Fix: The Audio Service is not running

The Audio Service is not running is a warning message from Windows which indicates that the service responsible for delivering sound is stopped and cannot be started automatically.

Many Windows users have experienced and continue to be affected by a certain issue where the Sound icon in their taskbar – the one that opens a little volume slider when clicked on – gets a little red X on its bottom-right side. When a Windows user affected by this issue places their mouse pointer over the Sound icon (which is basically just an icon depicting a speaker) in their taskbar, they see a message that states:

The Audio Service is not running

This issue is most common in Windows 7, one of the most successful iterations of the Windows Operating System to have ever been created, but there is nothing standing in the way of this problem occasionally affecting other versions of the Windows OS. Almost all of the Windows users who are affected by this issue are able to successfully play audio on their computer through any and all connected speakers/headphones even though there is a red X on the Sound icon in their taskbar and their computer’s audio service – known as the Windows Audio service – is not running.

The root of this problem, in almost all cases, is the Windows Audio service – or one or more of its dependencies (services that need to be running in order for it to run) – either stopping spontaneously for some reason or failing to start automatically when you initially boot your computer up. Many users affected by this problem are able to alleviate it by simply restarting their computer. However, that isn’t a concrete solution to this problem and having to restart your computer every time you encounter this issue on your computer is inconvenient to say the least. Thankfully, though, there exist more permanent ways to fix this problem and get rid of the “The Audio Service is not running” message, and the following are two of the most effective ones:

Solution 1: Simply increase or decrease your computer’s volume

For a problem that stumps even the most avid users of Windows computers, hordes of Windows users who have been affected by this issue have been able to resolve it by applying an ironically simple fix – adjusting their computer’s volume by even the slightest of margins. Many, many people who have been affected by this problem in the past have had success with fixing it by simply increasing or decreasing their computer’s volume. In order to use this solution to fix this issue, you need to:

Click on the Sound icon in your taskbar – yes, this is the one that has the red X on it as a result of this issue. Doing so will display a little volume slider that you can use to adjust your computer’s volume.

Using the volume slider that consequently appears, either increase or decrease your computer’s volume, even if you do so by a small amount. Doing so should immediately get rid of the red X on the Sound icon in your taskbar and you should no longer see the “The Audio Service is not running” message when you hover your mouse pointer over it.

The Audio Service is not running

Solution 2: Restart the Windows Audio service and all of its dependencies

Another highly effective solution to this problem is restarting the Windows Audio service and two of its three dependencies, and making sure that all three of these services are set to automatically start when your computer boots up. In order to do so, you need to:

Hold the Windows Key and Press R. Type services.msc in the run dialog.

One by one, locate and double-click on the following services, and then set their Startup type to Automatic.

Windows Audio service
Windows Audio Endpoint Builder service
Multimedia Class Scheduler service (if available)

One by one, locate and right-click on the following services, and then click on Restart in the resulting context menus:

Windows Audio service
Windows Audio Endpoint Builder service
Multimedia Class Scheduler service (if available)

red x

As soon as all three of the services listed above have been restarted, the red X on the Sound icon in your taskbar should disappear, your computer’s Windows Audio service should be running and you should no longer see the “The Audio Service is not running” message.


  1. Hey uh, the problem does get fixed when I simply click on the speaker icon, but it comes back as soon as I restart.

    This started happening after the latest Windows 10 update.

    Any suggestions how to fix this for good?

  2. None for me. I have even removed my creative card and tried on-board. Same… All the services are set to auto. But if i stop and start one, the red x goes away. If i click on on red ex, same as OP. I even have sound when the red x is present, right after boot. The weirdest problem that actually is not a problem. lol.

  3. I did the clean boot as instructed by the post on this site, but the problem persists. In fact, in the clean boot environment, clicking on the speaker didn’t actually fix the issue this time.

    Also possibly interesting to note, when I go to the System Configuration box, is not “normal startup” usually the default option? Mine was on selective startup with “load system services” and “load startup items” checked.

    I tried choosing “Normal startup”, but when I clicked ok, an error message came up saying that the program had stopped working or something similar…

    This doesn’t seem very good. This all starting happening after the most recent significant Windows 10 update which I think downloaded just a night or two ago

  4. We could; I don’t get off work until probably 5:30 or 6pm central time. The next two days I’m off are Tuesday/Wednesday, if after 6pm central doesn’t work.

  5. My drivers are always the latest. ;-).Starting to think its not actually an audio problem, As I have audio, with either on board or audigy xfi separately. Everything works aside from having the red x over the speaker icon. That just corrects itself if i simply click it. Open to other things to try. Thanks for any input. I believe its gonna take a windows update to correct this, as that is what caused it.

  6. No thanks, you can tell me what you want to look at. I am very computer literate. Build and network them for a living. I assure you all the info you informed us to check/do has and needs another approach for this situation.

  7. I am not having the same issue as you so can’t really tell unless i dig deep in but as a work around, i would like to see if the audio service is stopped if it is, then set a batch file to run automatically to enable the service and see what effect this has. I am interseted in updating this guide with a working solution.

  8. It is not stopped upon startup, but if I i stop and start it problem goes away. I was kind of hoping a “delayed startup” would help out, but windows will not allow that for those particular services. Yeah i am pretty confident a net stop/start, possibly with an echo command would work. I may give them a try later on, and let you know. Because at this point it is just a cosmetic startup fault. Nothing impeding functionality.

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Fix: The Audio Service is not running

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