Windows 10 20H2 till 21H2: Update KB5015878 causes audio issues

Windows[German]The preview update released in July 2022 or later updates can cause audio issues on Windows 10 (version 20H2 to 21H1) on various devices. Microsoft has since acknowledged this issue and documented the problem, as well as provided a Known Issues Rollback (KIR) solution that prevents the update from being installed. Here's a brief overview of what's going on.


Windows 10 Update KB5015878

The preview update KB5015878 was released on July 26, 2022 for Windows 10 version 20H2 (Enterprise and Education) as well as Windows 10 version 21H1-21H2. Furthermore, there was the update for Windows Server 20H2, which fell out of support on August 9, 2022. I had reported in the blog post Windows 10 Preview Update KB5015878 (July 26, 2022) about the numerous fixes in the update. For example, fixes were also made to the XAudio API for sound playback – which were then also included in the August cumulative update KB5016616 (see Patchday: Windows 10-Updates (August 9, 2022)). A preview update for August 2022 is not yet available for Windows 10 21Hx.

Audio problems since update KB5015878

With the preview update or later updates, audio problems can occur under Windows 10 (version 20H2 to 21H1) on various devices. The information can be found in the Windows status area in the Known Issues section of the affected versions. There it says with a date of August 19, 2022:

After installing KB5015878 or newer updates, some Windows devices may experience audio playback issues. Some affected Windows devices may not hear any sound, while other affected Windows devices may experience problems only with certain ports, certain audio devices, or only in certain applications. Most affected audio device drivers have the Audio Enhancements setting disabled prior to installing KB5015878, or the sound device driver has issues with the Audio Enhancements feature.

Windows 10 client versions 20H2 (there are probably only a few machines still in support), 21H2 and 21H2 are affected. Windows Server 20H2 is not listed as affected.

Various workarounds

Microsoft gives several possible solutions. First, updating the audio device driver (also called "sound driver" or "sound card driver") is recommended to prevent the problem. The key here is to check the device manufacturer's (OEM) website to see if a driver update is available.

If advanced audio applications such as Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) are used, back up all settings before installing the update.

If only certain applications are affected, you can try the following to mitigate the problem:


  • Verify the audio devices set in these applications. Audio endpoints may be reinitialized after installing KB5015878, and some applications may set the audio devices for microphone and speakers to default.
  • If the device settings within the application are correct, the applications may cache the Windows Multimedia Device ID (MMDevice). Caching the MMD device ID is not recommended and may require reinstalling the affected app or contacting the app developer's support to resolve the issue if the audio endpoints are reinitialized and have new MMD device IDs.

If the update has already been installed and all apps are experiencing audio issues, Microsoft says users can access the Windows Audio or Sound troubleshooter. You can launch the troubleshooter in Fixing audio or sound problems in Windows by clicking the Open Help button in the article. The Open Help dialog box should open, and you must select Yes to open the troubleshooter. This wizard may be able to fix the problem.

If audio still doesn't work as expected, Microsoft suggests following the instructions in Disabling audio enhancements. The article in question uses the microphone as an example, but affected users will need to follow the steps for each affected audio device.

KIR as Microsoft fix prevents installation

As a solution, Microsoft has since released a Known Issue Rollback (KIR) that prevents the problem on Windows devices that have not yet installed KB5015878. KIR does not affect devices that are already affected. It should be noted that it may take up to 24 hours for the fix to automatically roll out to consumer devices and unmanaged enterprise devices. Restarting your Windows device may help the solution apply to your device faster.

For managed enterprise devices (WSUS, Intune, etc.) that have an affected update installed and are experiencing this issue, administrators can resolve the issue by downloading, installing and configuring a special Group Policy.

Download for Windows 10, version 21H2, Windows 10, version 21H2, Windows 10, version 20H2KB5015878 220706_045043 Known Issue Rollback

The special group policy can be found after installation under Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> <group policy name>. For information about deploying and configuring this special group policy, How to use Group Policy to deploy a Known Issue Rollback. (via)

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Windows 10 Preview Update KB5015878 (July 26, 2022)
Patchday: Windows 10-Updates (August 9, 2022)

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