Microsoft shares workarounds for broken audio on Windows 10 after KB5015878

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According to the latest update from Microsoft on the official Windows Health Dashboard website, KB5015878 causes all sorts of audio problems on systems running Windows 10. The company has officially acknowledged the problem, shared workarounds for the affected customers, and applied the Known Issue Rollback System (KIR) to prevent the bug from spreading.

The software giant says the newest known bug in Windows 10 affects computers differently. Some users experience a complete audio blackout, while others only have audio on specific ports, devices, or applications. Microsoft's findings reveal that the affected audio drivers have the "audio enhancements" setting disabled before installing KB5015878, or the sound device driver has issues with the "audio enhancements" feature.

To prevent the problem from spreading, Microsoft applied the Known Issue Rollback system that can undo problematic changes without any action required from the end user. Interestingly, this time, KIR only ensures the bug will not affect other systems. Those who already have audio issues on Windows 10 after installing KB5015878 should apply one of three workarounds described below:

If you have not yet installed the update, you can do the following to prevent the issue:

  • Updating your audio device driver (also called "sound drivers" or "sound card drivers") might prevent this issue. If there are updated drivers available on Windows Update or from your Windows device manufacturer's (OEM) webpage, installing them might prevent this issue.
  • If you are using any advanced audio applications such as Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), it is recommended that you backup all your settings before installing the update.

If only certain apps are impacted, you can try the following to mitigate the issue:

  • ​Verify that the audio devices set within those apps are the expected devices. Audio endpoints might be reinitialized after KB5015878 is installed and some apps might set the audio devices for microphone and speakers to default.
  • ​If the device settings within the app are as expected, the apps might be caching the Windows Multimedia Device (MMDevice) ID. Caching the MMDevice ID is not recommended and might require reinstallation of the affected app or contacting support for the developer of the app for how to resolve the issue when audio endpoints are reinitialized and have new MMDevice IDs.

If you have already installed the update and are experiencing issues with audio on all apps, you can try the following to mitigate the issue:

  • The Windows audio or sound troubleshooter might be able to resolve the issue for you. You can launch the troubleshooter from Fix sound or audio problems in Windows by selecting the Open Get Help button in the article. The Get Help dialog window should open, and you will need to select yes to open the troubleshooter.
  • If your device's audio is still not working as expected, follow the instructions in Disable Audio Enhancements. Note: The article uses the microphone as an example, but you will need to do the steps for any affected audio device.

The audio bug in KB5015878 affects only client Windows 10 versions 20H2, 21H1, and 21H2. It should not bother Windows 11 users, just like the recently confirmed BitLocker recovery bug does not affect Windows 10 customers.

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