It looks like audio-related issues are some of the biggest problems in Windows 10. And one of the most common problems is the “Device in use” error.

According to Microsoft, this error is quite common in new Insider builds, but you could also face it in the stable versions. There’s still no official workaround, however. So, while the development team is investigating the issue, we’re going to try and fix the issue on our own.

How to fix  “Device in use” error in Windows 10

Table of contents:

  1. Use the Task Manager
  2. Restart the Audio service
  3. Update the USB drivers
  4. Roll back the USB driver

Fix – “Device in use” Windows 10 error

Solution 1 – Use the Audio Troubleshooter

The first thing we’re going to try is also the simplest one. We’ll let Windows 10’s own troubleshooting tool try and solve the issue for us. As this tool can be used for dealing with all sorts of issues, it will probably be helpful with the “Device in use” error, as well.

Here’s how to run Windows 10’s built-in troubleshooting tool:

  1. Open the Settings app and go to Update & Security section.
  2. Select Troubleshoot from the menu on the left.
  3. Select Playing Audio from the right pane and click Run the troubleshooter.
  4. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the troubleshooter.

Solution 3 – Restart the Audio service

According to Microsoft, restarting the Audio service is probably the most effective solution to this problem. So, that’s exactly what we’re going to do now.

To restart the Audio service in Windows 10, do the following:

  1. Go to Search, type services.msc, and open Services
  2. Find Windows Audio from the list of services
  3. Right-click it, and choose Restart
  4. Wait for the service to restart

Solution 4 – Update the USB drivers

The “Device in use” error can also be caused by an inappropriate or outdated audio driver that’s installed on your computer. So, the next thing we’re going to try is updating your audio drivers. If you’re not sure how to do that, follow these instructions:

  1. Right-click the Start and select Device Manager.
  2. Navigate to Universal Serial Bus controllers and expand this section.
  3. Right-click your graphics device and open Properties.
  4. Select the Details tab.
  5. From the drop-down menu, open HardwareIds.
  6. Copy the first row and paste it into your browser’s address bar.
  7. The search results should show you the exact drivers you’ll need to install.

Update drivers automatically

Searching for drivers on your own can be time-consuming. So, we advise you to use a tool that will do this for you automatically. Using an automatic driver updater will certainly save you from the hassle of searching for drivers manually, and it will always keep your system up to date with the latest drivers.

Tweakbit’s Driver Updater (approved by Microsoft and Norton Antivirus) will help you update drivers automatically and prevent PC damage caused by installing the wrong driver versions. After several tests, our team concluded that this is the best-automatized solution.

Here is a quick guide on how to use it:

  1. Download and install TweakBit Driver Updaterdriver updater starting window
  2. Once installed, the program will start scanning your PC for outdated drivers automatically. Driver Updater will check your installed driver versions against its cloud database of the latest versions and recommend proper updates. All you need to do is wait for the scan to complete.
    scanning proccess of Tweakbit driver updater
  3. Upon scan completion, you get a report on all problem drivers found on your PC. Review the list and see if you want to update each driver individually or all at once. To update one driver at a time, click the ‘Update driver’ link next to the driver name. Or simply click the ‘Update all’ button at the bottom to automatically install all recommended updates.
    Automatically Update complete
    Note: Some drivers need to be installed in multiple steps so you will have to hit the ‘Update’ button several times until all of its components are installed.

Solution 5 – Roll back the USB driver

On the other hand, maybe you installed a faulty driver, and that’s what’s causing the “Device in use” error. If you suspect that might be the case, go on and roll back your current audio driver. And here’s how to do that:

  1. Right-click Start and open Device Manager.
  2. Navigate to Sound, video, and game controllers.
  3. Right-click your audio device and open Properties.
  4. Open Driver tab.
  5. Click Roll Back Driver.
  6. Wait until the procedure finishes and restart your PC.

Now, check if you can hear audio from your computer. If Microsoft’s advice were correct, your problem should be fixed now. However, if the problem still persists, you should our article about audio issues in Windows 10, for even more solutions.

If you’ve tried everything we told you in this article, let us know about your results in the comments. Also, if you know about some workaround that we didn’t list here, please don’t hesitate to write it down below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2016 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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