 Edition - January 2015)

As described above, I rolled back these updates using System Restore, but the lack of audio persists.

Over the weekend, I realised that I do have the option of installing the updates one at a time on my father's virtually identical system, to potentially identify which may have caused the problem, but obviously I'm not keen to do that until I find a way to restore the audio, as then we might well have no system with working audio.

Any advice greatly appreciated.


Edited by Dornroschen, 18 January 2015 - 08:41 PM.


#4 jhayz

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 09:46 PM

Ok, nothing comes out in particular with audio related windows update so far. Can you go to device manager and expand system devices and see if there are flags or marks also?


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#5 Dornroschen

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 09:15 AM

No, there are no flags or marks in Device Manager at all; I just expanded all sections to check. 

 

A screenshot of the expanded list of system devices (without showing hidden devices, as that made it too big to fit on the screen!) is below:

Spoiler

 

The only thing I've noticed under Device Manager is that under "Sound, video and game controllers", "Realtek High Definition Audio" has become hidden (ie. greyed out), as noted above.

 

ps  Apologies for the delay in responding, but as I'm in England, your posts were around 1am and 2am our time.  Thanks again for your assistance, and I'll check in on things here until I go to bed tonight.


Edited by Dornroschen, 19 January 2015 - 09:22 AM.


#6 jhayz

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 02:38 AM

What changes or installed softwares other than windows updates? It seems some search shows some webcam software has been the underlying problem and removing it solves the issue. Do you notice or recall any particular scenario?


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#7 Dornroschen

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 07:10 AM

Well, as described above, I was playing Elite:Dangerous and all was well.  Quit the game and noticed those nine Windows Updates needed installing.  Installed them, restarted, got prompted to download and install a flash player update (from 16.0.0.235 to 16.0.0.257) and did so.  Then tried to play a song in Winamp and got the above error message, then realised that all audio devices were suddenly unrecognised.  No other changes or installations.  I think Firefox is the only thing that I allow to automatically update itself, so that might have updated too, I guess.  I also use CCleaner, so may well have run a basic clean and registry clean with that.

As the system's new, there's not very much software installed on it - the MiniToolBox diagnostic above lists it all, in case anything jumps out.  I've never used a webcam with it or installed any webcam software, so I don't think that's the problem here.

The thing that strikes me as particularly odd (and thus possibly a clue as to the problem?) is the fact that Youtube videos in Firefox now crash after a second or two, although they play in IE (silently, of course).  I can't see how this could be related to all audio on the system disappearing, but it started at the same time, so it probably is.  Perhaps that points to some clash with the flash player update as the likely culprit?
 


Edited by Dornroschen, 20 January 2015 - 07:11 AM.


#8 jhayz

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 07:34 AM

Ok, I would suggest for you to download the Realtek HD Audio driver for Windows 8.1 from here. The listed Realtek driver version by  Minitoolbox is Realtek High Definition Audio Driver (HKLM-x32\...\{F132AF7F-7BCA-4EDE-8A7C-958108FE7DBC}) (Version: 6.0.1.7200 - Realtek Semiconductor Corp.)

 

Download and or reinstall also your Nvidia video card driver and use a clean and custom install instead of express then choose video driver only during the hardware setup. Use Display Driver Uninstaller Tool in removing your current driver before reinstalling.


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#9 Dornroschen

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 11:23 AM

Ok, I downloaded the Realtek HD Audio Driver from the recommended site, uninstalled the existing Realtek HD Audio Driver (ticking the 'delete driver software' option), and reinstalled the downloaded version.  No difference was detectable.

 

I then downloaded Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU), restarted in Safe Mode and ran DDU (the recommended 'clean + restart' option).  After the restart, the only device listed under 'Sound, video and game controllers' in Device Manager was 'High Definition Audio Device'.  I note that this was not on the Device Manager list back when the audio was working (although 'NVIDIA High Definition Audio' was).

 

I then ran Ccleaner's registry clean before custom/clean installing the NVIDIA Graphics Driver only (i.e. not the other four options: 3D Vision Controller Driver, 3D Vision Driver, HD Audio Driver or Miracast Virtual Audio).  I installed it from the disk supplied with my system.

 

Again, no change in the audio problem, which is still displaying "No speakers or headphones are plugged in".

Noticing that Realtek HD Audio Driver was now entirely missing from the Device Manager list (even when hidden items displayed), I tried installing it from the link you supplied.  Interestingly, the installation appeared to run fine, without any error messages etc, but Realtek HD Audio Driver nonetheless remains entirely absent from the Device Manager list (see screenshot below):

Spoiler

 

This is despite the fact that MiniToolBox is now able to detect the updated version of RealTek HD Audio Driver:

 

Spoiler


Edited by Dornroschen, 20 January 2015 - 11:39 AM.


#10 Dornroschen

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 02:19 PM

I decided to run some security scans too, just in case.  I don't believe they found anything, but here are the logs to set your mind at rest on that particular possible cause:

Adwcleaner:

Spoiler


Free Malwarebytes:

Spoiler


Superantispyware:
Spoiler


Junkware Removal Tool:
Spoiler


Edited by Dornroschen, 20 January 2015 - 02:20 PM.


#11 jhayz

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 10:08 PM

Please go to startup services and check Windows Audio is started or should be in Automatic. Hit Apply then Ok. Check also your BIOS section menu for disabled onboard audio just in case.


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#12 Dornroschen

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 05:41 AM

Having followed your directions, startup services didn't seem to need any changes (Windows Audio set to running/automatic, as per below screenshot).

Spoiler


I'm not familiar with the term 'section menu', but I checked in my BIOS (Gigabyte - UEFI DualBIOS).  Under peripherals I found 'Audio Controller', and confirmed that this was set to Enabled.

 

These are the kinds of checks that I didn't know to do myself, so although we don't seem to have found the cause yet, this is very helpful, thank you.


Edited by Dornroschen, 21 January 2015 - 05:58 AM.


#13 jhayz

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 11:36 PM

Can you go back to Sound Properties - Playback tab and right-click checkmark/show disabled/disconnect devices? If not done already.


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#14 Dornroschen

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 04:41 PM

Ok, done.  I didn't know about that option and hadn't tried it already.  But having just done so, it seems that nothing new is revealed by ticking those options.  Screenshot below, and just to confirm, the speakers are definitely still functional and plugged in, and I just tried the headphones too.

 

Spoiler

Edited by Dornroschen, 22 January 2015 - 04:43 PM.


#15 jhayz

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 07:32 PM

Ok, the onboard Realtek audio is still not found from Playback Properties. Check the Nvidia Control Panel for any onboard sound or HDMI setup.

Screenshot below, and just to confirm, the speakers are definitely still functional and plugged in, and I just tried the headphones too.

 

On another computer or the one were working with?


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