Windows 10 is riddled with several bugs scattered around various system components and services. While some of these problems are relatively easy to resolve, it’s a bit more challenging to find a fix for others.
One such particularly vexing problem is audio stuttering, wherein the audio on your computer would do a number of things: make a buzzing sound, cut in and out, and lag incessantly, making listening to music unpleasant.
But as it turns out, audio stuttering isn’t something new: previous versions of Windows like Windows 7 and Windows 8 also exhibit this problem. However, in the case of Windows 10, it’s slightly more complicated since you experience it with both Bluetooth and wired connections.
So if you, too, are facing sound stuttering issues on your Windows 10 PC, here’s a guide to help you fix the same.
Fixes for Windows 10 Audio Stuttering Issues
Below is a list of all the fixes that can help you fix audio stuttering issues on Windows 10. So be it a wired or Bluetooth audio stuttering issue, these fixes should help you rectify the problem.
1. Restart Your PC
It’s no surprise that restarting the PC can fix some of the most annoying system issues. And audio stuttering issues are no exception.
However, whether or not your issues are fixed depends on the way you restart the PC. You see, a shutdown in Windows 10 doesn’t actually power down the system. Instead, it keeps it awake using the fast startup feature to facilitate quick boot up. As a result, it saves the state of the Windows kernel to the drive, which prevents it from shutting down all the services and starting them over again.
To avoid this, what you can instead do is restart your PC, which will completely power down the PC—and discard the state of the kernel—and boot it up again. Alternatively, you can open the Command Prompt and run the following command:
shutdown /s /f /t 0
Moreover, you can also disable fast startup using the following steps:
- Go to Control Panel and select Power Options.
- Tap Choose what the power buttons do and click on Change settings that are currently unavailable.
- Uncheck the checkbox next to Turn on fast startup (recommended) and hit Save changes.
2. Turn off Audio Enhancements
Windows 10 offers a handful of audio enhancements to help you tweak the way the sound plays out on an audio device. These work with external headphones and speakers and come in handy when you need to boost the bass or loudness or enhance the listening experience via virtualization.
However, a lot of the time, these audio enhancements can cause interference and lead to audio stuttering issues. Hence, it’s wise to disable these audio enhancements to see if that fixes the stuttering audio.
Follow the steps below to disable audio enhancements in Windows 10:
- Open the Windows Power User menu (Windows + X), select Settings, and choose System.
- Click on Sound on the left and tap the dropdown button below Output to select your connected device.
- Hit the Device properties button and click on Additional device properties under Related Settings.
- Go to the Enhancements tab and check off the box for Disable all enhancements.
- Hit OK.
Once done, replug/reconnect the output device before resuming playback to let the changes take effect. If you’re facing Bluetooth audio stuttering issues, this fix is known to resolve them.
3. Restart Audio Services
All Windows operating systems use services to enable different system features such as Bluetooth, Windows updates, remote access, printing, networking, and more. While these services run uninterrupted in the background, they can sometimes go awry due to a bad update or some program conflict.
Windows Audio, Windows Audio Endpoint Builder, Bluetooth Audio Gateway, Bluetooth Support Service, and Bluetooth User Support are certain services that can cause audio stuttering issues on Windows 10. And we need to restart each of them individually to attempt a fix.
Here are the steps to disable these Windows services:
- Press the Start button and search for Services in the search box and select the result under Best match.
- On the Sevices tab, find a service to restart, right-click on it, and select Restart. [Repeat this step to restart all the services we’ve mentioned above.]
4. Change the Default Audio Format
Sample rate and bit depth are two essential components that determine the audio quality you get on your output device. Windows 10 offers a few different presets for this. Plus, depending on the audio equipment (headphones/speakers) you’re using, you further get additional options of frequencies and bit depth to use.
However, the ideal frequency and bit depth settings you should be using if you’re just streaming audio is 24 bit, 48000 Hz. So make sure the settings on your PC are using the same by following these steps:
- Go to Control Panel and select Hardware and Sound.
- Click on Sound, choose your playback device in the Playback tab, and hit the Properties tab.
- Go to the Advanced tab and tap the dropdown button for Default Format.
- Select the option with 24 bit, 48000Hz bit depth and frequency settings.
- Hit the Test button to test if the setting works.
- Click OK.
