I have an Asus Maximus VIII Ranger motherboard running Windows 10 Pro. Yesterday, I updated the bios and installed a new version of the Realtek audio driver that was there on the Asus website. Audio playback was present until today evening, when the sound from the speakers stopped. I looked at the list of Playback Devices and the Realtek device was missing from there. Device Manager has an yellow exclamation mark against 'High Definition Audio Controller' under 'System devices', where the error is:

This device cannot start. (Code 10)

{Operation Failed} The requested operation was unsuccessful.

When I reinstall the Realtek drivers, installation proceeds successfully, but the files that it claims to copy into Program Files and Program Files(x86) disappear immediately after installation completes, and the Realtek device does not appear in the list of playback devices.

I refreshed and reset Windows 10, but the issue still persists. I even tried to install the older Realtek drivers, and the drivers from the Realtek website (instead of the Asus website) but it made no difference. What may be the issue with the drivers?

  • Have you tried to extract the .inf file from the installer and manually point device manager to that file for this device? – Ramhound Sep 27 '16 at 20:22
  • Yes, I pointed Device Manager to the folder containing all the inf files. It failed to find anything and just said 'The latest drivers are already installed'. It's unusual though, that the entry in Device Manager does not have Realtek in its name. It's just 'High Definition Audio Controller'. – Abhishek Shanthkumar Sep 28 '16 at 4:33
  • Have you viewed the correct inf to confirm it isn't declared to only support earlier versions of Windows? – Ramhound Sep 28 '16 at 4:40
  • No, I didn't check that. I'll try it out. Also, my problem is exactly as this guy here faced - techspot.com/community/topics/… – Abhishek Shanthkumar Sep 28 '16 at 6:27
  • Wouldn't know about other sites only know what is stated at this site – Ramhound Sep 28 '16 at 11:09

Windows 10 Pro 64bit Driver Signature Enforcement is ON, forcing non-signed files to be rejected and the device driver not installed.

Using the Device Manager - Realtek High Definition Audio.

Device Manager has a yellow exclamation mark against 'Realtek High Definition Audio' under Sound, video and game controllers.

It seems that the Windows signature was not valid for files in the Realtek High Definition Audio 64 bit installation software (ASUS link to Global Download 64bit) that was recommended to install.


The Device Drivers properties showed the following

Windows cannot verify the digital signature for the drivers required for this device. A recent hardware or software change might have installed a file that is signed incorrectly or damaged, or that might be malicious software from an unknown source. (Code 52)

On investigation of the driver files it seems that the Realtek installation installed the file C:\Windows\System32\drivers\ksthunk.sys which had no Windows signature.

I searched Microsoft, ASUS and Realtek web sites as well as www but I was unable to find any details.

I decided to delete the offending file using regedit

I delete this key (including child).


I was unable to delete the file C:\Windows\System32\drivers\ksthunk.sys.

Require permission from TrustedInstaller to make changes to the file.

Rebooted the machine.

X still against sound shown again.

Ran the trouble shooting against the audio again, selected fix.

This time the fix worked – and advised the device was working correctly.

The sound starting to work.

It seems software by ASUS / Realtek are supplying 32bit software files without signatures which is causing the problem.

Realtek should develop a package with only 64bit files with Windows signatures for their Realtek High Definition Audio driver installation.

Still have 2 more drivers to investigate which are 32bit software files without signatures

Microsoft Streaming Quality Manager Proxy
Microsoft Streaming Tee/Sink-to-Sink Converter


  • You should edit and clean this up to make it tidier looking when you get a chance. – Pimp Juice IT Jul 16 '17 at 16:10

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