Latest Windows 10 update issue is trashing audio quality

Windows 10 audio issues

After the latest Windows 10 updates, a number of issues have
arisen, specifically for version 20H2, or the October 2020
Update. Microsoft recently confirmed that
it’s aware of issues with game performance and it has
already deployed a server-side fix for affected PCs.

Now reports have come through from users experiencing audio
issues after the update and it appears that the Redmond giant
is already investigating the reports. The bug has been reported
after the
May 2021 Patch Tuesday update, particularly
Windows 10 KB5003173, which was released on May 11 for
version 20H2 and version 2004.

The problems seem to occur randomly and users have experienced
audio issues in games too. However, it doesn’t affect sounds
played in browsers like Microsoft Edge. The audio issues may
include volume much lower than usual, audio shuttering or
high-pitched noise even when using the system’s default volume
setting.

“I had also audio problems after this update. Also, it messed
up group policies too. So I rolled back with system restore,” a
user wrote in a Reddit thread.

The good news is that Microsoft has acknowledged the problem in
a new update to the support document. According to the company,
some devices (particularly 5.1 Dolby Digital) may play a
high-pitched noise on PCs running all the latest versions of
Windows 10.

In addition to Dolby issues, users can also experience squeak
sound (a spike in the volume) in certain apps when using
affected audio devices.

Here’s the list of affected Windows 10 updates and versions:

  • Windows 10 version 20H2 and version 2004: KB5000842
    (released in March), KB5001330 (released in April), KB5001391
    (released in April), and KB5003173 (released in May).

To address audio issues, you can either
uninstall the Windows 10 updates manually or follow these
steps:

  • Method 1: Stream the video or audio in your web browser
    instead of the app affected by the problems. For example, if
    you’re having issues with Groove Music, switch to the web
    browser and try playing the audio there.
    Windows Sonic
  • Method 2: Right-click on the volume icon pinned to the
    taskbar and click on Spatial sound (Off). Select Windows Sonic,
    Dobly or any other available options.

If the above workarounds don’t work, you can also try switching
between the audio quality from Control Panel audio settings. In
some cases, enabling and disabling sound effects will also fix
the issue.

Hopefully, Microsoft will address the audio issues in Windows
10 with the upcoming optional updates and include the fix for
everyone in the next Patch Tuesday update, which is scheduled
to arrive on June 8.

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