Windows 10 OS

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Windows® 10 is the latest version of the Microsoft Windows operating system, officially released on July 29 2015.
  • The audio architecture is near-identical to that in Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
  • For devices with mice and keyboards Windows 10 abandons Windows 8's separate Touch and Desktop interfaces in favor of Desktop only. For use with touchscreens there is a "Tablet Mode" option which hides the Desktop and which is automatically enabled for devices without mouse and keyboard.
Audacity does not yet have full support for Windows 10 due to driver requirements. This page outlines computer requirements and issues using current Audacity for Windows 10.
 
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Contents


System requirements

Windows 10 minimum system requirements quoted by Microsoft are the same as for Windows 7 and Windows 8, except that for Windows 10 the display resolution and minimum screen size are specified and 2 GB RAM is required for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems.

  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit or 64-bit x86 processor or SoC, with support for PAE, NX and SSE2
  • 2 gigabyte (GB) RAM
    • Until the Windows 10 Anniversary Update of July 2016 (Version 1607) the requirement was only 1 GB RAM for 32-bit systems
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
  • Display: 800x600, minimum 7 inches.

For best performance if you are working in Audacity with an hour or more of audio or multiple shorter tracks, we recommend a 2 GHz processor and 4 GB of RAM on both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 10.

Here are some additional notable requirements to use certain features.

  • To use touch, a tablet or a monitor that supports Multi-touch.
  • Some games and applications might require a graphics card compatible with DirectX 10 or higher for optimal performance.
  • Cortana is only initially available for the United States, United Kingdom, China, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Speech recognition will vary by device microphone. For a better speech experience, you will need a high fidelity microphone array and a hardware driver with Microphone array geometry exposed.
  • The number of applications that can be snapped will depend upon the minimum resolution for the application.

Upgrading Windows

You can upgrade for free from an activated Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update machine to a like-for-like version of Windows 10 until July 29, 2016.

You can check to see if your machine meets the system requirements and has any incompatible hardware or software by using "Check my PC" in the Get Windows 10 app in the Taskbar.

Generally speaking, most applications that worked in Windows Vista or later without special driver requirements will work in Windows 10 (use Compatibility Mode if not). Any hardware or applications that required a Windows XP driver but did not work on Windows Vista, 7 or 8 will not work on Windows 10.

If you wish to make a clean install of Windows for free then prior to version 1511 of Windows 10 (November 2015) you must do one of the following.

  • Upgrade over previous Windows and then clean install Windows 10.
  • Create a Windows 10 ISO file or bootable USB drive for your corresponding Home or Pro edition of Windows using the media creation tools on http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10. Then run the installation media for Windows 10 from within Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8 Update 1.

Subsequent versions allow activation of Windows 10 (where a product key is required) by entering the computer's Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 product key at installation. The key can also be added later at Settings > Update & security > Activation then "Change Product Key". From that version onwards, it will no longer be necessary to upgrade the current Windows version to Windows 10 before performing a clean install of Windows 10.

Windows 10 versions are similar in concept to "Service Packs" in previous Windows. For 10 days you can choose "Go back to an earlier build" at Settings > Update & security > Recovery to go back to the previous version of Windows 10.
  • "Uninstall updates" in Settings only allows you to remove updates that Windows has installed since installing the previous version of Windows 10.
  • Similarly, "Reset your PC" resets to the current version of Windows 10, not the original build 10240.

Windows 10 as a Windows Update

As of February 2016 Windows 10 became a "recommended" update for Windows 7 and 8.1. Windows will download the Windows 10 installer unless in Windows Update settings you uncheck the box "Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates". Alternatively, you can leave this box checked and set the dropdown item to "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them". Even if downloaded, the Windows 10 installer will not install Windows 10 without your permission.

Sound Device driver requirements and problems

Generally speaking, Audacity will work fine with the built-in audio device on a new computer that comes with Windows 10.

If you have a machine upgraded from previous Windows, or older external sound devices, some or all of your devices may lack Windows 10 drivers that are properly matched to the device. In that case, Audacity 2.1.2 or versions before that might show Internal PortAudio error on launch and not see any devices at all, or might show error opening sound device when playing or recording on some devices.

