There is nothing worse than hearing crackling sound in Windows 10, but you don’t know how to fix it. This is usually a process of trial and error until you finally find the cause, so finding the right solution can take a while.
Fortunately, crackling sound is often caused by the same set of issues, so if you follow the troubleshooting steps below, chances are you’ll fix the sound after you try each step.
Reconnect your device
This is the simplest step and may work more often than you expect. Sometimes your audio device may not be fully plugged in, which can cause crackling sound problems in Windows 10. Sometimes you may have driver issues that will resolve on their own by simply unplugging and plugging your audio device back in.
When you reconnect an audio device, make sure it is fully connected, especially if your device uses an audio jack.
Test your audio equipment on another device
Before we proceed with the next troubleshooting step, you should try your audio hardware on a different device. Connect your speakers or headphones to your laptop, phone, or spare computer to see if you still have problems.
If the sound cracks, the problem is with the sound hardware itself. In this case, you may need to inspect the cable to make sure it is not damaged. You can try to contact your manufacturer to see if they offer any warranty service in the event of damage.
Test another headphone port
If you have a Windows 10 PC, you usually have a headphone port on the front and back. You should disconnect your audio equipment from any headphone port you are currently using and try with a different headphone port.
It is possible that your headphone port is defective, in which case simply using a different port might solve your problem. If you only have one headphone port, you can purchase a USB to headphone jack adapter, which may fix the sound cracking issue in Windows 10. However, we recommend that you try the other troubleshooting steps below first as it may save you from investing in unnecessary equipment.
Update Audio Drivers
The next step is to uninstall your drivers and let Windows install the correct drivers again automatically. This can fix any potential driver issues and potentially reset any strange software issues that you might have.
To uninstall the audio drivers, first open the Start menu and search for Device Manager. Click the result that appears.
- In Device Manager, click to expand the audio inputs and outputs.
- Click the speaker button in the lower right corner of the taskbar to see the name of your audio device.
- Find the appropriate audio device in Device Manager.
- Right-click the audio device and select Remove Device.
- Restart your Windows 10 computer
After turning on your Windows 10 PC, it should automatically find and install new drivers for your audio device. If it doesn’t, unplug your audio device and plug it back in so Windows 10 will ask for new drivers.
Change audio format
With the Audio Format setting in Windows 10, you can control your audio frequency to adjust the overall sound quality on your system. However, some audio devices may experience problems if the frequency is too high. You should lower the frequency of the audio format to see if this can fix audio problems.
To change the audio format, first open the Windows Start menu and search for Control Panel. Open the option that appears.
- Click View By: Large Icons in the upper right corner.
- Click Sound.
- Scroll down to the active audio device.
- Right – Click your device and select Properties.
- Click the Advanced tab.
- Click the drop-down menu and select 2 channels, 16 bit, 44100 Hz.
- Click OK to confirm your changes.
Check the sound again and see if the crackling sound issue has been fixed. If the problem persists, try checking each option until you find an option that solves your problem. If none of the options worked, skip to the next troubleshooting tip below.
Turn off spatial sound
Windows 10 Spatial Sound can distort sound quality. You can easily disable it, so it’s worth trying to see if that helps fix your problem.
To turn off sound enhancements in Windows 10, first open the Start menu, search for Control Panel, and look for the Sound option. Then follow these steps.
- Scroll down and find your active audio device.
- Right-click the device and select Properties.
- Click the Spatial Sound tab.
- Click the dropdown list and select Off.
- Then click OK.
Then check the sound again to make sure the sound hasn’t stopped cracking. If not, skip to the next sentence below.
Disable Private Mode
There is an option in the sound window that allows apps to take exclusive control of your device. This can be useful for virtual sound applications, but if any application is not working properly it can cause audio problems.
To fix this problem, open the sound application again from Control Panel. Once you enter the audio app, find your active device in the playback section. Then follow these steps.
- Right-click the active audio device and select Properties.
- Click the Advanced tab.
- Click to clear the “Allow exclusive applications ” checkbox.
- Click OK.
Check your audio device again to make sure the crackling hasn’t gone away. If not, follow these steps.
Change Power Settings
It is possible that in some cases certain power settings may be causing problems with your audio device. This is easy to fix and can be resolved by following the steps listed below.
- Open Control Panel from the Start Menu.
- Click View By: Large Icons.
- Click Power Options.
- Click Change plan settings for the setting you are currently using.
- Click Change Advanced Power Settings.
- Click to open the Processor Power Management option.
- Click the Minimum Processor State Setting icon.
- Click the Configure x% option and enter 100.
- Then click Apply and then OK.
Try a New Installation
If, after all, you still have audio problems and are sure that this is a Windows 10-related software problem, you might want to consider reinstalling Windows 10. Make sure you have backups of all your files beforehand. You can download Windows again from Microsoft, but make sure you have your license key ready.