Windows Update Ruined My System

Hello! I am an audiobook narrator with a home studio and have been audio recording and engineering for myself for over 20 years, so I am not an amateur, but I’m not computer expert. This has me and several pro friends stymied. I hope there may be some help here! In Jan, I hadn’t been in the booth in a while and had several updates pending, so I updated everything, including MS Windows and Audacity. Here’s the rundown:

  • When I went into Audacity to record, it did not recognize my mic.

  • Nothing I did would get the computer to recognize that the mic was plugged into the proper jack, nor would it work in any other jack.

  • Supposedly, this is a common problem (according to many forums) and a simple driver update from Realtek would fix it. My computer would not download the update.

  • I brought in a trusted IT expert and he came to the same conclusion above, so we decided a new sound card might do the trick (hence, new drivers).

  • I now have the Creative Z SE Sound Blaster card (installed by previous expert).

  • Now the mic is recognized, but the sound just isn’t good quality.

  • My system consist of:

  • -AKG C3000 mic

  • -Symetrix 528E Voice Processor

  • -Dell Desktop:

  • -Processor 11th Gen Intel(R) Core™ i7-11700 @ 2.50GHz 2.50 GHz

  • -Installed RAM 32.0 GB (31.6 GB usable)

  • -System type 64-bit operating system, x64-based processor

  • -Latest version of Audacity

  • I have checked all the cables and connections and tried my Rode NTG2 that’s in good working order, but the sound issue is the same. I also switched out the Symetix for a Behringer board I have and the problem still exists, so I am certain it’s a problem in the computer somewhere.

  • I uninstalled and reinstalled the drivers and still this sound is a little distant or compressed…?

  • There was an issue when I disconnected the mic. There was a lot of noise, but I reduced the mic boost from the computer from +30dB to +10dB and that seemed to clean it up.

I am at my wits end and REALLY need to get back to work but don’t want to replace a computer that’s only 2 years old. Help? Thank you in advance!

Which microphone have you specified in Audio Setup ?

Sorry, I’m not sitting atvmy computer as I respond, but it’s the Sound Blaster mic input, not the What U Hear.

Windows Update Ruined My System.

I don’t entirely agree. You doing every update within reach is what did it. As you’re finding out, having everything tip-top updated at all times is not always the best idea. There’s a lot of people on the forum who would agree with me.

Can you back out of the Windows Update? How about the Audacity update? I know you can get older Audacity versions.

If all else fails, you can use your second computer while you fix this one. You see where I’m going with that? At work, nobody updates anything until the change has been vetted, checked, and approved.

Being Professionally Obsessive, I have stand-alone sound recorders that don’t change or get updates and don’t connect to the internet. I have more than one. I can transfer the sound to any computer with any editor, and the stand-alone recorder gives me an automatic hardware backup of my performance.

But back to the smoldering debris. You have the symptoms of one of Windows automatic sound processors or enhancements. I’m not a Windows person, so you’ll need to look that up, but that is a very common problem. The machine should not be automatically changing volume or causing distortions.

Also, do you use Skype, Zoom, Meetings or other communication software. Make sure all that stuff is completely shut down before you try to record. Stop doing Zoom meetings on the studio computer.

Have you ever done a clean Windows Shutdown? Shift+Shutdown > OK > Wait > Start. This will shut down everything and not leave any conveniences or services running in the background.

I know I’m being moderately insane, but it comes with my Obsessive Card. Did you keep track of the software versions both before and after? If you had to back the machine out of all those updates, would you know to what?


One valuable note. Audacity, in spite of popular requests, does not affect the recorded sound. Whatever Windows gives to Audacity is what goes in the file.

Audacity does get the sound from Windows, not the microphones, interfaces, or mixers.

You can’t bypass the Windows updates, can you? If you have an internet connection, you get updated.


One of the other elves turned this up


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Thank for all of the advice. My intention in posting here was not to blame Audacity at all, just to look for pros who might understand the problem, as this community is always full of useful information. I apologize for not stating that I did try to back out of all of the updates and was able to with Audacity, but not Windows. There was one of 3 that wouldn’t allow it, even with people smarter than me trying.

Today, I finally fixed it!!! I had to uninstall and re-install the sound card again because the Creative control panel for Soundblaster was not accessible and I was just using the Windows sound control panel. Once I was able to access that, I was able to disable the noise reduction through that program, after I had disabled the noise reduction from Windows. Please thank those elves, Koz, that was the key for me that helped me.

I appreciate the help everyone offered. Thanks!

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