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.
Related article(s):

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 is specified:

  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit or 64-bit x86 processor or SoC
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit), or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 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.

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.

Ugrading 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 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 Then run the installation media for Windows 10 from within Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8 Update 1.

Sound Device driver requirements and problems

Generally speaking, Audacity should work with audio drivers that ship with a new computer that comes with Windows 10.

However as with any 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.

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 Make sure you obtain 64-bit audio drivers if you are on a 64-bit system.

No audio devices found. Internal PortAudio error

Due to the new operating system, Audacity 2.1.1 release and 2.1.2-alpha versions of Audacity 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 may let 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.

Warning icon As of August 2015 Line 6 devices are not compatible with Audacity or other applications on Windows 10. Visit to check for driver updates.

Solutions if Audacity does not see any audio devices

If there are no Windows 10 audio drivers available yet from your computer or motherboard maker's website, try these solutions in the following order.

  • 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 that might solve the problem.
    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
  • 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.

If you see error opening sound device

If you persistently see "Error opening sound device" despite having Windows 10 compatible audio drivers see this FAQ in Audacity Manual Why do I get "Error while opening sound device"?.

Windows 10 features and known issues

Notable feature changes

Windows Update

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

Windows 10 Home users cannot delay installing Windows updates at all, except by setting the wireless connection as metered. Generally, Windows updates help keep your computer secure, so it is not recommended to set the connection as metered.

Windows 10 Professional and Enterprise editions provide an option "Defer upgrades" in the "Advanced options" in the Windows Update section of the Settings app. This defers installing new feature updates for up to eight months, but does not let you defer security updates. Users of these editions can still use the Group Policy editor (run gpedit.msc) to stop Windows Update automatically installing anything, just notify what is available. These settings are at Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Updates > Configure Automatic Updates. Even then, Windows Update provides no way to choose which updates to install of those notified.

For all editions of Windows 10, there is a useful option in the "Advanced options" in the "Windows Update" section of the Settings app to "Notify to schedule restart". Turn this option on to ensure that your computer will not interrupt your irreplaceable recording by immediately rebooting without your confirmation. If you enable this option you can set a time for when to reboot.

HowtoGeek has a good summary of What You Need to Know About Windows Update on Windows 10.

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 this problem occurs:

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.

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.