An audio stream is currently in use? Here’s How to Fix

Putting your computer to sleep after a certain amount of time inactivity can be really helpful. This is really handy because it puts your computer in a low-power state and as a result conserves energy while also giving you the ability to resume from where you left off when the computer is woken up. However, at times, your computer may not be able to sleep due to an error. The “An audio stream is currently in use” message is not really an error but rather an informative message that tells you that an application on your system is playing sound.

An Audio Stream is Currently in Use Message

As it turns out, when you are playing sound, it is called streaming by Windows. Therefore, whenever an application on your system is playing sound or listening for that matter, it is referred to as streaming. This is what the “An audio stream is currently in use” message refers to. Now, as we have mentioned, this is not really an error message because this isn’t a problem. Rather, this can be referred to as additional information that lets you in on why your computer is not able to sleep. In some cases, it may even be that the system does not hibernate so it doesn’t have to be the sleep feature all the time. There’s a difference between sleep and hibernate, however, both are power-saving modes. If an application on your system is playing sound, or listening, your power management settings won’t let you put your computer to sleep. In such a scenario, you will have to allow the device that is playing sound and then you will have to override so that the computer is put to sleep even if that device is playing sound after a certain period.

Now that we have mentioned what the message mentioned above means, and why the problem in question is caused, we can get started with showing you how to resolve the issue so that your computer goes to sleep without any problems. So, without further ado, let us get right into it.

Disable Cortana 

As it turns out, the first thing that you should do when you face the problem in question is to make sure that Cortana is disabled on your system. More often than not, Cortana listens to your voice due to the Hey Cortana feature so that it can respond to your voice promptly. This can sometimes cause the problem that you are facing which is why you will have to disable Cortana. To do this, follow the instructions given down below:

  1. First of all, open up the Run dialog box by pressing the Windows key + R combination.
  2. Then, in the Run dialog box, type in gpedit.msc and hit the Enter key.
    Opening Local Group Policy Editor
  3. This will open up the Local Group Policy Editor which we will use to disable cortana.
  4. Once the Local Group Policy Editor window is up, navigate to Computer Configuration > Windows Components > Search.
    Search Policies
  5. There, on the left-hand side, look for the Allow Cortana policy. Once located, double-click on it to change the policy.
  6. On the window that appears, choose the Disabled option and then click Apply. Finally, click OK.
    Disabling Cortana
  7. Once you have done that, Cortana will be disabled and that should, hopefully, resolve your problem. In case it doesn’t, move to the next solution.

Disable Line In from Sound Settings

Another reason that you might be facing the issue in question is due to the Line In jack. Located on the sound card, this can be used to connect various audio devices to your computer. They are mainly used to record incoming audio or to manipulate it by modifying the signal. Follow the instructions given down below to disable this:

  1. First of all, on your taskbar, right-click the sound icon.
    Sounds Icon on Taskbar
  2. Then, from the menu that appears, choose Sounds.
    Opening Sounds Window
  3. This will bring up the Sounds window. Here, switch to the Recording tab.
    Recording Tab
  4. Then, right-click on the Line In device and from the drop-down menu, choose Disable.
    Disabling Line In
  5. Once you have done that, click Apply and then hit OK.
  6. Finally, see if the problem still persists.

Override Power Management Settings

As it turns out, the primary reason that your computer won’t go to sleep is because of the Windows power management settings. As it happens, if a device on your system is streaming audio i.e. playing audio or listening for audio, your computer will not be allowed to go to sleep as it is sort of in an active state. In such a scenario, you will have to override the power management settings by allowing the device that is streaming audio when this happens. Once you do this, this will enable Windows to sleep even if that audio is streaming audio. To do this, follow the instructions given down below carefully:

  1. First of all, open up an elevated command prompt. To do this, you can search for cmd in the Start Menu and then right-click on the result shown. From the drop-down menu, choose Run as administrator.
    Opening Command Prompt as an Admin
  2. Once the command prompt window is up, type in “powercfg /request” without the quotes and hit Enter.
  3. This command will list down all the devices that are currently streaming audio. You will see the “An audio stream is currently in use” message as well.
    Checking the Device Streaming Audio
  4. Then, once you have located the device, you will have to override. The command for this is “powercfg /requestsoverride DRIVER “DEVICE NAME” SYSTEM“. Here, make sure to replace DEVICE NAME with the name of your device and remove the quotes as well, then hit Enter. See the below image for reference.
    Overriding Power Management Settings
  5. In some cases, you might have to provide the full device identifier. In such a case, simply replace DEVICE NAME with the device identifier that is given next to it. Again, refer to the below image for help.
    Full Device Identifier
  6. Once you have done that, your computer should go to sleep even if audio is being streamed by the specified device.

Reinstall Audio Drivers

Finally, if none of the above solutions have fixed the error for you, it is possible that the issue is being caused by your audio drivers. In such a scenario, you will have to reinstall them on your system and then see if the error persists. You have two choices here. First, you can have Windows install the drivers for you or you can manually look for drivers for your sound card on your manufacturer’s website and then download them from there. To uninstall the audio driver, follow the instructions given down below:

  1. First of all, you will have to open up the Device Manager window. To do this, go ahead and search for it in the Start Menu and then open it up.
    Opening up Device Manager
  2. Once the Device Manager is up, expand the Sound, video and game controllers list.
  3. Locate your audio driver and then right-click on it. From the drop-down menu, choose Uninstall device.
    Uninstalling Audio Driver
  4. Once you have done that, you can go ahead and restart your system. When your system boots up, Windows will automatically install the required audio drivers for you.

Additionally, you can also download your audio drivers manually from the manufacturer’s website. Once you have done that, you will have to install them manually. Go ahead and do that via the downloaded file. After you have installed the latest driver, see if the problem still persists.

Zubyan Gul
Zubyan is a Professional PC Gamer and a Systems Analyst. He has written numerous batch scripts for task automation to make his and others life easier.

Expert Tip

An audio stream is currently in use? Here’s How to Fix

If the issue is with your Computer or a Laptop you should try using Restoro which can scan the repositories and replace corrupt and missing files. This works in most cases, where the issue is originated due to a system corruption. You can download Restoro by clicking the Download button below.

Download Now

I'm not interested