Audiosrv cannot be stopped (Windows Audio Service)

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So, I just came across an interesting issue with one of the users at the company I work for, and googling didn’t seem to help. Therefore, someone needs to put the information out there, because technet is just…*ugh* sometimes.

The problem-
Windows audio service stops and cannot be restarted/stopped/or started
The Solution/workaround-
Ideally, we’d like to reset Windows 10 and just start fresh. In an enterprise environment, especially in the realm of executives/VP’s, this isn’t always feasible in the moment, so as a workaround we can perform the following procedure:
-Press Win+R to bring up a run box, type ‘services.msc’ (without quotes) and press the Enter key

Run prompt with services.msc highlighted
Run Prompt

-Scroll down to Windows Audio Service, right-click and select “Properties”.

Services Window with Windows Audio Service selected; right-click menu showing.
Services Window

CAVEAT: if you can successfully stop, then start the service, you don’t need to read on. This is for those experiencing the issue of being unable to start or stop audiosrv.

Now that we have the properties pulled up, change the startup type to: disabled. This setting will disallow any processes from starting the service and leaving it in a hung state during Windows startup.

Windows Audio Services properties window
Windows Audio Service Properties window

Now, after a quick reboot – you can re-open services.msc, scroll all the way down to Windows Audio Service and set the Startup type back to Automatic. Click apply then click start and the service should be up and running, and now you’re free to track down which of the 19 audio device’s drivers screwed everything up in the first place 🙂 Or, at the very least will fix the sound again for a short while!

Command line option

So if you prefer the command line, or say you’re in an environment where it’s not exactly ideal for you to interact with the GUI, you can alternately use the command prompt to accomplish the same thing. Run command prompt as an administrator, and enter the following:

sc config audiosrv start=disabled

This sets the startup type to disabled, then you need to restart:

shutdown -r -t 0

Note, do not run the shutdown command if you have unsaved documents open or there is another user logged on. Once the OS comes back up, we need to set the startup type back to automatic and then start the service (this can apply to any service – see list of services by service name):

sc config audiosrv start=auto
net start audiosrv

After that, you’re done 🙂

Further reading:
Windows Commands: sc / service control (Microsoft)
Net Start / Stop / Pause / Continue (SS64)