Is there a way to reset or restart the audio (stack) of Windows without logging off or restarting the OS?

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    Why do you want to do this? What are you trying to accomplish? The 'audio stack' is composed of multiple parts, any of which may be causing whatever problem you have. – Bob Aug 10 '12 at 6:21
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    @Bob You would be surprised, but, this does fix quite a few audio related problems. – William Hilsum Aug 10 '12 at 6:41
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    @Bob: About 1 in 10 times, all my audio fails when I dock or undock. I've contacted the hardware manufacturer to no avail. The solution below (restarting AudioSrv) works 100% to fix this. This is not an XY problem, it's a common approach to fix things in Windows when they don't work. – PonyEars Dec 25 '13 at 0:30
  • @Bob just now, some process consumed a lot of memory, and the system was out of RAM. As usual, Firefox and several other things crashed, but this time, audio broke, too. Restarting AudioSrv resolved it in no time. – WGH Mar 30 '14 at 14:07
  • I've received several responses to my comment, the latest from @WGH. My point isn't that it won't help, my point is that it's useful to include more information in a question - and it's usually better to fix the root cause, since restarting the audio service (which is just a small part of the 'audio stack', and wont necessarily help with kernel-mode driver errors) is definitely not normal behaviour, and a patchy solution at best. – Bob Mar 30 '14 at 14:16


Go to an elevated command prompt and type net stop AudioSrv followed by net start AudioSrv

or right click on Computer, click on Manage and expand Services. Right click on Windows Audio and click restart.

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    Thanks man. Works for me to resolve my presently-undiagnosed audio issue. – Preston Sep 1 '13 at 16:56
  • Downvoting only because this is not sufficient on my HP netbook with Windows 7 Starter. – hippietrail May 27 '14 at 11:45
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    My sound must have been super borked because this didn't work for me, but restarting did. sigh :( I'm on Windows 10 (v1703). – Chiramisu Jun 7 '17 at 18:25

FWIW, I created a batch file that does the whole kit-and-kaboodle (including UAC prompting)


Tested on Windows 10.

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    Please quote the essential parts of the answer from the reference link(s), as the answer can become invalid if the linked page(s) change. – DavidPostill Mar 5 '16 at 19:55

Let me put my small tweak here... Restarting audio services helps sometimes but in my case the problem was that sometimes one channel ONLY (most of the time it's the left one) suddenly stops. Restarting audio services did not fix it. What i do with success is simply go into speaker settings - advanced and change the "default format" to something else (e.g.24bit 48khz studio quality) , apply the new setting and then revert to my preferred one and apply the new setting again. That fixes it every time.

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