Therefore as with any new version of Windows, it is strongly recommended to look on the website of the computer or motherboard manufacturer for the latest Windows 10 audio drivers intended for your computer model. Even if the originally shipped drivers or drivers obtained from Windows Update or Device Manager work correctly, drivers obtained directly from the manufacturer may be more recent and full-featured.

For a branded computer like Dell or Lenovo you would usually look on the computer manufacturer's site. If you need to find out the manufacturer and model number of your motherboard, use CPU-Z (no installation required, just unzip) or Belarc Advisor (browser based, requires installation).

If you are using external audio devices or interfaces that have manufacturer-supplied drivers or firmware, also go to that manufacturer's site and look for drivers and firmware downloads for Windows 10.

Warning icon

No audio devices found. Internal PortAudio error

Due to the new operating system, Audacity 2.1.2 and other recent versions may not be able to play or record if Windows 10 compatible drivers are unavailable. You may see an error message "No audio devices found. Internal PortAudio Error" even though audio devices appear to be enabled and working in Windows Sound and in other applications.

Notably, any device that Audacity can't recognise may cause it not to recognise any connected devices, even if it would recognise those other devices on their own.

So you may find that:

  • Disconnecting a USB device lacking Windows 10 drivers lets Audacity use your built-in sound device
  • Disabling a built-in sound device that uses non-Windows 10 drivers may let Audacity use an external sound card with Windows 10-specific drivers.

Devices are most conveniently disabled or enabled in Device Manager. It may be best to restart Audacity after disabling or disconnecting devices.

Solutions if Audacity does not see any audio devices

Windows 2.1.3-alpha builds

Audacity 2.1.3-alpha (the code we are working on for eventual release as Audacity 2.1.3) has now updated to the latest PortAudio source code. This should fix the Internal PortAudio error so that if only some audio devices are incompatible with Windows 10, Audacity should still be able to use the other devices that are compatible.

  1. Download the latest 2.1.3-alpha from the top of http://gaclrecords.org.uk/win-nightly/.
  2. Right-click the ZIP file then choose "Extract All..." and extract the contents to a folder of your choice.
  3. From that folder, launch audacity.exe.

Note that 2.1.3-alpha is not a finished release. It has some fixes for bugs that are in 2.1.2 but may have other new bugs. If you are not comfortable using an alpha build, look at the other solutions in the next section.

If any of your devices show "error opening sound device" in Audacity 2.1.3-alpha, this will probably be because you need to find Windows 10 drivers for those devices. Also see this FAQ in Audacity Manual Why do I get "Error while opening sound device"?.

Other solutions

If you can't find suitable drivers or if you don't want to use Audacity 2.1.3-alpha, you can try the following solutions.

  • If you have an external device lacking properly matched drivers, connect it, enable it in Windows Sound, set it as Default Device, then reboot. Before launching Audacity, reopen Windows Sound to ensure that device is still default Windows device for playback and/or recording. Repeat the reboot procedure for any other external devices that lack proper drivers. However do not rely on this working in all cases.
  • If the built-in audio device lacks properly matched drivers, it is possible that only one of its sub-devices such as the stereo mix recording device or the HDMI output is preventing Audacity recognising the device. Therefore, try going into Windows Sound, disabling a recording device you don't need and restarting Audacity, or disabling a playback device you don't need and restarting Audacity. If you need to disable stereo mix, you can use the Windows WASAPI (loopback) method to record computer playback.
    • It is also possible that merely changing a setting for a sub-device in Windows Sound will allow Audacity to recognise the device. It has been found that changing Default Format for stereo mix to another sample rate, or disabling both Exclusive Mode boxes for a recording or playback sub-device then restarting Audacity has removed the PortAudio error.
  • Keep using Windows Update. Also use Windows Device Manager from time to time to look for updated drivers (right-click over the audio device and choose "Update Driver Software"). It is possible that you will receive an update for older sound devices this way.
    It is also possible you could receive a bad update for audio or other drivers via Windows Update that you cannot prevent being reinstalled. See Preventing bad updates reinstalling for how to deal with this.
  • Try Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 drivers for your computer model from your computer or motherboard manufacturer's website.
  • If you have a Realtek High Definition device, try:

    If you install drivers that make things worse, use Device Manager to roll back to the previous drivers.

