How to fix Surface 3 sound not working issue on Windows 10

Microsoft’s Surface 3 is a great tablet that won’t probably replace your laptop because of its hardware limitations, but it’s an amazing device for content consumption and light computing tasks, such as email, word and spreadsheet processing, music, YouTube videos, and watching movies on Netflix.

The tablet originally debuted with Windows 8.1, but it’s perfectly compatible with Windows 10. However, it doesn’t mean that Surface 3 does not have any issues running the latest Microsoft’s operating system. At one point in time after upgrading to Windows 10, you will probably notice that the sound will stop working, something that can be unpleasant when you’re just about to watch something on Netflix or listen to some tunes on Spotify before going to bed.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through a number of troubleshooting steps to get the sound working again in your Surface 3.

Before we get into more advanced troubleshooting steps to fix the sound on your Surface 3, you want to make sure you cover the basics:

Once you have covered the basic troubleshooting steps, you can try the following solutions:

1. Reinstalling audio adapter driver

The audio driver on Surface 3 is perhaps the most common source of the problem, in which case you will have to manually uninstall and reinstall again.

  1. Use the Windows Key + X keyboard shortcut to open the Power User menu and select Device Manager.

  2. Expand Sound, video and game controllers, and select Realtek I2S Audio Codec. If this is the problem, you’ll probably see a yellow exclamation mark. Right-click the controller and select Uninstall.

  3. Do not check the “Delete the driver software for this device” option and confirm the deletion by clicking OK.

  4. Restart your computer and go back to Device Manager.

  5. Click the Scan for hardware changes button. At this point Windows 10 should detect and reinstall the audio driver automatically.

Now the sound should be working again on your Surface 3. If the sound still not working after using the instructions mentioned above, try to uninstall and reinstall the Intel SST Audio Device (WDM) driver and see if that fixes the problem.

2. Uninstall, delete, and reinstall the audio driver

If the first solution didn’t work, there is a chance that the audio driver is not in a working condition or corrupted. If this is the case, then the next steps will be reinstalling the audio driver by manually downloading and installing the audio adapter by using a fresh new driver.

  1. Visit the Microsoft Download center and download the Surface 3 drivers package for Windows 10, open the ZIP folder, browse through the Drivers folder, and extract the Audio folder. 

  2. Use the Windows Key + X keyboard shortcut to open the Power User menu and select Device Manager.

  3. Expand Sound, video and game controllers, and select Realtek I2S Audio Codec. If this is the problem, you’ll probably see a yellow exclamation mark. Right-click the controller and select Uninstall.

  4. Check the “Delete the driver software for this device” option and confirm the deletion by clicking OK.

  5. Restart your computer and go back to Device Manager. Now the sound adapter would be listed under Other devices, right-click the only Unknown device, and select Update Driver Software.

  6. On the dialog box, select Browse my computer for driver software.

  7. Click the Browse button and locate the Audio folder with the Surface 3 audio driver that you unpacked from the drivers’ package. Also don’t forget to check the Include subfolders option, and click Next.

  8. The driver should now install successfully. Click the Close button. Now your Surface should rescan for hardware changes and display the audio adapter fully installed. If you don’t see any red or yellow marking, then the driver is installed correctly.

Now the sound should be working again on your Surface 3. If the sound still not working after using the instructions mentioned above, try to manually reinstall the Intel SST Audio Device (WDM) driver and see if that fixes the sound not working on your device.

3. Reinstall video driver to fix the sound issue

If after trying to reinstall the Surface 3 audio driver the sound still doesn’t work, you probably noticed that in properties for the audio adapter says that it couldn’t start the device with a “code 10”. If this is the problem, then it’s most likely that problem is coming from a different adapter. In my experience, the issue is the display adapter driver, and simply reinstalling it will fix the issue.

The solution is similar to what we’ve seen in the instructions mentioned above, just follow the instructions below:

  1. Use the Windows Key + X keyboard shortcut to open the Power User menu and select Device Manager.

  2. Expand Display adapters, and select Intel(s) HD graphics. Right-click the controller and select Uninstall.

  3. Do not check the “Delete the driver software for this device” option and confirm the deletion by clicking OK.

  4. Restart your computer and go back to Device Manager.

  5. Click the Scan for hardware changes button. At this point Windows 10 should detect and reinstall the Intel HD Graphics driver automatically.

If you’re still having sound related issues with your tablet, you can also repeat the steps mentioned above to uninstall the display adapter driver, but choosing the delete the driver option upon confirming the uninstall. Then you will reinstall the Surface 3 display adapter using the instructions on “Solution two”, but you will to extract the Display folder from the Surface 3 drivers package, which contain the a working version of the Intel HD Graphics driver. 

Now the sound on your Surface 3 should be working again as expected.

There could be many reasons why the sound may not be working on Surface 3, but most of times the problem is related to drivers, and even more likely is if you’re running Windows 10 as the operating system seems to have a tendency not to work properly with certain drivers.

While this guide aims to fix the Surface 3 audio issue in Windows 10, the same concept should also help to troubleshoot sound problems in your Surface Pro 3 or Surface Pro 4.

Did you get the sound working again in Surface? Let us know the solution that addressed the issue in the comments below.