Windows 11 crackling audio can adversely affect your multimedia experience. The problem may arise for various reasons, but updating the audio drivers and ensuring the correct audio configurations can quickly resolve it and get you back to a flawless audio output.
- Some reasons for this problem are outdated drivers/OS, incorrect audio configurations, and damaged hardware.
- Updating/reinstalling the audio drivers, disabling audio enhancements, and switching the audio format are some fixes for this error.
- Resetting the PC is the last attempt at solving this persisting problem.
What Causes Windows 11 Crackling Audio?
Multiple causes can lead to lousy audio on your computer:
- Outdated or corrupt audio drivers.
- Faulty hardware.
- Incorrect audio-related settings on your computer.
- Audio enhancement malfunctioning.
- Pending Windows updates.
- Presence of malware or virus.
- Incorrect audio output format.
- Signal interferences.
- Conflicting software.
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How To Fix Windows 11 Crackling Audio?
Our team tried many fixes for the audio trouble. However, the foremost thing we did was to power cycle our PC to rule out temporary glitches or other problems.
Here is a quick list of fixes that can solve the audio crackling problem:
- Update Drivers.
- Use Audio Troubleshooter.
- Inspect Hardware Connections.
- Reinstall Audio Driver.
- Roll Back Audio Driver.
- Update Windows.
- Turn Off Audio Enhancements.
- Increase Audio Quality.
- Check Device Audio Levels.
- Disable Spatial Sound.
- Turn Off Handsfree Telephony.
- Restart Windows Audio Service.
- Use SFC And DISM Scans.
- Run A Clean Boot.
- Undo The Latest Windows Updates.
- Scan Your Computer.
- Close All Apps And Background Processes.
- Change Process Power Management.
- Replace The Audio Device.
- Perform A System Restore.
- Reset PC.
Important: Make sure you have chosen the correct device as the main audio output for your PC.
First, you should update the audio drivers on your computer because outdated drivers may interfere with the sound performance. Besides, you can update them in two ways: using the “Device Manager” menu or through the manufacturer’s website.Important: Always keep your drivers up-to-date to avoid any hurdles.
Use Audio Troubleshooter
Windows 11 has built-in troubleshooters for many services and features, such as audio, internet, and hardware. Running this can help you diagnose and fix any issues with the audio on your computer.
Here is how you can use an audio troubleshooter:
- Launch the “Settings” page on your computer.
- Select “System.”
- On the left pane, highlight “Troubleshoot.”
- Move to “Other Troubleshooters.”
- Look for the “Playing Audio” troubleshooter and click on it.
- Press the “Run” button.
- Wait for the “Detecting Problems” window.
- Select the device you want to troubleshoot and click “Next.”
Inspect Hardware Connections
Consider checking the connection if you have connected external speakers or headsets to your PC and the audio output is crackling. Ensure the cables are properly connected and blow off any accumulated dust in the USB or audio ports.
Moreover, if you use wireless headsets or speakers via Bluetooth connection, remove nearby signal hindrances and unpair other devices from your computer.
Reinstall Audio Drivers
You can also try reinstalling the audio drivers on your computer to fix any temporary glitches or bugs hindering the functioning.
Use these steps to reinstall the audio drivers:
- Access the “Device Manager” by clicking on the “Windows” symbol on the “Taskbar.”
- Double-click on “Sound, Video, And Game Controllers.”
- Find the connected audio output device in this section and right-click on it.
- Choose “Uninstall Device.”
- In the dialog box, tick the box beside “Attempt To Remove The Driver For This Device” and hit the “Uninstall” option.
- Restart your computer to install the audio drivers automatically.
Roll Back Audio Driver
This fix is applicable if you recently updated the audio driver on your computer, after which you have been facing sound disruptions. You can restore the previous driver version to see if it improves the audio performance.
This is the easiest method to roll back drivers:
- Follow “Step 1 to Step 3” from the fix above.
- Right-click on the relevant audio driver and choose “Properties.”
- Move to the “Driver” tab.
- If the “Roll Back Driver” option is clickable, carry on with this fix.
We went to the “Settings” and checked if newer updates were available for Windows 11. Then, we installed them to update the Windows in line with the latest versions. After restarting the computer, the audio was working fine.
Turn Off Audio Enhancements
Although Audio Enhancements make the sound experience more appealing, they may sometimes cause the Windows 11 crackling audio trouble on your device. Additionally, check out our fixes for Windows error 0X80072F8F-0X20000.
Disable the audio enhancement feature with the instructions below:
- In the PC “Settings,” select “System.”
- Pick the second option, “Sound.”
- Scroll to the “Advanced” section and select “All Sound Devices.”
- Select the currently used audio output device.
- Disable the “Enhance Audio” feature via the toggle bar.
Increase Audio Quality
Lower audio quality settings are also why the audio may be distorted or unclear on your device. Thus, increase the audio quality by setting the suitable configurations.
Follow the steps below to adjust the sound output:
- Again, head to the “Sound” section of “Settings.”
- Scroll down and pick “More Sound Settings.”
- Right-click on the connected audio device and pick “Properties.”
- Open the “Advanced” tab.
- In the “Default Format” box, set “24 bit, 44100 Hz(Sound Quality).”
- Press the “Test” button to inspect the audio for crackling and distortions.
Important: If this format does not solve the audio crackling, you may choose another format from the drop-down. Repeat until the problem goes away.
- Hit “Apply” followed by “OK.”
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Check Device Audio Levels
Other than the above solutions, we also verified that the audio levels of our connected device were set to the maximum so that we could experience better-quality sound.
Here is how you can maximize the audio levels:
- Once again, go to “More Sound Settings” using “Step 1 and Step 2” from the above method.
- Right-click on the connected device and choose “Properties.”
