I tried to change my speaker setup and every time I click "test" I get this error message on Windows 7 SP1. I tried running "sndvol" to view the applications list but the list is empty.

Since I tried to test the new speaker setup, I'm now left without sound for all applications and can't get sound even if I switch back.

I have not updated my sound drivers so I don't know what could have changed.

What could be causing this?

  • I may know what could be causing it, but I don't think I know a way of fixing it. There's an audio API called WASAPI from Windows Vista on, and one of the things applications can request when using it is exclusive sound access. If one such application is running you wouldn't hear sound form the others even if they were playing something.
    – Xandy
    Oct 30, 2012 at 21:26
  • @anot - Question isn't about Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10,0 it is specifically about Windows 7, so #windows is not an appropriate tag.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 22, 2016 at 21:10
  • This seems to be a common problem for older AMD A-Series processors. The 15.7.1 WHQL driver bundle has well known audio issues which will cause the exact problem described above. The solution is to roll back the audio driver to previous version, or you can install the 16.2.1 beta version which fixed the issue. Jan 1, 2019 at 21:50

4 Answers 4


I had the same error on Windows 7 and managed to fix it by simply restarting the Windows Audio service. If it doesn't work, disable and re-enable the sound device using device manager.

  • 2
    Thanks, since today (Windows 8.1), everything seems to suddenly stop playing sound, or refusing to play out of my headphones (instead wanting to play out of my TV or optical which isn't even in use), disabling my headphones did nothing, usually had to re-plug them. Restarting Windows Audio seems to have fixed it.
    – Someguy123
    Aug 20, 2015 at 17:33
  • When Windows 10 booted up it made a sound. By the time I logged in no sound was possible. Restarting the "Windows Audio" service restored sound. Now to investigate the Event Log. Jun 12, 2016 at 18:54
  • disable/re-enable sound device worked for me on windows 7
    – liang
    Feb 11, 2020 at 12:03

In the properties of your audio device, there should be a checkbox option labelled "Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device". IIRC it is enabled by default; disabling it and rebooting should resolve your issue.

  • Same here but I wish I could figure out what program suddenly started taking exclusive control. Kind of makes me worry about malware Jul 16, 2014 at 22:43
  • 2
    This actually isn't working for me. It appeared to work once, but even with that disabled, some program is still taking control of them. Any ideas on how to identify which program is the culprit? Jul 18, 2014 at 3:26
  • 2
    Odd, I'm also getting the same lock even after disabling the exclusive control
    – DWils
    Aug 31, 2015 at 5:53

Best to combine both answers here.

As a resolution for now, execute in elevated prompt

net stop "AudioSrv" && net start "AudioSrv"

This restarts the Windows Audio Service. (Reboot will also work.)

To prevent future problems, disallow apps to get exclusive control to the device by going to sound -> (select device from list) -> properties -> advanced -> Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device .

  • 1
    Already did that, but even without that settings it still says the device is in use. Seems to happen after a while though, and it's the HDMI out on my AMD GPU.
    – m-p-3
    Jan 8, 2016 at 16:46
  • Same problem here as m-p-3. Happens as soon as the computer has booted, on HDMI output for my AMD Graphics Card
    – Teocali
    Jan 9, 2016 at 11:06
  • 2
    Ok, found a solution : Uninstall Program >= Right click on AMD Catalyct control center > Change > Selected custom uninstallation and desinstalled the driver for the HDMI chipset. My guess is that the AMD driver was in conflict with the windows driver. I searched how to deinstall the window one to give priority to the AMD one but no luck for the moment.
    – Teocali
    Jan 9, 2016 at 11:16
  • For AMD chipset issues I was able to fix things by manually selecting a newer version of the driver (which was already installed) by clicking "Update Driver" on the driver tab of the device property dialog.
    – BrianS
    Feb 26, 2018 at 5:39

I had the same problem, and I solved it by installing an update (Chipset_Intel_Win_8) from the Asus website. I have an Asus RS51.

  • 1
    Please leave a comment if you vote down.
    – pelms
    Nov 12, 2014 at 11:16

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