Windows Update keeps breaking things. Earlier this week, Microsoft released a buggy Intel audio driver that broke the sound on some PCs. If your PC suddenly can’t play audio, here’s how to fix it.

Update: Microsoft has released a new patch to resolve the problem. Windows Update KB4468550 now removes the driver automatically from systems that received it incorrectly. Which means that you should be able to check for updates and it will be fixed once the new patch is installed. If you don’t trust  Windows Update, you can also follow the instructions below.

Bleeping Computer brought this to our attention, but the official details come straight from Matthew van Eerde, a Senior Software Engineer on Microsoft’s Windows team. He writes:

An Intel audio driver was incorrectly pushed to devices via Windows Update for a short period of time earlier this week. After receiving reports from users that their audio no longer works, we immediately removed it and started investigating. If your audio broke recently, and you’re running Windows 10 version 1803 or above, please check to see if the incorrect driver was installed. To regain audio, we recommend you uninstall the driver.

The buggy update in question is version of the Intel Audio Controller driver.

The rest of the official Microsoft blog post outlines the instructions for removing the buggy driver. To do so, you’ll need to launch the Device Manager and locate a device named something like “Intel SST Audio Controller.” You’ll open the device’s properties window, uninstall it from your system, and tell Windows to delete the device driver. You’ll then reboot your PC. Windows will detect the device and install the correct driver. Your sound will work again.

For detailed step-by-step instructions to fixing this problem, read Microsoft’s blog post. We didn’t experience this problem on any of our systems, but we trust Microsoft’s official instructions.

This happened the same week as the Windows 10 October 2018 Update deleting some people’s files, but this buggy driver update also affected people running Windows 10 with the previous April 2018 Update. Microsoft needs to fix its quality assurance process. We’ve been complaining about Windows Updates breaking things since 2017, and problems just keep happening.

More importantly, Microsoft should quickly fix problems like this via Windows Update. Microsoft could just release a new Intel audio driver update that fixed the problem rather than forcing Windows users to hunt down blog posts and do this kind of tweaking.

It’s ridiculous that we even have to write this post. Come on, Microsoft.

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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