5. Run the Audio Troubleshooter
Microsoft bundles several troubleshooting utilities—for its different services—on Windows 10 to identify the cause of the problem and attempt a fix automatically. And it also happens to have one for audio issues. It’s called Audio Troubleshooter, and the steps below demonstrate how to use it:
- Press the Windows key and search for Audio Troubleshooter in the search bar.
- Click on the Find and fix problems with playing sound result under Best match.
- On the Playing Window, hit Next to start detecting problems.
- When the troubleshooter prompts to pick a device to troubleshoot, choose the device on which you’re experience audio stuttering and hit Next.
- If a problem is found, it’ll tell you the same and offer a potential fix for it. To continue with the fix, choose the appropriate on-screen options and wait for the troubleshooter to attempt the fix.
6. Fix the Driver (Audio and Bluetooth)
A device drier (or simply driver) is a set of files that tell hardware devices how to communicate (or function) in an operating system environment. All the different devices connected to your computer—internally or externally—require a driver to function.
However, sometimes these drivers start causing problems and need to be updated/reinstalled. Audio stuttering issues, Bluetooth stuttering issues, in particular, occur due to outdated/faulty drivers. So it makes sense to check if your audio and Bluetooth drivers are up to date.
For this, there are a few approaches: you can either uninstall a driver (and let Windows 10 install it automatically) or update it to its latest version.
All these approaches apply to both Bluetooth and sound drivers. If you’re experiencing audio stuttering in wired mode, you need not worry about the Bluetooth drivers. However, if you’re struggling with audio stuttering issues over Bluetooth, you need to perform operations on the audio driver as well as the Bluetooth driver.
Uninstalling a Windows Driver
- Click Windows + X and choose Device Manager from the menu.
- Select Bluetooth and hit the dropdown button beside it. For the audio driver, click on Sound, video, game controllers to expand the list of devices.
- Right-click the device that pops down and select Uninstall device.
- Check the box for Delete the driver software for this device and click on Uninstall.
- Once it’s finished uninstalling the device and driver, restart the PC to reinstall the driver.
Updating a Windows Driver
- Go to the Device Manager.
- Select a driver to update, right-click on it, and choose Update driver from the options.
- i. If you’ve downloaded a driver on your machine, choose Browser my computer for drivers and navigate to the downloaded directory. Select the driver and hit Next to begin the installation.
ii. Alternatively, if you don’t have a driver, choose Search automatically for drivers to let your PC search for the latest available driver and follow the on-screen prompts to install it.
After you’ve reinstalled correct drivers or updated your audio or Bluetooth drivers to their latest versions, unplug any wired or Bluetooth devices connected to the PC and restart it.
7. Update/Uninstall Windows
If you’ve started experiencing audio stuttering issues after updating your PC to the latest version of Windows 10, the chances are that the update could be the cause of your problem. And so, the only option you have is to uninstall the latest update you’ve made. Below are the steps to do this:
- Go to Control Panel and select Update & Security.
- With Windows Update selected on the left, click on View update history in the right window.
- Tap Uninstall updates, and you’ll see a list of all the updates you’ve installed recently on your system.
- Right-click the update you want to uninstall and select Uninstall.
- Hit Yes on the confirmation prompt to proceed with the uninstallation.
- Reboot the PC.
Similar to how a new update can run your PC into problems, it can also fix certain issues after an update. The audio stuttering problem is one of such issues that has been resolved for many users after they updated their system. Follow the steps below to update your Windows 10 PC:
- Click Windows + X and select Settings.
- Choose Update & Security and click on the Windows Update in the left-hand pane.
- Tap on Check for updates. If you haven’t updated in a while, you’ll see a status that reads Updates are available.
- Click on the Install button to begin installing the update.
Successfully Troubleshooting Windows 10 Audio Stuttering Issues
Using this guide, you should be able to perform a few different troubleshooting solutions to fix audio stuttering issues on your Windows 10 PC. Most of these fixes are taken from various Microsoft forums, and they’ve proven to work for many individuals. So, unless there’s some obscure problem with your PC’s hardware or software, these fixes should work fine. And subsequently, you should be able to stream music over a wired or wireless connection without the audio skipping issue.
However, if the issue persists, it could likely be a hardware or internal system issue. In which case, you might need to change the hardware component (Bluetooth or audio adapter) causing the problem or perform a fresh install of Windows 10 on your PC respectively to fix the choppy audio.