According to Microsoft statistics, the most popular sound driver for Windows operating systems is Realtek HD Audio Driver. It is controlled by the Realtek’s software called High Definition Audio Manager. The combination of good drivers and user-friendly software packed with many useful features and 6-channel DAC support with 16/20/24-bit Pulse Code Modulation explains why this solution is so popular.  

Sound drivers such as Realtek HD Audio Driver are needed for Windows to be able to playback and control sound in the system. It offers high-quality sound serving as a link between your audio card and sound output device. Having a proper audio driver installed is important for the enhanced sound experience. With recent Windows updates, many users complained about various difficulties with using this particular sound driver. Some reported the Audio Manager icon missing from the notification section, taskbar, and system tray. It is more highly likely to happen after changing a sound card or installing a Windows update. So, your best bet – reinstall the driver.  

In this guide, we will cover a few most common issues with the Realtek HD Audio Manager and audio driver. This includes missing software icons, missing files, and the inability to launch the program.

Preparing to Reinstall Realtek HD Audio software

Installing new drivers should always start with deleting the old ones so they won’t counteract. Old versions of the same driver software might leave some files and duplicates that can conflict with new drivers. Here is what you need to do before reinstalling Realtek HD Audio Manager:

  • Open the Start menu and search for Device Manager.
  • Open Device Manager and click on the Sound submenu.
  • Find the Realtek High Definition Audio driver.
  • Right-click on the driver and select “Uninstall” from the context menu.
Device Manager

A new window will pop up – check the box “Delete the driver software for this device” and click Uninstall.

Uninstall Device

When it is done, open the View tab. Then select “Show hidden devices” from the menu.

Show hidden devices

Now you need to see if there any duplicates left. Right-click a duplicate and uninstall it. Now you need to reboot your PC.

When the previous driver is completely wiped, you can manually download the latest version of Realtek Audio driver from the official website. The link to do that is www.realtek.com/en/downloads.

Realtek Drivers Download

Use search to find the audio driver you need, then download the installer on your computer. Then double-click the package and follow the instructions to finish the installation. There is a slight chance that you will still be missing the component or had difficulties with launching the program. If so, please, continue reading, we have a few more suggestions for you. 

How to Fix Realtek HD Audio Manager issues

1. You can try to fix driver conflicts by disabling Microsoft Universal Audio Architecture Bus Driver for high definition audio

Press Win+X on your keyboard and select Device Manager from the menu and click on the System Devices submenu.

Look for Microsoft UAA Bus Driver for High Definition Audio.

Once you have located it, right-click and Disable it from the context menu.

Go to Windows Settings and open Apps & Features.

Select Realtek High Definition Audio Driver, then hit the Uninstall button. 

Realtek Uninstall

Open Device Manager again and right-click on the Microsoft driver you have disabled earlier. Select the Uninstall option from the context menu.

When all of the above is done, you can proceed to clean reinstall of your Realtek HD Audio driver.

Now you are ready to reinstall the Realtek HD Audio Driver

2. Use Task Manager to enable the startup

Open the Start menu and search for Task Manager.

Run it and go to the Startup tab.

Find Realtek HD Audio Manager.

Check its status – it should be Enabled. If it is not, use right-click and change it to Enabled.

Realtek Startup

Now reboot your computer.

3. Install the latest version of the sound driver software

This method can help, if your system still cannot locate the Realtek Audio software on your computer.

Press Win+X and run Device Manager.

Click on the submenu called Sound, video and game controllers.

In that submenu find Realtek High Definition Audio. Select Update driver from the right-click context menu.

Realtek Driver Update

Select the “Browse my computer for driver software” option (you must have the latest version of the installer pre-downloaded before doing this).

Install Drivers

Click and choose the “Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer” option.

Search and select the latest driver and confirm your action by clicking Next to update.

4. Add Legacy hardware

Open Device Manager (Win+X or just type the name in the search bar in the Start menu).

Look for the submenu called Sound, video and game controllers and click on it.

Now go to the Action tab above and select Add legacy hardware from the menu.

Add legacy hardware

In the next menu just click Next, then select the “Search for and install the hardware automatically (Recommended)” option.

Add Hardware

Click Next to install the driver manually.