back to article I have no mouth and I must scream: You can add audio to wobbles in latest Windows 10 patch

Microsoft seems unable to catch a break with its Windows 10 updates. No sooner than it acknowledged that its CPU usage fix borked desktop search for some, users complained that the patch has also caused audio issues. Released on 10 September for Windows 10 1903 (aka the May 2019 Update), KB4515384 is a security update that …

  1. theOtherJT

    Windows 10 audio _never_ works properly

    On one machine over the last 2 years I've had:

    Forgets that it has an internal audio out so you can only send audio over HDMI

    Forgets that it can send audio over HDMI so you can only use the headphone out.

    Turns the sound of everything else down during a skype call and then never turns it back up.

    Boots with *no audio devices at all* in the "modern" audio ui - but still actually has sound on all of them - you just can't control them.

    Routes multi-point audio massively incorrectly - left becomes centre, centre becomes rear-right, rear-left becomes a mix of other channels etc.

    Sometimes these problems change during a single session when some program that was playing sound takes a dirt nap and somehow takes out the underlying audio subsystem - which when restarted now has different problems than it had before the crash...

    I've honestly no idea how they managed to get this so wrong since running Windows 7 on the same machine I never had any of these problems.

    1. DailyLlama

      Re: Windows 10 audio _never_ works properly

      I think you need an exorcist rather than a support technician...

      1. simonlb

        Windows 10 will never work properly


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 10 audio _never_ works properly

      Have you tried re-configuring the primary power coupling?

      This is going to sound like a daft solution but have you renamed your audio output devices in the control panel? Give them names like fluffy, floppy and satan.

    3. cob2018

      Re: Windows 10 audio _never_ works properly

      You seem to be having what is hopefully a SHORT mental lapse. If history has taught us ANYTHING about the Rubbish from Redmond, the very last thing to expect from M$ is consistency.

      1. Jeroen Braamhaar

        Re: Windows 10 audio _never_ works properly

        Nono, Redmond IS consistent - they still reliably fuck up.

    4. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Windows 10 audio _never_ works properly

      Microsoft should just replace their wonky audio system with PulseAudio or ALSA...

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Windows 10 audio _never_ works properly

        Microsoft should just replace their wonky audio system with PulseAudio or ALSA...

        Ooh, them's fightin' words. Step outside.

    5. jason_derp Bronze badge

      Re: Windows 10 audio _never_ works properly

      Oh man, audio on Windows is such a shitshow. I had this problem where the audio would fall out of sync with anything on the internet, but nowhere else on the computer. Any and all settings were examined and changed, all browser options were explored, nothing ever fixed it. At the same time, video games would have stuttering sound issues as well. Sound card removed, different sound cards tried, no sound card at all, different speaker setups, different drivers.

      One of the ways to fix it was to do a completely clean install. It would work for a few weeks and then start again. After a few updates, the window where the audio would work shrunk more and more, until it would happen on even a brand new install. This was with literally NO other software installed other than Firefox and Morrowind, and I also took the liberty of writing over the drive with 0s 1s and random bits several times, to try and burn any of the f*ckwittery remaining off of the SSD.

      Finally I talked to their support, and I went through a multi-hour process of doing everything I could. Finally I got to somebody high enough to give a solid answer. "Hardware incompatability". Okay, which part? "Can't tell, too many vairables." Well, all the hardware seems to be working as well as it once did, and the sound worked well a year ago before a few of your sh*tcrafted updates, so I'd kind of like to know. Radio silence.

      Spent money to change the MOBO, switched from an Intel to an AMD, switched the RAM completely, switched to a new SSD, new video card, removed any sound boards, even changed the effing PSU because what the hell, I'm basically making a new computer anyways. Installed 10. SAME. THING. AS. BE. FORE.

      I use Linux now. In my opinion, Windows 10 is the greatest advertisement for Linux that could ever exist.

      1. Trixr

        Re: Windows 10 audio _never_ works properly

        Great "tech" if they don't know how to dump a list of the installed hardware and then compare it with the HCL:

        The Windows hardware compatibility list has been around for literally decades. If they could demonstrate that an installed device not on the list was present, maybe they'd have an argument.

        Then again, my only experience with their free support (in Win 7 days) was some utter moron insisting I had a virus when the start menu search failed. I didn't have a virus. He could not demonstrate I had a virus and in fact refused when I suggested I run any virus scanner he could recommend and upload the results. No, he closed the job with the "resolution" of a virus.

        And even if there was a virus, what was the fix? Still enraged when I think about it, years later.

