FIX: Dolby Atmos not working in Windows 10

Aleksandar Ognjanovic
by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Troubleshooting Expert
Last update:
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  • Dolby Atmos not working in Windows 10? Sound drivers are the usual suspects, so make sure you start your investigation there.
  • If you're struggling with a severe case of Dolby Atmos not showing up in Spatial sound, verify the Exclusive mode as well.
  • All you have to do is to enable Dolby Atmos to access audio settings and configure them correctly.
  • You can obviously make use of Windows' troubleshooting tools to fix a Dolby Atmos Spatial sound not showing instance.
dolby atmos windows 10 not working spatial sound isn't working
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When you think about sound effects, you think of Dolby. That is universally available and even more so since they started implementing their surround sound software and hardware in consumer products, like home theaters and smartphones.

Also, Windows 10 users can try out (and later buy) Dolby Atmos supporting software for headphones and home sound systems.

However, the problem is that there’s no option to do so or they’re unable to get Dolby Atmos (or Spatial sound in general which includes Windows Sonic as well) to work.

What’s Dolby Atmos and Spatial sound in Windows 10 and how it works? As you might already know, the sound is usually distributed through channels.

But this new technology focuses on 3D points and grants 360° sound output to improve listeners experience.

Even with the cheapest headphones, with the adapted-multimedia content (movies, games, and videos), you should enjoy a dramatically better surround sound.

For the time being, it supports only headphones, buds, and earphones in Windows 10, but you can use a Dolby home theater for the best results.

Nonetheless, we need to make it work in the first place. For the sole purpose of helping our readers in distress, we provided the best-suited solutions below.

Make sure to check them out and, hopefully, we’ll make Dolby Atmos and Spatial sound work as it’s intended.

How do I enable Dolby Atmos on Windows 10?

  1. Update sound drivers
  2. Rollback sound drivers
  3. Run the built-in sound troubleshooter
  4. Enable Exclusive mode options
  5. Run downloadable troubleshooter
  6. Reconfigure Dolby Atmos for your device or try Sonic
  7. Update Windows

1. Update sound drivers

  1. Right-click on the Start menu and open Device Manager.dolby atmos windows 10 not working spatial sound isn't working
  2. Expand the Sound, video, and game controllers section.
  3. Right-click both onboard sound device and third-party device and Update drivers.dolby atmos windows 10 not working spatial sound isn't working
  4. Restart your PC.
  5. Right-click on the Sound icon in the Notification area and select Spatial Sound (Dolby Atmos for Headphones). If you haven’t configured it already, follow the instructions to do so.dolby atmos windows 10 not working spatial sound isn't working
  6. Play supported content and look (listen) for changes.

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Sound drivers are the primary reason why things go south. As you might’ve known, there are usually the 2 sound devices with their respective roles and supporting drivers.

The onboard sound device and the third-party device. Windows 10 is well-known for automatically administered driver updates and those are frequently making things worse.

Namely, it seems that some iterations of both the onboard sound device and the third-party device (Realtek, VIA, ATI) won’t work as intended with Dolby Atmos and Spatial Sound.

So, the first thing is to try and update your sound driver and try enabling Dolby Atmos (Spatial sound) later on.

If you’re not sure how to do so on your Windows 10, make sure you install an automated solution that can take care of this task for you.

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2. Rollback sound drivers/stick with native drivers

  1. Right-click Start and open Device Manager from the Power User menu.
  2. Expand the Sound, video, and game controllers section.
  3. Right-click both devices, respectively, and open Properties.dolby atmos windows 10 not working spatial sound isn't working
  4. Under the Driver tab, click Roll Back driver.
  5. If that option isn’t available, get back and right-click on the third-party sound device and uninstall it.
  6. Restart your PC and re-enable Spatial sound.

If the first step was of no help whatsoever, we recommend a diametrally opposite approach. In fact, the latest driver iteration might not exclusively be the best-suited for the job.

Firstly, you can try and rollback the driver on all sound devices and look for changes.

If you roll back your driver and that fixes the problem, you’ll have to prevent Windows from automatically updating it in the future. To do that, follow the easy steps from this nifty guide.

If that doesn’t hold up, you should completely disable the third-party sound device and stick with the onboard sound device solely.

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That is NOT what Exclusive mode means at all… It means apps are allowed to take – as the name implies – exclusive control of the device, which effectively *blocks any other app from playing sound on the device*. The perk of exclusive control is that the app is allowed to change device hardware settings – something that would normally conflict with other apps using the device, but if the app has requested and been granted exclusive mode access then that problem is non-existent. This setting is not of any use under normal circumstances, but might be useful if you’re a music producer and want to be able to tweak hardware sound settings from within whatever sound software you’re using.