- Open the “Level” tab.
- Drag the switch to the extreme right to increase the audio levels. Also, ensure the device is not muted.
- Save the changes.
Disable Spatial Sound
In the same “Properties” window as the above fix, head to the “Spatial Sound” section. Set it to “Off” using the drop-down menu.
Turn Off Handsfree Telephony
The Handsfree Telephony feature lets you make or receive calls without picking up your device, allowing you to give commands to the computer (if supported). Consequently, use this solution if you are using a headset or handsfree to receive the audio output from the computer.
Disable this option to prevent any interruption in the audio output:
- Go to “Control Panel” and select “Hardware And Sound.”
- Choose “Devices And Printers.”
- Find your device and right-click on it.
- Proceed with “Properties” from the sub-menu.
- Open the “Services” section in this dialog box.
- Remove the tick from “Handsfree Telephony.”
- Lastly, press “Apply” to save the changes.
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Restart Windows Audio Service
Furthermore, restarting the Windows Audio Service is another method that got us out of the audio trouble with our computer. It looks after the audio playback on the connected devices or the speakers; thus, restarting it can eliminate corrupt or faulty data.
Perform the fix quickly using these steps:
- Access the “Run” box with the “Windows+R” keys.
- Type and search “services.msc.”
- Find “Windows Audio Service” and click on it.
- Verify that the “Startup Type” is set to “Automatic.”
- Return to the “Services” screen and highlight the audio service.
- Press “Restart” at the top left edge of this screen.
Use SFC And DISM Scans
System File Checker (SFC) and Deployment Image Servicing And Management (DISM) effectively identify corrupt files and Windows-related data on your system and aid in fixing them.
Execute the following codes in Command Prompt one after another:
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
Important: Restart your PC after running these scans, and then verify if the audio crackling is gone.
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Run A Clean Boot
This is an effective way to check if any third-party or other software conflicts with your computer’s audio output. It loads the system with the crucial drivers and apps required for Windows’ functioning while restricting everything else.
Correctly follow these instructions to load the computer in Clean Boot mode:
- Launch the “System Configuration” window by executing “msconfig” in the “Run” menu.
- In the “Services” tab, mark “Hide All Microsoft Services” and then hit the “Disable All” option.
- Click “Apply.”
- “Restart” the computer when prompted.
Undo The Latest Windows Updates
If the Windows 11 crackling audio problem occurred after you installed the recent updates to your OS, there are chances that those updates may be corrupt or faulty.
Hence, you can reverse the updates with the following method:
- Navigate to the “Windows Update” section in the “Settings.”
- Under “More Options,” find “Update History.”
- Choose “Uninstall Updates” in the “Related Settings.”
- Right-click the latest Windows update in this window, usually the top-most one.
- Proceed to “Uninstall” this problematic version.
- Confirm your choice by clicking “Yes.”
- Let the process complete.
- The system will prompt you to restart your computer. Click on the “Restart” option to apply the new settings.
Scan Your Computer
Malware and viruses can negatively impact your computer’s performance and hinder its features, including the audio output. Therefore, we scanned the computer for these threats using Microsoft Defender Offline. Besides, you can also use trusted applications, like McAfee and Avast.
Close All Apps And Background Processes
We also noted that conflicting software, either in the foreground or background, can lead to audio errors on a system. Hence, we cleared all the background apps, along with the currently open windows, and then inspected for the persisting problem.
Change Process Power Management
The computer may be put into the power-saving mode, creating a crackling audio. Get the computer out of power-saving mode and then perform the method below.
Use the following instructions to configure Power Management:
- Launch the “Control Panel.”
- Click on the drop-down beside “View By:” and pick “Large Icons.”
- Navigate to “Power Options.”
- Click the blue button, “Change Plan Settings,” in front of “Balanced (Recommended).”|
- Select “Change Advanced Power Settings.”
- If you see the option “Process Power Management,” expand it by clicking on the “+” sign before it.
- Choose the “Minimum Processor State” to “100” for the “On Battery” and “Plugged In” states.
- Hit “Apply” and “OK.”
Replace The Audio Device
If the audio crackling issue only happens when you connect external audio devices, the problem may persist within the hardware. Try connecting another set of speakers or a headset to the computer and check if the audio output is fine. If yes, the previous audio hardware may be faulty, and you might have to replace it.
Also Read: How To Get Into BIOS [Windows 11]
Perform A System Restore
Another solution we tested was restoring our system to a specific restore point. The system creates Restore points consisting of Windows settings and data at a particular time. Thus, we restored to the time before the problem came up on our computer.
Here is the complete method for a System Restore:
- Search for the “Control Panel” and launch it.
- Choose “System And Security.”
- Find and select “Recovery.”
- Click the “Open System Restore” option to access the relevant dialog box.
- Press “Next.”
- A restore point will be available if you have allowed the system to create them occasionally.
- Highlight it and hit “Next.”
- Choose “Finish.”
Unfortunately, you may need to reset your PC if none of the abovementioned methods fix the audio, and the connected output device is not at fault either. Importantly, create a backup of your files and data before the reset.
Further, there are two ways to reset your Windows 11 PC: a soft reset will retain your files and data, while a hard reset will erase everything on the computer. Do a soft reset first, and if it does not work, resort to the latter.
Lastly, you should contact Microsoft Support if resetting fails to fix the Windows 11 crackling audio. Other than that, you can take your computer to a technician and let them inspect the cause.
Frequently Asked Questions
Incorrect audio configurations, lower sound quality, and faulty audio output devices are some reasons why the audio may crackle.
You can update the audio drivers, fix audio-related settings, and update your Windows to resolve the problem.
Keep the audio drivers and Windows up-to-date, regularly scan your PC, and use good-quality audio hardware.
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