    6. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Windows 10 audio _never_ works properly

      My experience is the same -- I had a Win 7 based system which worked fine, I "upgraded" to Win10 and it borked Bluetooth and then proceeded to bork the audio some revisions later. When you look up why you get the MSFT points at vendor and vendor points at MSFT loop. I just spent a few dollars on a USB audio adapter.

      Because upgrading Win10 is always an adventure my system dual boots to Linux or legacy Win10. Linux, needless to say, "just works". I keep Win10 around for a game (and then I'm not sure whether I can get a Linux version....).

      As for "I don't know how they can get it so wrong" I think the answer's something to do with digital rights. I've noticed, for example, that copying CDs is now practically impossible under Windows and even ripping is now hit and miss. The facility isn't removed, just degraded so you're herded gently but firmly towards streaming services where everything is centered around a media library and its 'apps', The process is subtle but inexorable -- you only really notice it if you've got legacy kit and you notice with every 'upgrade' how things you might have taken for granted just stop working.

    7. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Re: Windows 10 audio _never_ works properly

      I had a Win7 box with the generally really good Media Center. It was my DVR until Microsoft got rid of the programming guide. I have a nice Yamaha soundbar with HDMI, not optical, audio and can decode everything except the new Dolby ATMOS. Windows quite frequently forgets that the soundbar is 7.1 audio decode. There is only one fix: restart then go into audio settings and change back to 7.1.

      Because of the audio issues, I decided to replace the computer with a Pi4 with Kodi instead of Win10 with Kodi.

    8. Trixr

      Re: Windows 10 audio _never_ works properly

      Yeah, my wired headphone socket has not worked since some update last year. Yes, tested with multiple headphones. Not a hardware problem because I booted a Linux USB image and hey presto.

      Any meaningful help I've found in MS support pages? No, just a bunch bullsht responses and so-called MVPs closing threads as "solved" when they patently weren't.

  2. hplasm

    Stick a fork in Win10 -it's done!

    Except- it's all fork-hole and no sausage.

    (It was free- now it's worth Fork Hole...)

  3. Dave K Silver badge

    It doesn't matter though, because MS will just trot out the usual bumpf about "updates being of the highest quality ever", hence no need at all for anyone to have control over them.

    Which is odd come to think of it. Windows 7 patches weren't always perfect, but I've never seen Windows 7 patches break webcams, audio, search and all the rest of it...

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Must admit last night I saw my first continual BSOD on boot for Windows 10 followed by it rolling back.

      The rollback of the patch was welcome but my main machine now doesn't have the most recent security update.

    2. John 110

      "usual bumpf about "updates being of the highest quality ever""

      To paraphrase an ex-colleague "It doesn't have to be high quality, it just has to be adequate"

      I'll let you lot decide if it's adequate or not...

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        To quote a colleague:

        "It's a Microsoft doesn't have to work."

      2. The Central Scrutinizer

        Never mind the quality, feel the width!

        1. Someone Else Silver badge

          Width? Isn't that more like girth?

  4. abubasim

    Quite off topic but related to the article's title: have BBC's radio drama production of Harlam Elison's story with the author himself as AM here:

    1. Norman Nescio

      Oooh - thank you very much.

    2. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Did someone say off-topic?

      Reminds me of John Cage's "I have nothing to say and I am saying it, and that is poetry."

      (or this twisted preversion of it)

  5. Conundrum1885


    Seem to distantly recall this happening on 7 before.

    Cause was actually a bad driver, seems the manufacturer provided ones had a major bug.

    Also had this happen on XP, *AND* 98SE

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The joys of updates

    One of my PCs loaded the latest updates today. Reboots and comes up to the "Press Control Alt Delete to unlock screen" where it promptly ignores the three finger salute. Oh joy

  7. Anonymous Coward

    It has to be said

    Sound issues are more likely due to the driver writers for CF sound cards producing fragile code that breaks when Windows 10 is updated

  8. Terry 6 Silver badge

    S'funny but

    I've never had any major Windows borkage over the decades.

    But I've long since lost track of the annoying minor failures and bugs that should never have occurred.

    Currently have the Start Menu ms-resource:AppName/text issue.

    OK not a big deal. But it just shouldn't happen and if it did should have been fixed asap.

    And btw setting custom recycle bin icons still needs a registry edit* to make it work. After so many years and versions. A bug that should have been fixed instantly when it first appeared.

    * ,0 after the icon names

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: S'funny but

      It's the tenth fucking anniversary of publication of the solution/work around to this fucking bug Today.

      I just looked back at this link.

      This is the link to the solution. And it's dated 13th September 2009

  9. Someone Else Silver badge

    What was old is new again

    However, if the quality of the patches is getting to be so whiffy that users start blocking them for fear of what might end up broken, then all that effort will be for naught.

