How to fix “The device is being used by another application” error in Windows?

Question

Issue: How to fix “The device is being used by another application” error in Windows?

Hey. I have a laptop that gives me problems. Had some problems with sound and tried to fix them, but another issue occurred – “The device is being used by another application” error in Windows once I clicked on the speaker settings. The same issue goes for the screen that I connected via HDMI cable. I guess the problem is with my computer. Can you provide tips on how to fix this?

Solved Answer

“The device is being used by another application” error is the video or audio problem occurring on Windows[1] devices. Often the HDMI connection is involved. This is the High-Definition Multimedia Interface that gets used to connect various pieces of multimedia. A particular issue can occur when you use a digital camera projector, monitor, TV.

You can get the error message on Windows 10, 8, or 7. It is not related to particular software or devices. However, is pretty common because users[2] constantly report the problem in online forums. The particular cause of the issue can be corrupted audio drivers, other files installed on the machine incorrectly.

When some components needed are not found or get corrupted, the error appears in Windows. You might want to roll back some updates or get an upgrade for the system, driver pieces to solve the issue. Another way to fix the issue might be fixing affected system data.

“The device is being used by another application” HDMI error appears with the full pop-up:

The device is being used by another application. Please close any devices that are playing audio to this device and then try again.

The application that stops running due to the error cannot be used, in most cases. These issues stop microphones, speakers, headphones from getting used. You should properly solve the root cause to fix “The device is being used by another application” error in Windows.

That can be done by quickly running the tool like ReimageMac Washing Machine X9. If the affected files or malware[3] leftovers lead to this, the problem should be easily fixed. Otherwise, follow additional steps, focus on the methods and try a few to solve the issue.

The device is being used by another application error

1. Restart Audio service

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  • Open a Run dialog by pressing Win + R.
  • Type services.msc to open the Windows Services window.
    Services
  • Double-click on Windows Audio.
  • Click on the Stop button below Service status.
    Stop service
  • Once the service has stopped, click on the Start.
  • Click OK once the service starts again.

2. Rollback audio drivers to the previous version

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  1. Open a Run dialog again.
  2. Type devmgmt.msc to open the Device Manager window.
  3. Locate and expand Sound, Video, and game controller.
  4. Click on the selected driver.
    Roll-back
  5. Go to Properties.
  6. Under the Driver tab you can find options.
  7. Click on Roll Back Driver if you started seeing this error after a recent driver update.

3. Update drivers

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  • Press Windows + X select Device manager.
  • Expand Sound, video, and game controllers.
  • Right-click installed sound driver and then select Update Driver.
    Update
  • Choose to Search automatically download and install drivers for you.
    Auto search
  • Restart Windows.

DriverFix can also help here by upgrading needed drivers automatically for you.

4. Disable exclusive application control

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.
  • Right-click on the speaker’s icon on your taskbar.
  • Select Open Volume Mixer from the context menu.
    Sound mixer
  • In the Volume Mixer dialog box, you will be able to see the applications that are using the audio devices. Make note of these applications.
  • Open task manager by pressing together Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  • Here, under the processes tab, locate the applications that you noted in the Volume Mixer.
  • Terminate the applications that you located there.
  • Next, right-click on the speaker icon again to launch the context menu.
  • Here, click on Sounds.
  • Go to the Playback
  • Select your default audio device. Click on Properties.
    Properties
  • Under the Advanced tab, uncheck the box next to the “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device.
    Allow
  • Click OK.
  • Restart your PC.

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About the author
Jake Doe
Jake Doe - Computer technology geek

Jake Doe is the news editor at UGetFix. Since he met Ugnius Kiguolis in 2003, they both launched several projects that spread awareness about cybercrimes, malware, and other computer-related problems.

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