“The audio service is not running” – Complete Guide to Fix the Error

the audio service is not running

If you have been a Windows user for years, chances are you have seen this error more than once. Although annoying, the problem can be resolved in a number of ways.

The most common cause of “The audio service is not running” problem is an outdated Windows sound driver.  However, there are other reasons for the issue as well and below we propose several steps you can take to troubleshoot it and restore sound to your PC:

  1. Run Windows Audio Services.

  • Press Windows key + R and type “services.msc” in the open field. A new Services window will pop up. Find the following services: Windows Audio, Windows Audio Endpoint Builder, Plug and Play.

windows services

  • Ensure the Startup Type of each of them is Automatic. If it is not, make the necessary changes.
  • Ensure the Status of each service is Automatic. In case one of them is not, double click the service and from the General tab, switch the type accordingly.
  • Run msconfig with the Windows key + R and type “msconfig” in the Open field.
  • In the System Configuration window find the aforementioned services and ensure each one of them is checked:

system configuration

  • Apply the changes and restart your computer.
  1. Remove the sound drivers.

  • Press Windows key + R and type in “ devmgmt.msc” to open the Device Manager window. Expand the content of “Sound, video and game controllers” and find the audio device. This won’t be the same on every computer.

device manager

  • Double click it, go to the Driver tab of the newly-opened window and then on “Uninstall Device”.
  • Confirm that you want to uninstall it and then wait until it is done.
  • As a final step, go to the Device Manager we previously opened and from the Action tab, click on Scan for hardware changes. This will try to discover a new driver for your device. Install it and restart the PC to apply the changes.
  1. Run Windows Audio Components.

  • Press Windows key + R and type in “services.msc”.
  • Double click the Windows Audio service to open its properties and switch to the Dependencies tab
  • Expand all the items below “This service depends on the following system components”.

audio properties

  • Make sure all of them are Running in the Services window!
  • Right-click on the Windows Audio service, restart it and then restart your computer as well.
  • Check if this resolves your issue!
  1. Run Windows troubleshooter.

  • Open the control panel and in search field enter “troubleshooting”. You should see “Hardware and Sound”:


  • Click it and it will display a link for troubleshooting your audio problems. Click on “Playing Audio”.
  • Click on “Advanced” at the bottom left of the window and make sure the checkbox next to “Apply repairs automatically” is checked.
  • Click on “Next” and the wizard will troubleshoot any sound issues for you automatically. If it asks you to apply a fix, do it and reboot the PC to apply the changes.
  1. Increase your computer’s volume.

As ironic as it may sound, many Windows users have found that adjusting their PC’s volume even slightly, solves the problem for them. If your taskbar sound icon has a rex X, click on it to see a small volume. Try to adjust your computer’s volume by moving the slider left and right. If doing so removes the red X on the sound icon and the message “The Audio Service is not running” no longer appears when you hover over the audio icon, you have resolved your problem.

If you have tried out all the proposed solutions, you have done a lot towards resolving this particular problem. However, if the issue persists, you can always contact the support of your sound card manufacturer or start a discussion on a Windows support forum. Whatever your choice, you will see the aforementioned solutions recommended by others too.

About the author


is a Software Developer and the main writer behind Computer Realm.

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