    Really?!? For those of you who were not born with a silver iPhone in your mitts, this is deja vu all over again. Indeed, it was why savvy users (you know, folks who actually needed to get actual work done on a PC) knew better than to blindly accept a Micros~1 update for Windows 3, Windows 3.1, Windows NT, Windows 95, Windows 98....

  10. Rich 10

    How many hundreds of millions of Windows computers are there? How many millions of different configurations? I don't care what OS, be it Windows, Mac, Linux, Android or whatever, anytime changes are made a certain percentage of computers are going to have issues. Sometimes they are big, sometimes they are rather random and relatively few systems are impacted. At my workplace we have had no users contacting us about this issue, and many are the type that call if they accidentally forget to turn the machine on and there is nothing on the screen. If it doesn't get a CERT alert and/or start flooding my techs with complaints, it gets moved to the "curiosity" shelf and we move on.

  11. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Isn't it lovely how Win 10 likes to tell you NOTHING about WTF it's doing when it's updating?

    This has the consequence of making it impossible to know if it's stuck forever, or actually doing something.

    Sometimes when it's been doing nothing for an hour, I hard reboot (power off) and it boots immediately! WTF!

  12. Adair Silver badge

    Sorry, I can't help myself...

    sudo apt update && apt upgrade

    GUI options are available (and automatically run upgrades, for those who just don't care).

    Very rarely has problems (12 years and counting).

    1. Adair Silver badge

      Re: Sorry, I can't help myself...

      If a motley crew of developers can make it work for an OS AND the installed applications surely the disgustingly wealthy and fabulously well resourced Microsoft can make it work for just an OS.

      They'll probably get there one day, but oh, the anguish and gnashing of teeth before that day comes.

      Perhaps it's time to smell the coffee and open source the OS. If anyone cares enough no doubt the update fiascos can be dealt with and MS could move on with what it is really in the business of doing - maximising profits whilst minimising expenses.

      1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

        Re: Sorry, I can't help myself...

        Perhaps it's time to smell the coffee and open source the OS.

        And who do you think would want to maintain that Pile of Software for free?

        1. Adair Silver badge

          Re: Sorry, I can't help myself...

          An excellent question that raises some profound existential questions about Windows place in life.

    2. Trixr

      Re: Sorry, I can't help myself...

      That's nice. I had a Mandriva derivative sht itself when I installed an NVidia driver update once on a dual-boot device. Then it insisted on a kernel update immediately and then it screwed up grub on reboot. So I restored the Windows MBR and deleted the Linux partitions.

      1. Adair Silver badge

        Re: Sorry, I can't help myself...

        Life is full of bitter disappointments.

  13. Danny 2 Silver badge

    'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman

    I was a peace protester for four years, not long enough to learn if it was actually spelled protestor. I was the only person I met in the peace movement who had the slightest knowledge of computer security. MI5 and MoD plods were ripping us apart with ease, even me and I had NSA manuals. Thanks to Snowden we now know how, but before then it was a lot of 'black box testing'. Put stuff in, see if it comes out.

    When I started to realised how compromised we were I did actually say to a fellow activist, "I have no mouth and I must scream". She replied, "Oh, that sounds awful" which befuddled me.

    I found out more about the level of surveillance, the infiltration, and absolutely nobody believed me. I was being alarmist or paranoid. One activist told me MI5 wouldn't be wasting their time monitoring him, but he was best friends with Mark Kennedy.

  14. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

    I wouldn't mind the variable-quality updates so much...

    ...if the OS would genuinely let me reboot when _I_ wanted to. Thought I'd got a lid on that through hacking at the scheduled tasks and group policy, but no. Last night my laptop decided to shut itself down around 3am. I'm guessing it was trying to reboot but got stuck on the Bitlocker password request, eventually giving up. If my laptop is on overnight, it's for a reason; rebooting in the middle of some things tends to f*ck them up somewhat. And no, setting my "active hours" is not a useful solution, Microsoft. I understand that many users need to be treated like children, but at least give people who have some idea what they're doing the _option_ to properly control reboots, even if it's buried somewhere.

  15. FozzyBear

    Ah! Microsoft the gift that keeps giving

    Unfortunately the gift is a flaming brown paper bag of dog shit left on your front door step

  16. bombastic bob Silver badge

    Got, Linux?

    heh I just had to do it!

    (audio working fine on my Linux and FreeBSD and Windows 7 boxen, for that matter)

  17. BazzF

    Install Jriver and bypass the windows drivers.

  18. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    "I have no mouth and I must scream"

    It seems strangely apt that this is the title of a sci-fi short story by Harlan Ellison where a vast ommnisient computer tortues and torments some hiumans trapped in a series of infinite twisty passages..

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