I'm trying to downgrade my Realtek High Definition Audio driver, currently

Realtek High Definition Audio driver

It's not as simple as clicking "Update Driver..." because here's what happens:

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3

So, naturally, I tried uninstalling the driver. But, then, I cannot install the new driver without restarting my computer. And when I restart my computer, the default driver is already halfway through installation by the time I get back to the Device Manager dialog, putting me back to square one.

Is there a way to get around the "The best driver software for your device is already installed [...] Windows has determined the driver software for your device is up to date" prompt and force installation of an older driver?

  • I tried checking the box to delete driver files after uninstall, and then disconnecting my Internet connection to prevent Windows from possibly downloading drivers online; however, Windows then auto-installs its own audio driver, which leads to the same issue: I cannot downgrade my audio driver! Aug 28, 2013 at 17:10
  • What problem are you trying to solve by installing a different driver?
    – Ramhound
    Aug 28, 2013 at 17:13
  • I do not see "Stereo Mix" in my recording devices (even while showing disabled and disconnected devices), and I found several users in this forum saying that downgrading their audio driver brought back the option. Aug 28, 2013 at 17:15
  • @Ramhound - and "Stereo Mix" is now there, too! Thanks for taking a look anyhow. Silly Windows UI... Aug 28, 2013 at 17:21

1 Answer 1


I think you just have to persistently tell it no, and a force manual installation.

Follow these steps:

  1. Locate manually
  2. Let Me pick from the list
  3. Have disk
  4. Browse, find the INF and whatever other persistent manual is necessary.

With enough persistence you can even install a completely wrong driver into a driver slot, very rarely you could even cause a no-boot situation. Hopefully you know what it is and what belongs there for sure before forcing it in.

  • Oh, man! That worked! I just didn't imagine "Let me pick from a list [...]" going anywhere useful, by its description, "This list will show installed driver software compatible with the device [...]" Turns out, as you pointed out, the "Have disk..." option was what I needed, and it's hidden in there. Thanks! Aug 28, 2013 at 17:18
  • @acheong87 - You can manually locate the Reltek HD Audio .inf files for this device and remove them. This would force Windows to either prompt you for the driver or download it. I experienced having to do this when moving from official drive with a digital signature and an unsigned driver using a different driver model for a device. The two would install conflicting driver files and they could not exist with one another ( even in an unused state ).
    – Ramhound
    Aug 28, 2013 at 17:34

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