No HDMI in playback devices error “the device is being used by another application”

Original Title: sound not working after unplugging HDMI cord?

Hello everyone,

My OS is a Windows 8 right now.

I use my HDMI often with my Vizio TV. When I unplugged the HDMI yesterday, the sound from my computer speakers didn't work. When I plugged it back in to see if it'd work on the TV, it didn't. I also plugged in my headphones to no avail. Everything else comes up fine, just without sound. I heard my laptop make a noise when I turned it off so the speakers are working fine. 

I've read several solutions for others users and none seemed to do any justice. I've headed to "playback devices" with "show disabled" and "show disconnected" checked out and the only option there is my "speaker" (HDMI is not on the list). The "default device" option is grayed out so I cannot use that method. When I try to "test" the speakers, a box comes out stating "the device is being used by another application. Please close any devices that are playing audio to this device and then try again." Mind you, the HDMI is unplugged completely. 

I've tried going to the device manager to the sound, video, and game controllers section to disable then enable Intel (R) Display Audio and Realtek High Definition Audio and that also made no difference. 

I checked for updates on my drivers and the computer says they are all up to date and functioning properly. 

Any help will be highly appreciated! Also, a step by step set of directions would truly help to whatever the method because I'm absolutely TERRIBLE when it comes to technology :p. Thanks again in advance!


Hi Brondeb,

This issue might occur if the sound driver installed on the computer is corrupt.

What is the Make and Model of the computer?

First of all, let’s find out if an application is using the audio card at the background. Follow the steps to do so:

  • Press Windows+R keys to open Run. Type “sndvol”. Hit Enter.
  • This will open the interface that will show applications that are using the audio device. If there any application that is running, close the application using Task Manager.
  • Type “task manager” on the Starts screen and click on Task manager. Under processes tab, locate the application and right click on it. Choose End process.

For further troubleshooting, follow the methods listed below:

Method 1:

Refer to the link and follow the steps to troubleshoot audio issues:

Check if the same issue occurs. If yes, proceed to the next method.

Method 2:

Follow the steps mentioned below to enable the setting for the applications to take exclusive control of the device:

  • Right Click on speaker icon at the taskbar. Click on Playback devices.
  • Right Click on the playback device within the list of devices and select Properties.
  • Go to Advanced tab. Remove the check from the box next to Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device.

For further reference:

Download and install the latest audio driver for Windows 8 from the manufacturer’s website of the computer. Make sure that you uninstall the current version of the driver and then install the latest one. Refer to the article to do so:

Please keep us posted. We will be glad to assist you further.

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Question Info

Last updated October 15, 2020 Views 36,320 Applies to: