Windows Errors

Fix High Definition Audio Device Code 10 Error on Windows 10/11

Though code 10 error: this device cannot start, can happen to any hardware device, but most of the cases occur to audio devices and USB devices. That is why this tutorial focuses on High Definition Audio.

Cannot hear sound from the speaker or headphone? Or when you go to the Realtek High Definition audio in device manager, it shows you that this device cannot start in Windows 10?

This code 10 error results from the driver issue or problem, such as driver missing or corrupted. In other words, fix the High Definition audio driver cannot start issue can depend on solving the driver compatibility problem.

Therefore, if no audio with this device cannot start error comes to Windows 10, it is a good choice for you to refer to this passage.


Solution 1: Open Windows Audio Services

Code 10 error is created by the failed communication between device manager and the hardware device or because of the outdated or corrupted device drivers. Furthermore, if you have disabled Windows audio services, it will cause the Realtek High Definition Audio not start.

As Windows audio is a Windows-based program and if it is disabled, the audio device will function improperly. So when it is shown to us that the High Definition audio cannot start, you would better try to open the Windows audio services and Windows Audio Endpoint Builder. Therefore, you need to make sure your audio service is turned on and won’t cause HD audio error 10 with no sound.

1. Press Windows + R to open the run box and then enter services.msc in the box. Click OK to move on.

2. In Services window, locate Windows Audio and then right click it to Start it if it has not yet opened.

Here if you have started Windows Audio service, it is also necessary to change its startup type for Windows 10.

3. Right click Windows Audio to open its Properties.

4. In Window Audio Properties, under the General tab, find out Startup type and then change it to Automatic.

5. Then hit Apply and OK to save changes. After that, check whether there is sound from your audio device.

But if the error still persists, you can go ahead to find the final solution.

Solution 2: Uninstall High Definition Audio Driver

Now that it presents that this Realtek High Definition audio cannot start on Windows 10, so it is your instinct to uninstall this Realtek High Definition audio driver and then reinstall it on your PC.

1: Enter Device Manager.

2: Expand Sound, video, and game Controller.

3: Locate Realtek High Definition Audio driver and right click it to Uninstall it.

uninstall realtek audio driver

4: Reboot your computer to let it take effect.

Finally, Windows 10 will help you reinstall the Realtek HD audio drivers without the operation of yourself.

But maybe sometimes, this way of downloading the audio driver by Windows 10 cannot make the HD audio driver start to work, so you would better update this Realtek HD audio driver in a comprehensive way.

Solution 3: Update HD Audio Drivers

There is the quickest way to update the Realtek HD audio driver to the latest version in order to fix the code 10 error. To be more specific, you are able to use Driver Booster to update the audio driver for you.

As a professional and safe driver downloading and updating tool, you can find drivers of all sorts, Realtek HD audio driver is just a piece of cake. So you may as well download Driver Booster to your PC.

It is worth noting that Driver Booster is able to fix Device Manager code errors, with no exception for error code 10 with Realtek High Definition audio device.

1. Download, install and run Driver Booster on Windows 10.[

2. After installing and running it, hit Scan on it to start searching for outdated, missing, and corrupted drivers.

driver booster scan now

You can see your Realtek HD audio driver is listed in to-be-updated list in Driver Booster.

3. Then find out Sound, video and game controllers to Update the HD audio driver for Windows 10.

driver booster update audio driver

With the updated High definition audio driver, such as Realtek audio driver and sound device, if you noticed in Device Manager the error code 10 remains next to your HD audio device, move on to fix this device cannot start error on Windows 10.

4. In the left side of Driver Booster, find out Tools and then choose to Fix device error.

5. Then as you can see, Driver Booster is detecting and trying to fix the error code 10.

The moment Driver Booster updated HD audio driver and managed to fix this device cannot start code 10, you can use your microphone or speaker again to see if there is sound from the audio devices.

Solution 4: Modify Registry Entry

In terms of this error code 10 with High definition audio device, you can also make an attempt to change the registry entries. But before that, you may as well back up your data on Windows 10.

1. Press Windows + R to activate the Run box and then type in regedit in the box. Lastly, hit OK to move on.

2. In Registry Editor, navigate to here.


3. Then under this key, on the right pane, find and right click its subkey UpperFilters to Delete it.

4. Locate LowerFilters and right click it to Delete it as well.

5. Confirm to remove these two subkeys by hitting Yes.

6. Reboot Windows 10 to take effect.

If possible, the time you boot up again, there won’t be high definition audio device code 10 this device cannot start on Windows 10.

Solution 5: Disable PCI Lock

Though PCI Lock on your PC can prevent you from reallocating input and output, it does sometimes cause errors including Realtek code 10 on Windows 10. On that occasion, you would better try to turn off it to see if it works for this device cannot start error.

1. Search msconfig in the search box and then press Enter to get into System configuration.

2. In System Configuration, under the boot tab, hit Advanced options.

3. Then find out PCI Lock and then uncheck it to disable it.

After that, check in Device Manager if error code 10 with High definition persists and whether you are able to hear sound from microphone or speaker.

In a word, this post will help you get rid of high definition audio device error code 10. This device cannot start code 10 can be fixed if you can find a way suitable.

More Articles:

3 Ways to Update Realtek Audio Drivers for Windows 10/11

Fix Realtek HD Audio Manager Won’t Open or Missed on Windows 10/11

5.1 Channel Surround Sound Not Working on Windows 10/11

Jane He
Jane is a tech-writer and content writer with an endless passion for exploring computer problems and technologies. She loves solving problems and helping others with challenges in dealing with technical problems. Hence, she has been writing articles for to provide technical support and suggestions for people.

1 Comment

  1. Hi,

    Thank you very much for your guides here, they were a complete sanity-saver. Windows 10 Pro x64 v21H2 was generating a “device cannot start, it may have been disabled by another driver on your system – error 20” error on the “High Definition Audio Device” in the System Devices section of Device Manager, nothing at all in Sound, Video and Game Controllers, and a red cross over the speaker in System Tray.

    I had spent hours researching various forums and riding the usual ‘remove-audio-drivers/reboot/reinstall-driver/uninstall-again/try-different-driver’ merry-go-round – even clean-installing Windows 10, but OEM drivers from HP for my laptop didn’t resolve the issue; their web site response just being “Windows 10 isn’t supported for the Envy M6 series laptops”. No reason for this as it usually runs perfectly well; this problem started following a re-image.

    Anyway, I then stumbled across your web site and, as a last ditch response before trying to recreate the OOB Vista config, I thought I’d try your registry edits as nobody else had suggested anything even close to this, and to my relief and delight, they sorted the problem straight away! Sound is now fully installed and working properly.

    The only slight tweak I had to make is that the registry key that you described above, which pointed to a CDROM device on my laptop, to the following key:
    with the class description of MEDIA. Deleting the ‘UpperFilters’ value (there was no ‘LowerFilters’ value) and then rebooting the PC kicked the Realtek HD audio device and the High Def Audio Controller back into life, and now harmony reins throughout the kingdom, and it sounds fab too!

    So thank you again, your advice is right on-point.

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