How to Restore Missing Stereo Mix on Windows?

Stereo Mix feature is very useful if you want to have a direct recording of the sound being played through your speaker. It’s a virtual audio device and many users have reported that this feature simply disappeared on their computers.

Windows 10 Stereo Mix Missing

There are various scenarios for this sudden disappearance. Most of the time, it appeared after updating from an older version of Windows to Windows 10 or after performing a major Windows update. There are several different ways to bring Stereo Mix back on your computer so make sure you follow the methods below to resolve the problem!

What Causes Stereo Mix to Go Missing on Windows 10?

Windows is constantly getting rid of features they feel are unnecessary and Stereo Mix may just be another one. Still, Stereo Mix is also related to the audio driver you have installed and it may be possible to restore it. There are a few different causes which can cause it to go missing so check out the ones below for more info:

  • The microphone is inaccessible – If your microphone device is not accessible for audio recording, Stereo Mix will be disabled as well. You need to allow apps to access your Microphone in Windows 10 Settings.
  • Stereo Mix is simply listed as disabled – Stereo Mix may simply be disabled as a virtual audio device in Sounds settings so make sure you simply re-enable it to resolve the problem.
  • Audio driver – Stereo Mix is only available for drivers provided by your manufacturer and you will have to update them if you are using the default ones made by Microsoft.

Solution 1: Make Sure Your Microphone is Available for Access

This problem can also appear if your microphone is not available for access. This automatically disables the use of Stereo Mix. This solution is the simplest and it can save you hours of effort so make sure you don’t skip this method when troubleshooting the Stereo Mix missing problem on Windows 10.

  1. Click the cog icon in the lower-left section of the Start menu to open the Settings app. You can also search for it.
    Opening Settings from the Start menu
  2. Scroll down until you see the Privacy section and make sure you click on it. At the left side of the window, you should see the App permissions section. Scroll down until you reach Microphone and click on this option.
  3. First of all, check if the Microphone access for this device option is on. If it’s not, click on Change and set the slider to on.
    Providing microphone access
  4. After that, switch the slider under the “Allow apps to access your microphone” option to On and scroll down in the list of installed apps on your computer. Switch the slider next to the apps you wish to provide access for on the list to on.
  5. Restart your computer in order to see whether the problem still appears!

Solution 2: Show Disabled Devices

It’s quite possible that Windows 10 has somehow automatically disabled the Stereo Mix feature as a virtual sound device. It might be considered unnecessary or might have been disabled by a third-party app. This is quite a big mistake by Microsoft as hiding the device under Recording devices was definitely unnecessary. Make sure you check whether this is the cause of your problem!

  1. Right-click on the Volume icon located at the bottom right part of your screen and choose the Sounds option. An alternative way would be to open the Control Panel on your PC and set the View by option to Large icons. After that, locate and click on the Sounds option to open the same window.
  2. Navigate to the Recording tab of the Sound window which just opened up.
    Stereo Mix showing up as disabled
  3. Right-click anywhere in the middle of the window and check the boxes next to the Show Disabled Devices and Show Disconnected Devices options. Stereo Mix should now appear. Right-click on it and choose the Enable option from the context menu which will appear.
  4. Make sure you try it out in order to see if it works!

Solution 3: Update your Audio Driver

Many users have reported that they managed to resolve the problem simply by reinstalling their audio device drivers. This is an easy method to perform and it’s definitely worth your time. Check it out below!

  1. Click the Start menu at the lower-left part of the screen, type in “Device Manager” afterward, and select it from the list of available results by simply clicking the first one.
  2. You can also press the Windows Key + R key combination to bring up the Run dialog box. Type in “devmgmt.msc” in the dialog box and click OK to run it.
    Running Device Manager
  3. Since you want to update the driver for your headphones, expand the Sound, video and game controllers section. Right-click on your headphones in the list and choose Update driver from the context menu.
  4. Choose the Search automatically for updated driver software option from the new window and wait to see if the utility can find newer drivers.
    Search automatically for updated driver software
  5. Check to see if your headphones appear under Playback devices in sound settings!

Solution 4: Enable Stereo Mix for Conexant HD Audio

If the audio device inside your computer is a Conexant HD Audio device, the steps below might help you restore Stereo Mix inside Windows 10. Make sure you follow the set of steps below carefully as there is some advanced troubleshooting which should be performed with care. Good luck in resolving the problem!

Note: If you cannot follow the steps below because you cannot find the file “CALCC2WA.inf_amd64_07118bd8a2180658” then it may be that the file has a slightly different name on your PC. In order to find the file, please download the portable version of PSPad from (here) and execute the PSPad.exe file. This should look like this:

  1. Click Search
  2. Choose “Search / Replace in Files”
  3. In the Text to Find (field) enter the following text
  4. In the Selected Directory field, enter the following path

  5. Click OK. And you should be able to see the files containing the above string in the “Search in File Results” tab below.

Solution 4 Continued

  1. Open Libraries entry on the problematic PC or open any folder on the computer and click the This PC option from the left side menu.
  2. Navigate to the following location on your computer to locate the file which needs to be edited to enable Stereo Mix on Windows 10:
  3. You will need to take ownership of the ‘CALCC2WA.inf’ file located inside the folder provided above before proceeding. Right-click the file, click Properties, and then click the Security tab. Click the Advanced button. The “Advanced Security Settings” window will appear. Here you need to change the Owner of the key.
  4. Click the Change link next to the “Owner:” label The Select User or Group window will appear.
    Changing the owner of the file
  5. Select the user account via the Advanced button or just type your user account in the area which says ‘Enter the object name to select’ and click OK. Add the Everyone account.
  6. Click the Add button below and follow it up by clicking the Select a principal button at the top. Select the user account via the Advanced button or just type your user account in the area which says ‘Enter the object name to select‘ and click OK. Add the Everyone account.
  7. Under the Basic permissions section, make sure you choose Full control before applying the changes you have made.
    Providing full access
  8. After you have successfully changed ownership and provided permissions for the ‘CALCC2WA.inf’ file, it’s time to edit it. Right-click on it and choose to Open it with Notepad. Use the Ctrl + F key combination and make sure you enter ‘stereo in the Find what box before clicking the Find Next button.
  9. You should be able to see three lines inside the file. The lines should look like this:
  10. Remove the semi-colons in front of each line by deleting them. Click File >> Save to save the changes or use the Ctrl + S key combination. Exit Notepad and proceed with the steps below.
  11. Now it’s time to reinstall the audio driver. Click the Start menu button at the lower left part of the screen, type in “Device Manager”, and select its entry from the list of available results by clicking the first one.
  12. You can also use the Windows Key + R key combination to bring up the Run dialog box. Type in “devmgmt.msc” in the dialog box and click OK to run Device Manager.
    Running Device Manager
  13. Since you want to reinstall the driver for your sound devices, expand the Sound, video and game controllers section by left-clicking the arrow next to the name. Right-click on the Conexant HD Audio entry in the list and choose Uninstall device from the context menu.
    Uninstalling Conexant Audio
  14. Confirm any dialogs which may appear prompting you to confirm the uninstallation. Don’t check the box labeled “Delete the driver software for this device” as you want this driver file to be reinstalled.
  15. Restart your computer and check to see if the Stereo Mix feature has returned to your computer!

Lastly if nothing works for you then you can use a third party such as VoiceMeter from which one of our user suggested has resolved the issue for them and provided even further enhancements.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.