First off, if the answer to this is simply "you can't," I'm okay with that.

That said - in Windows 7, I open the properties of the audio out on my sound card, change the default format from 16 bit to 24 bit (or vice versa) and get this message: The device is being used by another application. If you continue, that application may stop working.

... what is "another application?" Is there any way to find something, anything - the name of the file, the path to the .exe or whatever - anything that will tell me what application has a stranglehold on my sound card?

If it helps, my sound card is an external, M-Audio fast track pro, and yes, the drivers are current.

1 Answer 1


The Volume Control application, accessible by right-clicking on the volume icon in the notification area next to your clock on the taskbar, or by running sndvol, should identify what applications are presently using your sound card.

  • 1
    You can just click the speaker and then "Mixer", and as for the latter option: "Windows cannot find 'sndvol32'. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again."
    – Mark Sowul
    Mar 6, 2011 at 2:07
  • @Mark Apparently Microsoft dropped the 32 sometime after Windows XP. I'll update my original answer. Thanks!
    – Patches
    Mar 6, 2011 at 2:24
  • wow, that is ingeniously simple. why didn't I think of that. I've been having issues with DAW software glitching because other applications keep tweaking my soundcard's sample rate and whatnot, so I'll give this a shot and see if it helps me track down the offending program. Mar 6, 2011 at 4:27
  • Yep, you were right - turns out both Steam and iTunes somehow kept getting priority over the device. Good call, patches. Mar 6, 2011 at 22:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.