  • Try rolling back to the Windows hdaudio.sys class drivers if they are not already being used.
  • Try Audacity 2.0.3 from https://storage.googleapis.com/google-code-archive-downloads/v2/code.google.com/audacity/audacity-win-2.0.3.exe.
  • Go back to your previous version of Windows for now. If you have upgraded over your previous Windows installation there is a button to go back to the previous Windows in the Settings app at Update & security > Recovery. This button is available for a month after you upgrade. If you were previously eligible to upgrade to Windows 10 for free you can still upgrade again later for free any time before July 29, 2016.

Windows 10 features and known issues

Notable feature changes

Windows Update

In Windows 10, updates are mandatory by default and download and install automatically. Updates cannot be individually selected for installation and by default no updates can be hidden.

Users of Windows 10 Home edition cannot officially delay installing Windows updates at all, except by setting the wireless or mobile connection as metered. Ethernet connections can only be set as metered with a Registry change. Generally, Windows updates help keep your computer secure, so it is not recommended to set the connection as metered.

Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise and Education editions provide an option "Defer upgrades" in the "Advanced options" in the Windows Update section of the Settings app. This puts your device in the "Current Branch for Business". From version 1511 of Windows 10 this gives a four month postponement of upgrades and updates (other than security updates).

Using Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) you can then defer upgrades for up to an additional eight months, and delay updates for up to one month. Delaying updates from Version 1511 onwards also delays security updates. You can also "Pause Upgrades and Updates" until the next monthly update or upgrade becomes available. These settings are at Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Updates > Configure Automatic Updates. None of the Group Policy options provide a way to choose which notified updates are installed.

The unofficial Winaero tweaker (download) lets all Windows 10 users configure Windows Update with the "Notify for download and notify for install" Group Policy, or (not recommended) it can disable Windows Update altogether. Restart the computer after applying the tweak.

New to Windows 10, if a restart is required to install an update, rather than it happening automatically, Windows will schedule a restart for when it thinks the computer won't be busy.

From the Anniversary Update Version 1607 onwards, you can specify the "active hours" during which Windows will not restart. Once a restart has been scheduled you can still override the scheduled restart by specifying a custom restart time. These options can be found by opening the Settings app, choose "Update & security" then the "Windows Update" pane.

Preventing bad updates reinstalling

Although all editions of Windows 10 let you uninstall selected updates, the "forced" nature of Windows updates means that it is possible a "bad" driver that creates problems may be continually reinstalled even if you uninstall it.

If Windows continues to reinstall bad drivers, or if you need to prevent a specific third-party driver installing, download the wushowhide.diagcab interface and hide the bad update, as described on How to temporarily prevent a Windows or driver update from reinstalling in Windows 10. If in the future you want to install the update you can run wushowhide.diagcab again and unhide the update.

Warning icon "Device installation settings" in the "Advanced system settings" of Windows Control Panel used to have an option "Never install driver software from Windows Update". This setting was reported to prevent third-party driver updates in early builds of Windows 10 version 1511, but has now been removed.

Media feature changes

  • FLAC is supported natively, no longer requiring installation of additional codecs. By default, FLAC files open in the built-in "Groove Music" modern app. Apple Lossless (ALAC) and AMR Narrow Band (AMR-NB) are also natively supported.
  • The system Volume Mixer is now accessed by right-click over the speaker icon in the system tray.
  • Windows Sound Recorder has been replaced by a new modern app "Voice Recorder" that first appeared in Windows 8.1. To open the app, press Windows Start, type "recorder" (without quotes) then press ENTER on your keyboard. Click or tap the microphone icon to start recording, and click or tap the Stop button when you’re done.

    As with the previous Sound Recorder, recordings are made from whatever is the current Default Device on the Recording tab of Windows Sound. Recordings are saved as 196 kbps compressed M4A files.

  • From the Anniversary Update Version 1607 onwards:
    • you can change playback device by left-clicking the speaker icon in the system tray without having to right-click to go into Windows Sound
    • the lock screen features built-in media controls from which you can control music playback without unlocking your PC.

Audio issues and behaviors

The audio API on Windows 10 is very similar to that on Windows Vista, 7 and 8. Once you have audio drivers that let Audacity work with Windows 10, most audio behaviors are believed to be similar to those as described at Windows 7 Features and Known Issues.

If you encounter an issue with Audacity on Windows 10 not listed above, please write to our feedback email address.

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